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How to un-silo information


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A new product thread about Tangle sparked some discussion about whether or not information in Evernote was siloed away,  and how it might be possible to link notes back out into the real world so information and connections are not forgotten.  Here's a link to the original discussion and the posts that started this thread - I suggest we continue that discussion here here to avoid hijacking that thread totally!


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Thanks @gazumped

This is a good idea to get some inspiration and techniques to get out of the "linear" structure. I liked the post from Tangle (kinda going back to the thread I guess :) ), here is the link:



This really is a good graph they created to summarize.

I posted to Cardsmith's Facebook page the other day about any possible integrations with Evernote. Cardsmith has potentials too, if you guys have not checked it out. And I was telling the developers over there about how things are linear in Evernote and that I would like to be able to look at a set of notes in a blank canvas like a mind map and move them around, connect them, flip them over etc.

So until Tangle or one of these guys come up with something, what are the best practices to review your notes, make connections and get ideas?

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On 5/19/2018 at 6:49 AM, gazumped said:

information in Evernote was siloed away

Taking the subject literally, some alternatives for un-siloing our Evernote data include

I don't think "silo" is the right word; its just the location I store my data.
Evernote does suck in our data files, removing them from general access by any file system.
otoh, using the external link share feature, I can make my data available for public access.

Evernote has an extensive text search feature.
Without any user set up, the entire database can be searched using keywords.

I've not had greate experience with automatic linking.
Mindmapping is a useful tool for selected projects but can get convoluted for general notes
I mostly rely on tags and note linking.

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So.  As I was saying...

I don't think there's any mystery to setting up a Mind Map and linking to Evernote content - I do that myself.  I started out with Mind Manager,  but now use Freeplane for my mind maps,  largely because a MM subscription is 4x my Premium Evernote costs,  and FP is free!  Freeplane also has all the features I use,  without some MM corporate bells and whistles that I never got into.

I use links by copying the note link and pasting into the app's standard fields,  which adds a red arrow to show it's a link.  You can see from the pic that I'm editing one of the items to show the link content,  but they come out as the note titles,  just like they would in the app.  This is a separated out part of my current 'to-do' map,  and this is priority-5 (ie: "one of these days,  maybe...")


6 minutes ago, TK0047 said:

what are the best practices

That,  as they say,  is a JOLLY good question.  I'm just starting my 50th or maybe 60th annual "there must be a better way to do this" bit of navel gazing,  which is why this topic is getting particular attention.  I still don't use just one app for all my needs - currently it's Freeplane / Ticktick / Evernote,  with rather more attention to Evernote recently.

The big thing about getting things done is actually doing stuff,  so no matter how cobbled together a solution I have,  I'll concentrate on using it to the best of my ability.  Serious testing of alternatives never ends well - I've swapped between apps before now because of some new feature that App A introduces,  only to find that App B (that I just moved from) then catches up a few weeks or months later with something at least as good.  I even moved back once...

The main problem has always been that there is never just one solution.  To-do apps don't usually have built in calendars except for a top dozen or so - although from my comment above I'd expect the rest to be catching up eventually.  Ticktick does have a calendar and it's easy to add events that have a specific date,  although only recently has it been possible to add durations.  (The best answer to that was to repeat an event daily for a short period,  but then you get a reminder every day unless you remember to cancel it... ?

Ticktick doesn't have multiple calendars like Google,  so you can switch holidays / personal / business dates on or off,  but it does have Lists that you can filter on or off in the calendar which seems to give the same effect.

It also copes with tasks that do not have dates (yet) so from my example pic above I was just listing and linking to clips that might prompt a blog post.  No dates yet required.

The one things that Ticktick doesn't do well is sub-tasks.  They come up within the main task window as a one-level tickbox list with no scope for details.  I'd hope to have the same options for subtasks as for main tasks.  The answer is to list all my tasks as main tasks and link them with #tags,  or to use Ticktick to hold the headings and link to details kept in another app.  (Guess which...)

(I don't use Google Calendar or Google To Do directly because it's just too long a job to add tasks to it unless they come through Gmail,  but Ticktick will sync its calendar to Google.)

...I was going to go into even more detail,  but I just reminded myself of an Evernote basic:  the 'best' way to do something is whatever works for you.  I know others use GTD themed apps,  tagging and notebook changes,  reminders and other to-do software.  The ONLY important factor though is that the user must be able to use the system consistently and accurately and quickly.  Speed is important,  otherwise you spend more time organizing than actually working,  which always a Bad Thing.

Thanks @TK0047 for the link to Cardsmith,  though I see it's a Chrome thing.  I'm all Fox over here... 

Now.  Back to actual work!  :)


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17 minutes ago, DTLow said:

I don't think "silo" is the right word; its just the location I store my data.

I also don't think that Evernote is a silo - it's contents are easily accessible by search and by link - though I do occasionally have an entirely self-inflicted issue of not being able to find something I know I saved here.  But what did I title it / tag it?  What are the likely keywords?  -And I find out later that the content didn't include any of the search terms I tried,  just something equally obvious that I hadn't thought of...'

On a few occasions too I've looked for the answer to a problem and found that I already clipped that months ago - I just forget completely.

I do worry if others are using a database I created - will they use the same terms (and can they spell them correctly).  Can they use the search feature properly?

I don't know of any external solution (AI or not) that's going to help with that sort of problem until brain transplants become feasible.  To seriously abuse a movie quote - it's the nature of information to be a mysterious and powerful resource who's power is only exceeded only by it's mystery.


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1 hour ago, gazumped said:

The one things that Ticktick doesn't do well is sub-tasks. 

May not work for you otherwise, but Wunderlist does have sub-tasks.  Just another thing to grind through your analysis.  ?

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Glad I could spark a conversation!

WRT the word "silo": I use the term simply because work must be done in order to connect the information stored via some kind of mechanism. What I really want is the auto-connect (coming soon) ?

@TK0047 for best practices on getting ideas and just general principles on getting the most out of your notes/writings, check out the following:

1. praxis.fortelabs.co is a blog created by Tiago Forte, a productivity coach that I'm friendly with. I loved the principles he espouses in his P.A.R.A. series. Note, it is a paid blog but there are a bunch of free articles to wet your whistle. I recommend this one on pattern recognitionNote, I have no economic interest in any of this.

2. Have you heard of RandomNote (link to download)? It is a desktop app that literally just shows you a random note in your Evernote, but what is great about it is that it jogs your memory and if you keep clicking it, you will probably find something that is helpful to you - or will at least help you get past a brain block.

3. This post by Maria Popova has been instrumental for me. I think you guys will like it and it might help you think about new ways to be connective.

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We've been reading some of the same things. I'm a fan of how Tiago is using Evernote, pushing it to the edges of  its current abilities, so what you're doing seems like a natural direction to extend what it's capable of. Years ago, I started wiring up Evernote notes to each other and other services. I use Simplemind on ios with Evernote links in it as a "life dashboard" exactly as Gazumped wrote above. I like that it has progress bars, reminders, etc for the nodes and something about seeing all area of life like this fosters more creativity and effectiveness. I've gone so far as to print some of these mindmaps and put them on a white board connected to printed Evernote notes which somehow helps too.

Part of it is just me, I've been using Evernote so long I'd like some extra stuff allows me to see things differently and retrieve information faster than normal. I've tried to do this on my own by using graphic design conventions and saving .jps in "shelf apps" on ios so I can drop visual items in to direct attention. The app Things is generally what I use for project management and that is heavily dependent on my Evernote notes. I've been putting Evernote note links in textexpanders, but it's all hard to remember and feels clumsy to connect that way. Sometimes just searching things in Evernote is clumsy, like in ios I start typing amorphous and it searches all "A" in note and hangs.  I reluctantly started using emoji in notes, dropping them in quick with alfred on osx. Personally, I'd like a lot more of a freestyle (and quick) way to summarize notes, connect notes, search notes, visually overview notes all within Evernote. However,  I do realize it can't be all things to all people so I'll continue working as effectively as I can within its constraints.

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@bounce Sounds like you really have tried everything to organize and optimize your information. 

21 hours ago, bounce said:

Personally, I'd like a lot more of a freestyle (and quick) way to summarize notes, connect notes, search notes, visually overview notes all within Evernote.

I think you'll be pleasantly surprised by Tangle's functionalities that encourage this. Certainly will be looking forward to hearing your feedback if you decided to sign-up for the alpha.

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