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Phito11

Organization Nightmare

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OK, so here is my dilemma.

I've had Evernote Premium for around 16 years.  I've worked in IT all that time and used Evernote as my own personal Knowledge Base.  I, in my ever loving wisdom set up Evernote using only two Notebooks, one called Personal, and one called Work, I never created any other Notebooks after that, or used stacking.  The way that I organized everything was by using Tags. 

For Example I created a tag named "Work", which is tied to the Work Notebook, then I would create a sub tag name things like Microsoft, then under Microsoft I would create more sub tags underneath for things like Exchange, MS Server, Office 2010 and so forth, then under for example Office 2010, I would have more sub tags for Outlook 2010, Word 2010, Excel 2010, Power Point 2010 and so on.

So now I have a "Work" Notebook with over 2000 notes in it which are not organized by stacks.  This has for the most part worked for me in the past, but I feel like I totally messed this up.

So my question is, is there a way for me to organize this in the correct way?  If that's even a thing? 

Thanks for taking time out to read this.

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On 5/9/2020 at 1:34 AM, Phito11 said:

is there a way for me to organize this in the correct way

What,  in your view,  would be "the correct way"??  I have a database in excess of 50,000 notes which up to recently were mainly in one default notebook.  My mantra was 'only create a new notebook if there's a good reason' (like shared notes or a project-in-progress)

I navigated all that with tags for priority, settings reminders dates for events and deadlines,  and intelligent use of the search function.  (My suppliers forinstance give me a 'customer number' for transactions. Add that to a date range and I can find all the orders for any given period).

Because I deal with various projects and contacts and suppliers,  I decided to split my database between notebooks so all my conversations with Amazon (or Batman) were already compartmentalised.  I'm doing that when I next deal with each new contact - I search for all notes with (forinstance) Batman's email address when I need to contact him.  My notes to and about him, and all his responses to me are now in one (Bat)notebook for future reference... and I can archive a bunch of notes or exclude them from searches if I need to do so.

I try to date every note title with yyyymmdd + standard details - the date being the date of the letter / task / receipt and not necessarily the date that the note was created.

The most important aspect of this particular system though is that I created it,  for me,  to suit my working process and preferences.  It may very well not suit anyone else in the world and I'm very cool with that. 

I'd suggest you decide what you want to do with your notes,  and start to use titles, tags and notebooks to change the layout little by little to something which suits you!

Good luck - it's usually an interesting journey....  B)

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On 5/8/2020 at 5:34 PM, Phito11 said:

So my question is, is there a way for me to organize this in the correct way?  If that's even a thing? 

What is it that you don't like or is giving you grief with your current set up?  I'd start there and then tinker. 

I have found that in most instances EN works well when you decide to restructure how you organize your notes.  A little pre thought is good like always good to remember to add the new tag before you delete the old to prevent the gnashing of teeth.  So I'd say figure out what not so abstract things you want to fix and dive in.  I don't think there is a correct with EN.  There are some practices that work better in some instances than others.  Just got to find the ones that work best for you.

I, as @gazumped, am a tagger, so I wouldn't mess much with that.  There are plenty of folks who prefer organization driven by notebooks who might chirp in.

 

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On 5/8/2020 at 5:34 PM, Phito11 said:

So my question is, is there a way for me to organize this in the correct way?  If that's even a thing? 

There's no incorrect way.  You have to decide what works best for you

A comment on your sub/sub/sub/sub tags    
My hierarchy is flatter.  For example, if a note has an Insurance reference, I assign tag !Insurance

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On 5/8/2020 at 7:34 PM, Phito11 said:

This has for the most part worked for me in the past, but I feel like I totally messed this up.

It is not clear in what way it is not working for you now.  What makes you think your organization is "messed up"?

You will quickly learn that for the most part Evernote users who frequently post in this forum have organized their notes, and strongly advocate for, one of these two methods:

  1. Minimal use of Notebooks, rely on tags and keywords in the Note title
  2. Use Notebooks as the primary organizational tool, and may, or may not, have some use of tags.

Of course that is an over-simplification, and there are many that use combinations of 1 and 2.

But neither method is "right" or "wrong" in and of itself.  It mostly depends on how you think, what is logical to you, what is intuitive to you, and the type of information you have.

One thing that can help guide you is what kind of information do you want to store and organize in Evernote?

  • Some real-world topics are well-suited for a hierarchical organization, things like Projects, Tasks, Property Management, Client Management, etc.  Hierarchical Notebooks (like folders in Mac and Windows OS) are well-suited for these.
  • Other topics might fall in several different categories, like Insurance, Computers, people etc.  Tags are well-suited for these.

I have found that my information falls into both of the above groupings, so I use a bit of both NBs and Tags.  I would use NBs more IF Evernote fully supported multilevel hierarchical NBs.

IMO, the word "organization" is sometimes misused.  When I think of organization I tend to think of the structure of the information, like a book or magazine, or like a subject notebook.  The organization is largely about presentation, controlling which sections and pages come in what order.  Text books, for example, are laid out to first show the basics of the subject, and then to progressively get more complicated and detailed.  The order of the chapters is meant to be followed by the students.

However, if you want to find some specific information, you don't want to have to manually scan through the entire book.  That's were the index at the back of the book comes in.  And, of course now that the entire book can be digital, we can do a full text search very quickly.  But that can be a problem in that it might produce too many false positives.  Again, that's where the index helps.  The index is really a set of keywords that we might call tags.

So tags and keywords in a Note title are best suited for finding just the information we want, with a bare minimum of false positives.  I will say one advantage I have found of tags vs title keywords, is that tags are a defined set of keywords that Evernote maintains for you.  So when you need to assign a tag, you can pick from a list.  Whereas Title keywords are subject to typos, misremembering, forgetting, synonyms, etc.  Plus some keywords don't feel natural in a Title, but I still want to "index" that Note with that keyword, so it is a tag.

Well, I don't know if all that will really help you or not, but maybe it will give you some ideas.  Don't be afraid to experiment with small sets of information (Notes) to test and find out what works best for you.

Please feel free to ask any follow-up questions you may have.

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OK then, I did not create an organization nightmare after all, good to know.

For some reason I kept thinking that the way I've been doing it, which was just one Notebook named Work, then adding thousands of notes organized by tabs was wrong, but I guess that's fine after all.

Thank you all who took time out to reply to me, much appreciated.

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3 minutes ago, Phito11 said:

OK then, I did not create an organization nightmare after all, good to know.

For some reason I kept thinking that the way I've been doing it, which was just one Notebook named Work, then adding thousands of notes organized by tabs was wrong, but I guess that's fine after all.

Thank you all who took time out to reply to me, much appreciated.

Key thing is if it is working for you that's all that matters.  If something starts to be a PITA, tinker.

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