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How many labels do you have in your inbox?


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I have countless labels in my gmail account - both work and personal and now after reading about what evernote can do, I realised that everything can just be sorted there.

So my question is, after you forward certain tasks to evernote - do you still label them? i.e. Marketing, Sales etc.

Am interested to know everyone's set up as I am really fed up with all these labels ;)


-An evernote beginner

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  • Level 5*

Not sure of the question here - Evernote doesn't have "labels" as such, although I guess they're equivalent to tags. It also doesn't have tasks or due dates (crash of thunder.. yet*), just notes. Don't think you can export from gmail to Evernote in such a way as to preserve the labels as tags, though if you export one group of labelled items you could then bulk-tag them with that label. The only reason to tag items however is to add information that is not already present in the note. A search will find all notes containing a specific client name or email address or any other terms. If you want certain items collated together as "marketing" however you can either: move them to a notebook with that name, or tag them with that word.

Best advice with Evernote (IMO) is "do something quickly and clean it up later" - if you wait for the perfect plan you'll never get your operation paper-free. Convert the stuff in your gmail account into Evernote and sort it by tags / notebooks so it's as close to your present setup as possible, and is available for practical use as quickly as possible. Only actual experience will tell you whether that setup will work to your satisfaction. If it's OK, try not to fix it further. If it doesn't work, try another option. You can't lose your data (unless you delete it) and you control how the information is presented to you by the system.

* Due dates are a bit of an issue with Forum members - lots of pitchforks and waving torches on our side of the screen...

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^ Sorry, for not making myself clear.

Yes evernote has tags and they are perfect to sort out all my items.

Therefore I was wondering whether there is even a need to keep labels in Gmail? And I am wondering whether people here on the forums have just deleted all their labels on gmail and simply forward the emails in order to sort the important ones out via tags in Evernote instead?

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Not sure if this is the correct way to go, but my choice has been to save emails that I need for record-keeping into Evernote and to delete the original email (unless there's a serious ongoing correspondence or other compelling reason why not).

If I need to respond I still have the reply-to address, any circulation list and the content of the email / thread. In Evernote I also have the enhanced search options and tagging that mean I can find relevant items quicker.

In Outlook and Gmail I keep my inboxes clear(er) which seems to speed things up.

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I've been observing my clients who use Gmail, and here's what I usually see. They generally start with creating many, many labels in Gmail (which they liken to having folders in their previous email system), and for a time they rely on the labels to sort and find their messages. Then once they start using search more, they basically stop using labels and just archive messages once they've been acted on.

Personally, I typically just leave my email messages in Gmail (I do have labels, but most new messages are automatically filtered with the appropriate label). If there's related note-type information, I keep that in Evernote. For me, it's compartmentalized and helps me keep things straight - emails live in Gmail, notes and reference information live in Evernote. To each his or her own!

ProductiveLife, my question to you is this: what benefit are you expecting to get from transferring your messages from Gmail to Evernote? Is there a productivity gain that you are hoping for? Remember, it will take time for you to transfer your messages from Gmail, so you have to weigh that time versus any expected time gains from shifting to Evernote.

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In general, I see no benefit in moving my GMail archive to Evernote. I see a lot of benefit in moving selective new items to Evernote.

As discussed before I use GMail Filters to automatically forward Newsletters, Google Alerts, etc. to Evernote and remove them from the GMail Inbox.

I also forward emails which require *later* action or I want to journal to Evernote. If this is a recent addition to a mature dialog I use GMail Forward All to get a copy of the conversation to date in Evernote. I also frequently use Forward All to record the conversation in Evernote when complete. Or complete for now.

As to your original question. I don't use any labels that are not automatically (ie. by GMail filter) applied. And I don't use a lot of them.

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PS: Really looking forward to the day when Google enhances GMail filters to support modifications to forward subject as part of the Filter rules.

Lots of chatter around about this, but, so far no specific feedback from Google development.

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Is there a productivity gain...?

i don't think anyone can start a new (to them) process and immediately see any gains. By definition you're going to be slow and - even if you didn't intend to do so - make some things up as you go along. I seem to spend a lot of time "gardening" my data - setting up a new project may give me a better idea for how all/ some projects should be set up, which means I'll go back over anything else I've got running currently to tweak them into line. But only as and when I need to do something else to that other project - unless my Christmas wish comes true and I get some copious spare time someday soon. Closed projects get archived and don't get messed with at all, unless I need to revisit them for some pressing reason. If you don't have a compelling reason for spending time with old emails I'd agree that leaving them where they are seems like a good idea - though I do like the convenience of only having to search once to find everything relevant to a specific item. I'm expecting the gardening to die away soon as I get completely comfortable with the way things are working, and then I will get some bonus minutes in bed. I wish.

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Interesting side affect of auto-forwarding more things to Evernote. I have started actually deleting some notes instead of archiving them.

This came to mind as worth mentioning as I was processing my Evernote Inbox and had just trashed my 3rd "Seasons Greetings" email.

I have also been doing this for the NPR "Song of the Day" emails. I do clip from the followed links if I like the song/artist provided, but, otherwise, Nah.

Some things are just not worth remembering. Or should be forgotten.

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Like Joshua's clients, I developed the routine of finding things in Gmail with the search function and never bothering with labels. Really, the habit I had slipped into was that of never checking my Gmail labels, of never using Gmail as the reference file cabinet that I had intended it to be when I began adding labels years ago. About a month ago, I cleaned out a bunch of old labels I had created years ago and not checked in months or years. I forwarded most of the emails under those labels to Evernote, tagged them (usually with a tag of the same name as the existing label), and removed the labels in Gmail.

Since discovering Evernote, I've found it very helpful to restrict my email client to correspondence alone and use Evernote for all general archiving and organizing of reference materials I may want to look at in the future. I still don't delete anything out of Gmail (everything gets archived), but now I use Gmail only to store correspondence, and I use Evernote to organize to-dos and archive reference materials. Labels in Gmail weren't effective for me because email wasn't an effective way of saving a piece of data. For example, I had labeled a number of conversations with "Photography," when maybe as little as one email in a long conversation included something photography-related that I wanted to flag for the future. Now forwarded to Evernote, I delete the irrelevant parts of the conversation and, immediately visible in the note when I click over to my "Photography" tag, is the reason I labeled that email in the first place, years ago. This means that all my future use of such reference materials, now that they are in Evernote and not in Gmail, will be far more productive.

This is the sibling of getting to-dos out the inbox: Email clients, as robust as their labeling or archiving features are, are simply not the best places to store and organize data. They should be databases for all correspondence, since that's what they do (and they do it better than other software, which doesn't collect and send emails), but there's no reason to try to organize to-dos or reference materials in any email client—at least not when you have a product like Evernote on the same devices as your email client.

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Thanks for your replies everyone.

I am in the process of simplifying my life because one of my weaknesses is that I am far too complex that even I have myself have troubles keeping up with it. :P

But anyway, I like the idea suggested about just forwarding the parts of the conversation you need and not bother too much with labels because its true, emails are only good for correspondance - for storage, not very good as many conversations can get side tracked.

So I am going to create labels by years, e.g. 2011 label, 2012 labels etc. At least that way, if I don't remember what to search for, I can just look through the yearly labels and guess the month and find the email.

Let's see how it goes! :) So far I am really loving Evernote, don't know why I join it earlier! :/

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But anyway, I like the idea suggested about just forwarding the parts of the conversation you need and not bother too much with labels because its true, emails are only good for correspondance - for storage, not very good as many conversations can get side tracked.

That's fine, but remember you can also easily edit within Evernote, so no need to take time in Gmail determining which emails in a conversation to forward. Feel free to forward the whole thing over (Forward all), and delete irrelevant emails from the conversation within Evernote. Good luck! I too wish I had started using Evernote a lot earlier.

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  • 5 weeks later...

Looking at my inbox in Gmail I shudder to think of having it go into Evernote! For me that would be a nightmare - like pouring sand over a birthday cake and then trying to pick out the junk so I can eat the good parts.

Gmail is a great way to communicate and I like the service. It is not the source of good Evernote materials, IMO. The way I handle my information is that I have only a few labels in Gmail - mostly identifying the source of the email in the cases that it is important or to which inbox the mail was sent. For example, if it was sent to my web site client Craig I want his name labeled on the message. Other than that I don't use labels. When emails come in they of course go to the inbox. If it is from my coworkers at my day-job and I am done with it I simply archive it. That way if Bob ever says "I told you it was blue" I can search for the email and show him where he said "red". Space is free on Gmail and I'm far from full so I just dump them. I suspect one day I'll have to clean some of them out.

If it is something I would have printed out and put in a filing cabinet before Evernote then I'll forward it to Evernote and usually I'll immediately clean it up with tags, a better title, etc.

For me, Evernote is my electronic filing cabinet of things I need to remember and email is the modern water-torture device that causes me to waste time sorting through junk mail... I'd never want to mix the two. If it works for you then that's awesome! Use the tools you need in the way you want to but for me it's never going to happen. :)

Jim Sewell / @Deverill

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