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drews578

Time to retool my organization

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I am looking for some real organization advise. Advise on Evernote organization methods that have evolved overtime as understanding has gone deeper in the same way a craftsman perfects their craft overtime.

I love Evernote and it is permeating deeper into my workflows daily.

My problem is that my organization strategy is becoming inadequate. I am heavy on notebooks and VERY light on tags, but I am starting to feel the limitations when the note does not neatly fit in one place.

I have used a few stacks but that seems weak. Nested tabs seems like the way to move forward with saved searches acting as notebooks when I need them.

Please help me gain a deeper understanding and method of use :ph34r: Maybe describing your own failures and what your solution is / was will be helpful.

Thanks,

Drew

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hi drew. it sounds like you already have a good sense of where you have been, and what you need to do to improve your workflow. my organizational system is pretty basic:

1. one folder. everything goes in here.

2. consistent naming. most notes receive a "yymmdd + keyword + keyword + keyword" title. the exceptions are notes containing attachments of other's work (primary or secondary sources). these receive "last name + first name + publication year" titles.

3. no tags. i am experimenting with using no tags. i find that the titles are usually enough in combination with advanced search grammar. the system works well, and i don't remember when i last had trouble finding anything.

4. eight-character codes. i am experimenting with random eight-character codes. these are nice, because i don't have to expend any thought in generating them, they are unique, and they easily take the place of tags or notebooks. i just put them into notes that are related, such as my notes on a geographical location, and i have everything grouped nicely together when I search for the code.

5. index notes. i create index notes for certain combinations of notes by dragging them into one note to generate note links. i put the unique eight-character code at the top and i have a kind of mini wiki. the links help me jump around quickly. a search for "intitle:index" will pull up all of these master notes.

my biggest mistake was spending time on organization. i should have stuck with simple strategies from the beginning and not experimented so much with tags and notebooks, because quite frankly, i haven't found them at all necessary. they were a waste of time. fortunately, because of the note titles, it has been easy for me to pare things down. at the moment, i am pushing 6000 notes.

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Also you can search these forums for "organization" (and related keywords) and find a lot of discussion on this topic.

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I track informally how I find notes, and I find that 99% I find through searching.

I have started adding keywords at the top of a note if I think I need them.

I have 3 notebooks for non-overlapping areas of my life: Home, work, community.

I use an occasional notebook for sharing stuff.

I have a ton of tags, but truth be told, I don't use them to find stuff. I just search.

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I track informally how I find notes, and I find that 99% I find through searching.

I have started adding keywords at the top of a note if I think I need them.

I have 3 notebooks for non-overlapping areas of my life: Home, work, community.

I use an occasional notebook for sharing stuff.

I have a ton of tags, but truth be told, I don't use them to find stuff. I just search.

i like the keyword thing too. good idea. and, i agree with you about the tags. i haven't used them in a search for a while now as part of my new experiment. i think it's going surprisingly well, and saves a lot of work.

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Evernote provides a number of tools to help us find our Notes.

Each person has to work out what works best for him/herself.

It is interesting to read how, for some, tags are the key to life, for others, an unnecessary overhead.

@GM, goes back to the point that you and I continually make: Options are good. :)

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I use tags for some quick finding of certain items, but searching, along with a consistent set of naming conventions works great! I try to incorporate the date in a YYYY-MM-DD format in every note, as well as a good title. Think of what you are likely to be looking for if you ever need the note, and use that in the title. The idea for codes is great to link items as well. I also use some metatags in the notes, which start with an "x" so that a search for the tag will bring up only what I am looking for.

For example, I use "xtodo" for something that needs action. A search for the term "xtodo" will turn up any notes which have an open task, or one that has not been captured into Omnifocus. I use "xinfo" for interesting info that may need to be processed further, or "xwait" for something that someone else is doing. I delete or change the tag when the information is handled. I also use a footer (or header, as appropriate) for any note that I have reviewed as part of my weekly review. I use "xreviewed YYYY-MM-DD -", and add any comments appropriate to the review. This allows me to search for reviewed notes, or notes reviewed a specific day or month.

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