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I've recently started to use Evernote to accomplish something I've wanted to do ever since I first read Robert A. Heinlein's Double Star -- create a Farleyfile.

For those who don't recognize the term, the Farleyfile is named for FDR's campaign manager, James Farley. Farley kept a file on every person FDR met -- a file that included professional informaiton as well as personal details like name of spouse, children, and pets, favorite food and drink, personality, hobbies, history of previous meetings...really, anything.

When FDR had a subsequent meeting with the same person, Farley would produce the person's Farleyfile and FDR would read it over in advance. Then he'd be able to greet the person, ask about their spouse, discuss their hobby, etc. As Wikipedia says, "The effect was powerful and intimate."

So last year I started my own Farleyfile. I make a note for each new person I deal with (in this case, everyone was "new" at the beginning). Then I add to the notes as necessary, and review them when I can. I have a terrible memory for things like family members and vacations and such, and this is helping a lot with the "soft" stuff like that.

I understand that there are customer management systems and contact management systems that are supposed to be used for this sort of thing, but I figure why get another piece of software when Evernote can do it as well? Besides, systems like that seem like overkill for the kind of social and minor business contacts I have -- I'm a librarian, not a salesperson.

I've made a few procedural decisions as I've gone along.

1. For people I see every day, I don't bother to update their notes with every encounter. I only update when they say something I want to remember. My rule of thumb is that if I see someone once a week or more, I won't update for every encounter.

2. For my purposes, contact informaiton doesn't belong in the Farleyfile. I have other tools to keep a person's contact info -- and it seems like contact info is constantly in flux, I don't need to be updating it in multiple places.

3. I can certainly see going back through my journals and pulling out encounters with people to add to the Farleyfile, but right now I'm limiting my efforts to the present. In a year or so, when I've finished putting the rest of my journals into Evernote and am looking for another obsessive project, maybe I'll start working retroactively.

So there it is. Comments, suggestions, discussion? Anybody else keeping track of people with Evernote? How do you do it?

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Reading Double Star (rather a long time ago) got me interested in databases too. We should start a club!

I use Evernote to create a complete record for each contact including address, phone etc - even though I'm going to repeat the same information for my phone and my email address book. In my defence there's cutting and pasting involved, and since Evernote recognises email addresses I can use it as my address book a lot of the time. Evernote will always be the authoritative source for contact details.

I've experimented with a running 'timeline' note which included a day-by-day summary of actions and activities with links to the notes which dealt with events and individuals, but for the moment I've gone back to putting the daily items in the relevant individual notes. Using Cntrl-; (in Windows) to stamp the date and time makes it easy to record activities. What did I do on <date>? - Search will list all the items.

I'm trying to record a raft of new individuals I'm meeting through networking events at the moment - scanning business cards and bits of promotional stuff, and recording when and where we meet. The groups of contacts are currently in notebooks according to which event we all attended, but I plan to tag each group with a standard label and throw them all into my default notebook in due course. They'll all be tagged 'contact' and I'll probably add more tags as differences between them become apparent.

My ideal (going back to the Farleyfile concept) will be that the next time I get a phone call "Hi Gaz, it's Jim.." I can look up 'jim' and get reminded of all the individuals this might be, plus the dates of my last interactions...

(Why do people always assume you only know only one person with their name, and even though you last spoke months ago you'll instantly recall their interests/ problems in detail?)

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Don,

You've nailed the first part of Evernote's mission:

Capture anything. Save your ideas, things you like, things you hear, and things you see.

I started doing this with many years ago with DOS-based Lotus Agenda (a product ahead of its time). Lotus could not handle the cross-over when Windows came on the scene so I migrated to Lotus Symphony for many years; then on to a 10-year stint with Frontrange Goldmine; a brief stint with Salesforce.com and Jigsaw.com; and today I am in Evernote.

Each transition was difficult and I know I lost quite a bit of information each time. I am still manually transferring stuff from Goldmine and pasting it into Evernote. But the increased efficiencies and search capabilities of Evernote made it worth the change.

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@GandalfS

I've looked at Hello, but it is a bit too structured for me. I don't always enter ifnormation about a person at the same place, date, and time as my interaction with them -- sometimes it can be days later -- so Hello's date/time/location data would be wrong. As I said, I have a system that works really well for me for contact info, which Hello makes central.

But the real deal-kilelr for me with Hello is that I can't edit the notes it makes in regular Evernote. So if I need to add/change something while I'm on laptop, desktop, or using the web interface on a computer at work, I would have to (a) scribble things down on paper (downright pre-Millennial!), or (B) put it into regular Evernote and then transfer to Hello later, which would be a logistical mess.

I think Hello is a good product, but right now it just isn't for me.

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I've recently started to use Evernote to accomplish something I've wanted to do ever since I first read Robert A. Heinlein's Double Star -- create a Farleyfile.

For those who don't recognize the term, the Farleyfile is named for FDR's campaign manager, James Farley. Farley kept a file on every person FDR met -- a file that included professional informaiton as well as personal details like name of spouse, children, and pets, favorite food and drink, personality, hobbies, history of previous meetings...really, anything.

When FDR had a subsequent meeting with the same person, Farley would produce the person's Farleyfile and FDR would read it over in advance. Then he'd be able to greet the person, ask about their spouse, discuss their hobby, etc. As Wikipedia says, "The effect was powerful and intimate."

So last year I started my own Farleyfile. I make a note for each new person I deal with (in this case, everyone was "new" at the beginning). Then I add to the notes as necessary, and review them when I can. I have a terrible memory for things like family members and vacations and such, and this is helping a lot with the "soft" stuff like that.

I understand that there are customer management systems and contact management systems that are supposed to be used for this sort of thing, but I figure why get another piece of software when Evernote can do it as well? Besides, systems like that seem like overkill for the kind of social and minor business contacts I have -- I'm a librarian, not a salesperson.

I've made a few procedural decisions as I've gone along.

1. For people I see every day, I don't bother to update their notes with every encounter. I only update when they say something I want to remember. My rule of thumb is that if I see someone once a week or more, I won't update for every encounter.

2. For my purposes, contact informaiton doesn't belong in the Farleyfile. I have other tools to keep a person's contact info -- and it seems like contact info is constantly in flux, I don't need to be updating it in multiple places.

3. I can certainly see going back through my journals and pulling out encounters with people to add to the Farleyfile, but right now I'm limiting my efforts to the present. In a year or so, when I've finished putting the rest of my journals into Evernote and am looking for another obsessive project, maybe I'll start working retroactively.

So there it is. Comments, suggestions, discussion? Anybody else keeping track of people with Evernote? How do you do it?

For many years, I've kept brief Farleyfiles (but didn't know there was a name for them!) but mostly with people who are business associates of my husband. Many of these people I see once every year or two and it's always nice to be able to know their children's names & be able to "remember" other topics we discussed the last time I saw them. I originallly kept these notes in my PDA of choice but now they have migrated to Evernote. As I've gotten older (what is it they say it the first to go?), I've added notes about people that I see more often but still don't see daily/weekly/monthly. I think I may start adding more of this info before I forget it all. :lol: I also like the idea of having the notes apart from the contact info. One thing I do is if contact info changes, I will make a note that this is obsolete as of MM/DD/YY, in Evernote. This is helpful if/when I run across that person's contact info in another form. (IE my Christmas card mailing list is in a different database b/c I can do mail merge when printing the envelopes.) I can then refer to Evernote to make sure I have the most current address.

Another thing I note is if someone really hates or is allergic to a particular food. It's always embarrassing to serve a cheese souffle to someone who is allergic to eggs. :o

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Another thing I note is if someone really hates or is allergic to a particular food. It's always embarrassing to serve a cheese souffle to someone who is allergic to eggs. :o

That's brilliant. It would also help when choosing restaurants. I'm diabetic, I have friends who are lactose intolerant, vegetarians, celiac, etc. Those are things definitely worth remembering.

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I too have a FarleyFile - but I also did not know the "official" name of it.

The one thing I'd like to do, but have not figured out how quite yet, is to add to the note, a copy of the person's business card.

When I scan a card in, it ends up as a .pdf file and I can not add any text to the created note.

Anyone have any suggestions?

By the way, I have gone ahead in some cases and scanned the Business Card into one .pdf file, then created a separate note related to the person.. and then merged the two notes.. but it does not really seem like the best solution. The business card "page" of the merged note has a ton of white space before you eventually get down to the "farleyfile" pieces of information.

Tom

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When I scan a card in, it ends up as a .pdf file and I can not add any text to the created note.

Anyone have any suggestions?

In Windows, it is possible to add text to an existing note with a PDF.

Position the mouse in the upper right corner just above and to the right of the PDF edge and type.

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@Don, that makes a lot of sense, thanks. I wish I had these tools when I used to wait tables 20 years ago. I used to keep a file like this in my Franklin quest planner for any customer that came in at least once a year.

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@Tom M

If you use the Mac version of Evernote, you can also type into a note with a PDF.

But on the iPad and iPhone, you can't...probably the same with Android (although I don't know for sure).

Maybe you could scan business cards to jpg -- or take a screen shot of the PDF and put the screen shot into Evernote. I can edit a note with a jpg in it on the iPad, and I believe also on iPhone.

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I'm loving this idea. I just met someone at Starbucks(literally right now, while reading this thread) and made my first FarleyFile note.

I try to keep things as simple as possible so I will probably just create a "FarleyFile" tag for any of these notes I create. Any other ideas?

Also does anyone have a template of typical info you record about your interactions in your FarleyFile? (preferably contact info excluded because I have a contacts list for that)

Thanks!

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I'm also so inspired by this thread that I'm going to start trying to do it too. Thanks for the idea, Don!

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BKandt, here's a sample entry. I've changed names and details.

----------

Elizabeth Cady Stanton (nee Rumbplestiltskin)

Librarian at North Branch 1998-present)

Chair of Employee Relations Committee 1996-97

Librarian at South Branch 1995-1998

Junior Librarian at Middle Branch (?-1995)

worked with County Planning & Zoning Dept before starting with Library

Divorced from Albrecht Rumplestiltskin 1986

Son: Barney Rumplestiltskin b. June 1972 - now living in Oregon

Birthday 1 April 1953

Born in Washington DC

Food: Crabs

Pet: Henry (Beagle) - died 2009

Hobby: Drawing

Color: Yellow

2012/04/04 Movie night at Big Stuff Mall - Myrtle, Bob, Elizabeth, and me. Ate at Ruby Tuesday and then saw "The Hunger Games" - see journal entry for more details

2012/01/13 Saw Elizabeth at Wasting Time Committee meeting at West Branch. She was working on a new portrait of her mother.

2011/08/03 Dinner with Elizabeth, Bob, Myrtle, and Susie K. at Beckworth's. See journal entry.

(etc.)

----------

I picked an example that had a good amount of detail. Most of mine have less. I don't probe people for details, just record details that people mention.

This isn't the only way to do it, of course. The format should be useful to you.

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The divorce notation is a good idea. Rather embarrassing when you see an acquaintance you've not seen for a while & call the new spouse by the former spouse's name. :-0

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I know I'm obviously very late to this discussion, but I developed a template that is similar to this before stumbling on the "Farley File" discussion that is based on law enforcement and intelligence contact sheets.  I've redacted some of the stuff to not include close-hold information, but here's what I currently use (note, I also included the evernote file if you just want to download it):

Instructions
 
 
  • Remember to update tags to reflect the contact’s name, organization, category - i.e., professional, household, etc. - and any other additional details that would be useful for ordering/grouping notes.
  • For note titles, organize as follows:
    • individuals - “Last Name, First Name - Organization” i.e., “Doe, Jane - Spacely Sprockets Corporate Audit Investigations”
    • Organizations - “Institution, Organization, Sub-Section” i.e., “State of Jefferson, Attorney General’s Office, Major Case Squad"

BASIC SOURCE DATA
 
NAME: 
ORGANIZATION(S): 
TELEPHONE NUMBER(S) (identify whether it is a cell/work/home number): 
EMAIL ADDRESS(ES): 
BUSINESS ADDRESS: 
PERSONAL ADDRESS: 
DOB: 
AGE: 
PHYSICAL DESCRIPTION: 
VEHICLE DESCRIPTION: 
SPOUSE: 
CHILD(REN): 
EDUCATION: 
AREAS OF INFLUENCE/INFORMATION:
 
VALUES/BELIEFS/MOTIVATIONS/POLITICS: 
 
LIKES/INTERESTS:
 
KNOWN PATTERN OF LIFE:
 
 
SOCIAL MEDIA:
  • FACEBOOK:
  • INSTAGRAM: 
  • TWITTER: 
  • LINKED IN: 
  • OTHER:
 

 
CONTACT REPORTS
 
 
DATE: 
METHOD (in person/telephone/web/etc.): 
NOTES: 
 

Template - Contact 20170107.enex

Edited by Atticus Funk
I uploaded the wrong template.
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