Jump to content
Don Sakers

paperless Evernote Journal Progress Report

Recommended Posts

In a couple of other posts I've talked about my grand mission to get my accumulated personal journals/calendars into Evernote. Very briefly, I'm 54 and have journals/diaries/calendars going back at least 40 years (with scattered pieces of paper from earlier years). I've been transferring all this stuff to Evernote, making one note for each day and attaching relevant scans of paper stuff.

Since I've said publicly that my goal was to be finished by the end of 2012, I wanted to update everyone on my progress.

The bad news is that I didn't meet my deadline. The good news is that I only have 34 more months to enter, from 1980-1983. Everything else in my personal history is in Evernote, in 12,961 notes individual notes.

I can transfer about half a month of journals/calendars at a sitting now, so I figure it'll be another couple of real-world months before I'm completely finished. So my new deadline is Spring 2013.

Meanwhile, I'm amazing my friends and coworkers by pulling up scans of 25-year-old meeting notes, ticket stubs, and the like.

I love Evernote.

  • Like 4

Share this post


Link to post

In a couple of other posts I've talked about my grand mission to get my accumulated personal journals/calendars into Evernote. Very briefly, I'm 54 and have journals/diaries/calendars going back at least 40 years (with scattered pieces of paper from earlier years). I've been transferring all this stuff to Evernote, making one note for each day and attaching relevant scans of paper stuff.

Since I've said publicly that my goal was to be finished by the end of 2012, I wanted to update everyone on my progress.

The bad news is that I didn't meet my deadline. The good news is that I only have 34 more months to enter, from 1980-1983. Everything else in my personal history is in Evernote, in 12,961 notes individual notes.

I can transfer about half a month of journals/calendars at a sitting now, so I figure it'll be another couple of real-world months before I'm completely finished. So my new deadline is Spring 2013.

Meanwhile, I'm amazing my friends and coworkers by pulling up scans of 25-year-old meeting notes, ticket stubs, and the like.

I love Evernote.

Congratulations! I do remember your posts about this project. Would you be so kind as to share some of the notes with us (obscuring details as necessary). It would be very interesting to see what someone with so much experience writing journals has accumulated.

Share this post


Link to post

That's inspiring, since I'm doing similar things with my diaries, pictures etc.

My biggest fear is that one day Evernote decides to make a "due date" field out of "created date", and everything will be ruined.

Share this post


Link to post

That's inspiring, since I'm doing similar things with my diaries, pictures etc.

My biggest fear is that one day Evernote decides to make a "due date" field out of "created date", and everything will be ruined.

Don't worry.

The "Created Date" field is sacred territory.

Evernote however is moving forward with a long awaited improvement to handle stuff in the future. Last month at LeWeb, the Evernote CEO (Phil Libin) said the Evernote team is working on a "To Do / Calendar Integration / Reminder" feature which will be an Evernote core feature. It will be released during the first half of 2013.

He laughed off the current work-around solution (where users have to modify the Created Date for future stuff) by saying:

"
Notes from the future, they are kind of creepy.
"

Search Code 47ER92

  • Like 3

Share this post


Link to post

We all have creepy accounts then :)

Don't you have a note from the future on the day the hundred year company ends?

Seriously (?), though, Muad'dib's sister, Alia, used to send him messages from the future, so I kind of think of my account as fulfilling that sci-fi vision! I quite like the current system, but I can certainly see how it would be ill-suited for some GTD implementations. As mentioned elsewhere (see link to my website in my sig), I prefer the date in the title.

Share this post


Link to post

Don't you have a note from the future on the day the hundred year company ends?

Don't mean to hi-jack this post, but since you asked.

Yes, here is part of it.

The past few years have seen corporate behemoths - from financial firms such as Lehman Brothers to iconic car manufacturers such as Saab - felled by economic turmoil or by unforgiving customers and tough rivals.

And don't put away the black garb yet - the pace of corporate funerals is set to pick up. Most companies cannot make it to 8 years old. The average lifespan of a company listed in the S&P 500 index of leading US companies has decreased to just 15 years. By 2020, more than 75% of the S&P 500 will be companies that we have not heard of yet.

So in a world where former titan General Motors needed a huge government cash injection to escape bankruptcy and Kodak has had to ask for protection from its creditors, it seems apt to ask: How long can a company survive?

As an avid user, I sincerely wish Evernote the very best on their 100-year goal. They have a tough hill to climb.

Share this post


Link to post

That's inspiring, since I'm doing similar things with my diaries, pictures etc.

My biggest fear is that one day Evernote decides to make a "due date" field out of "created date", and everything will be ruined.

Don't worry.

The "Created Date" field is sacred territory.

Evernote however is moving forward with a long awaited improvement to handle stuff in the future. Last month at LeWeb, the Evernote CEO (Phil Libin) said the Evernote team is working on a "To Do / Calendar Integration / Reminder" feature which will be an Evernote core feature. It will be released during the first half of 2013.

He laughed off the current work-around solution (where users have to modify the Created Date for future stuff) by saying:

"
Notes from the future, they are kind of creepy.
"

Search Code 47ER92

Let's hope that does not mean just another field with due date, but something that can compete with modern tast managers (integration with google calendar, clever reminders, ability to filter tasks according to multiple criteria, repeated (with a complicated schedule) tasks, subtasks, priorities, widgets etc etс etc).

  • Like 2

Share this post


Link to post

Let's hope that does not mean just another field with due date, but something that can compete with modern tast managers (integration with google calendar, clever reminders, ability to filter tasks according to multiple criteria, repeated (with a complicated schedule) tasks, subtasks, priorities, widgets etc etс etc).

There will be a change, but I think your aspirations would set a hurdle far too high for Evernote to meet..

Share this post


Link to post

Congratulations! I do remember your posts about this project. Would you be so kind as to share some of the notes with us (obscuring details as necessary). It would be very interesting to see what someone with so much experience writing journals has accumulated.

Well, I don't know about "interesting" :) -- but here's a sampling. I copied the note from the same date (7 Jan) five years ago, ten, 15, 20, 25, 30, 35 and 40. I included my age at the time in brackets.

Here goes:

----------

Journal 20080107 Mon [Age 49]

Work 1-9

scheduled January 7, 2008 from 1:00 PM to 9:00 PM

Reading: The Amber Spyglass & Mindless Eating by Brian Wansink

10:32 am: Blood sugar 83

Up at 10:20 after a restless night. Stopped at the bank, then on to Wendys for brunch.

Slow afternoon & night at work - I was able to get a lot done on the website.

Thomas was gone when I got home. I watched TV for a while, let Koltar come out to play, and went upstairs to sleep.

----------

Journal 20030107 Tue [Age 44]

work 1-9

scheduled January 7, 2003 from 1:00 PM to 9:00 PM

----------

Journal 19980107 Wed [Age 39]

work 9-5

scheduled January 7, 1998 from 9:00 AM to 5:00 PM

Basketball game @ xxx

scheduled January 7, 1998 from 7:15 PM to 9:00 PM

----------

Journal 19930107 Thu [Age 34]

work 1-9

scheduled January 7, 1993 from 1:00 PM to 9:00 PM

DLDS Training

scheduled January 7, 1993 from 1:30 PM to 4:00 PM

Attached: pdf of training handouts

----------

Journal 19880107 Thu [Age 29]

Allergy shot

scheduled for January 7, 1988

Work 1-9

scheduled January 7, 1988 from 1:00 PM to 9:00 PM

Staff meeting

scheduled January 7, 1988 from 2:00 PM to 4:00 PM

Storytime

scheduled January 7, 1988 from 7:00 PM to 7:30 PM

Attached: pdf of staff meeting notes

----------

Journal 19830107 Fri [Age 24]

work 9-5

scheduled for January 7, 1983

Dinner at Mom & Dad's

scheduled January 7, 1983 at 6:00 PM

----------

Journal 19780107 Sat [Age 19]

Mike & Don attend Kathy Wilson's installation as Honored Queen of the Daughters of Job, followed by party at Kathy's house

Attached: pdf of program from ceremony

----------

Journal 19730109 Tue [Age 14]

All right, so I haven't written anything in my journal for, well, since last year. So what? It does happen to be my journal, and I'll do what I want with it.

However, I'd better fill in a few of the more important happenings of late. 1) I got "Beehive" back, a rejection, worse luck. 2) Around Dec. 20, I decided to concentrate solely on my novel until I have it off my back, 3) I had a vacation from school, 4) Christmas came and went with no incident.

So here I am, back in school, ready to start working, wide awake and intelligent, and raring to go. Right?

Wrong! I'm sleepy, I have a sore throat, a runny nose, and I have hit the bottom of the deepest pit of despair without knowing it. And I haven't come back up.

Although I've been careful to try and avoid putting any but the strongest and/or most sincere emotion into this journal, I feel that "talking out" my problem(s) may help a little.

Several things bother me. First, the rejection of "Beehive," which I felt was sure to be accepted. Rats, I know it's a good idea, So it must be the writing. But as Isaac Asimov says, re-writing a story too many times indicates that it may be a failure to begin with. I'll let it sit and continue "full forward thrust" with "Missing Person."

Secondly, I've hit that slump of thinking that CBTS is childishly written and a terrible novel. I usually counteract this feeling by rereading it, but that may prove my dreads correct, and I don't want to chance it. The way to break out of this is to read it despite what I think.

Finally, I just can't seem to write much on SOTS. As soon as I really get started, something comes along and stops me. Usually it's either Mom or somehow related to school. I'm afraid that I just might never be able to join the ranks of successful science fiction writers.

Now that I've finished with this soul-searching, I'll continue with my day.

I quitted the world of the sleepers in a terrible mood, after what must have been an annoying dream.

To briefly peruse the day (is that the word?):

Morning: Ugh.

Math: Had a test, Mr. Z says I might have gotten #1 wrong.

Bio: Dissected roundworms. used microscopes.

Art: Ugh!

English: Yesterday, when told that we were starting a unit on compositions, I could have jumped for joy. Y'know what we're doing? Dissecting paragraphs! I hope there a little bit of creative writing involved.

Lunch: Thinking about St. Philip;s. I must wear brown & gold on St. Philip Neri Day, perchance I find out when it is.

Civics: Double Ugh!

German: Don't mention it.

Upon arriving home I got nothing in the mail. I fooled around until about 8:30, when I played a game of Monopoly with Dad & David. Mom took over for me at 10:00 when I went to bed.

----------

Share this post


Link to post

Let's hope that does not mean just another field with due date, but something that can compete with modern tast managers (integration with google calendar, clever reminders, ability to filter tasks according to multiple criteria, repeated (with a complicated schedule) tasks, subtasks, priorities, widgets etc etс etc).

As far as I'm concerned, it doesn't matter to me if Evernote can compete with other software. When I want to manage tasks, I use a task manager app. When I want to send email, I use an email app. When I want to play a game, watch a movie, or write a book, I use apps dedicated to those purposes.

What I want from Evernote is (1) a quick & ubiquitous way to capture, store, and search the things I produce with other apps, and (2) a quick & ubiquitous way to make, store, and search notes. IMHO, anything that distracts Evernote programmers from fulfilling those expectations is a distraction.

YMMV: Your mileage may vary.

Share this post


Link to post

Thanks Don. That was amazing. I wish that I could go back in time and start a journal. I always meant to keep up with my writing, but every year my resolutions were abandoned by the end of January. I had lots of false starts, but until the last few years, nothing consistent. I hope your post will be inspiration to people out there. Congratulations!

  • Like 1

Share this post


Link to post

Don, I really enjoyed seeing the progression of the journal, in five year increments on a certain date - brilliant. You were obviously a bright teenager! And the comment about "nothing in the mail" took me back to that same era where the main communication tool was the mail and it somehow felt like my life might be changed b some particular item of mail. Every once in a while that did happen (acceptance notice to college of choice) so that, of course, fueled the interest in checking the mail!! Thanks for sharing!!

Share this post


Link to post

We all have creepy accounts then :)

Don't you have a note from the future on the day the hundred year company ends?

Seriously (?), though, Muad'dib's sister, Alia, used to send him messages from the future, so I kind of think of my account as fulfilling that sci-fi vision! I quite like the current system, but I can certainly see how it would be ill-suited for some GTD implementations. As mentioned elsewhere (see link to my website in my sig), I prefer the date in the title.

Hello GrumpyMonkey,

I think your mobile device is malfunctioning again. It's not auto-adding the proper message signature anymore, which I have included below:

"-- This message sent from my Sandworm e-Reader from a local Spice planet belonging to House Atreides"

:lol:

-- roschler

  • Like 1

Share this post


Link to post

Here's one of the cool things about having a note for every day of my life. When I find and scan an old bit of paper -- a photograph, receipt, ticket stub, postcard, test paper from school, etc. -- I have a place to attach it.

That's why I'm a great believer in zero days and zero months in calendars. Like, 20130207 is today, but 20130200 is the whole month of Feb 2013, and 20130000 is the whole year. A lot of old stuff doesn't come with an exact date, but I can usually figure out the year or even the month. Those zero-day and zero-month notes give me a place to anchor such indeterminate stuff.

Now if only I could figure out WHICH Lord of the Rings movie this old ticket stub was from: I have a month but no year, and "Lord of the Rin" but not the rest of the title....

I know! 200x0000 - for the whole decade!

  • Like 1

Share this post


Link to post

Here's one of the cool things about having a note for every day of my life. When I find and scan an old bit of paper -- a photograph, receipt, ticket stub, postcard, test paper from school, etc. -- I have a place to attach it.

That's why I'm a great believer in zero days and zero months in calendars. Like, 20130207 is today, but 20130200 is the whole month of Feb 2013, and 20130000 is the whole year. A lot of old stuff doesn't come with an exact date, but I can usually figure out the year or even the month. Those zero-day and zero-month notes give me a place to anchor such indeterminate stuff.

Now if only I could figure out WHICH Lord of the Rings movie this old ticket stub was from: I have a month but no year, and "Lord of the Rin" but not the rest of the title....

I know! 200x0000 - for the whole decade!

A brilliant idea. Thanks!

Maybe these days will help:

- 19 December 2001 The Fellowship of the Ring

- 18 December 2002 The Two Towers

- 17 December 2003 The Return of the King

Share this post


Link to post

Don, I've been thinking about scanning my old Books I've Read notebooks into Evernote. They are all handwritten, and they vary in terms of binding. 

 

I'm curious about how you are bringing, presumably handwritten, journals into Evernote. Are you doing them in bulk as PDFs or are you doing them page by page?

 

I've consider doing my book notebooks, page by page as jpgs because they are hand written, but it would be nice to know what you've tried and how it is working. 

Share this post


Link to post

Candice, good questions.

My journals were almost exclusively handwritten on loose leaf paper, with a new entry for every day. An entry could be anything from a single side of one page to huge multi-page epics. I scanned each daily entry as a separate PDF, with as many pages as necessary in each file.

At one time, I used a one-sheet-a-day format. Those were easier to process. I put a month at a time in the ScanSnap and told it to scan each page to a separate file, with the filename format YYYYMMxx, where xx was a sequential count (so the files were, say, 19911201, 19911202, 19911203, etc.)

I started scanned everything as PDFs before I knew that Evernote handwriting analysis is supposed to be better on JPGs. That being said, I've had some remarkably accurate results in searches. (On the other hand, my handwriting is not cursive, it's printed -- thanks for a 4th grade teacher who turned back my ten-page report on the Civil War with a note that said "I can't read this. Never EVER write in cursive again." So perhaps Evernote OCR has less trouble with my printing than it would with cursive.)

The downside of JPGs for me is that they often don't look as nice when printed, and if you have multi-page documents it's a little harder to print the whole thing in a format that reproduces the original. However, since this is all about going paperless, printing might not be a concern at all.

I always try to be wary about making multi-page documents too large. When you search, you still have to open up each document and look within it to find the page you're looking for. A lot of times, Evernote highlights the search term for you (sometimes it doesn't)...but that still leaves you paging through a 50-page document looking for the highlighting.

With whole notebooks, like your Books Read notebooks, I think I'd be more comfortable breaking them down into smaller bits. There are several ways you could do this, depending somewhat on the format of your notebooks.

-Each book report in a separate file

-Each page in a separate file

-Keep things together logically...if a book report spans 2 or more pages, put them in the same file

-Set an arbitrary limit: 5 pages per file, 10, whatever

Most likely, some combination of this approaches is what will work best for you.

  • Like 1

Share this post


Link to post

Hey, Don, late getting back but this is helpful information. My book notes are, I think, all in printing so I am going to hope for the best on scans. 

 

I think I might experiment a bit and see what a PDF OCR will pull out of the pages. 

Share this post


Link to post

I'm happy to be able to report that I have completed entering my journal documents into my Evernote journal.

Tuesday will be my 20,000th day of life; my Journal notebook has almost 14,000 notes, one for each day for which I have documentation. These notes include diary and journal entries, calendars, PDFs of pertinent papers, pictures, memorabilia, etc.

As I go through old documents and scan them, this gives me a framework of notes to which I can attach those scans. It also permits me to look back over my life and search for events and such.

And, of course, I continue to make daily entries in my journal.

  • Like 1

Share this post


Link to post

I'm happy to be able to report that I have completed entering my journal documents into my Evernote journal.

Tuesday will be my 20,000th day of life; my Journal notebook has almost 14,000 notes, one for each day for which I have documentation. These notes include diary and journal entries, calendars, PDFs of pertinent papers, pictures, memorabilia, etc.

As I go through old documents and scan them, this gives me a framework of notes to which I can attach those scans. It also permits me to look back over my life and search for events and such.

And, of course, I continue to make daily entries in my journal.

 

CONGRATULATIONS!

This is an inspiring story, as I have mentioned before, and I often tell people about it when I talk about Evernote with people. I sure wish I had kept a journal when I was younger!

Share this post


Link to post

I'm setting out to do the same thing and seeing that at least one other person has completed such a task gives me hope. Congratulations!

 

Now to see how well Evernote handles my cursive...

Share this post


Link to post

Create an account or sign in to comment

You need to be a member in order to leave a comment

Create an account

Sign up for a new account in our community. It's easy!

Register a new account

Sign in

Already have an account? Sign in here.

Sign In Now

×
×
  • Create New...