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abi_shepherd

windows (Archived) Evernote system becoming too heavy!

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Hello. I need a little help. I have been using evernote for a couple of years. I use it for everything. I have recently felt that I have too many Notebooks and too many tags.

I have taken the step to combine MOST of my notebooks in one big notebook called "ARCHIVE". And created a brand new notebook which I have called ***INBOX (so it goes to the top) and made it my default so that new notes can go in there before being filed. I have still kept a notebook for the following:

  • Family (shared with my husband)
  • Recipe Book (I just prefer to keep this separate - although I don't cook so I wonder if a tag wouldn't suffice)
  • Turkey house (shared notebook)
  • Blog (where I do all my writing and research related to my blog)

I'm quite happy with this solution.

However, when it comes to tags, I'm completely at a loss. My temptation is to completely delete them all and start again. But I have 3423 notes altogether and I am worried that if I start from scratch with the tags that a) I'll have to re-tag everything or do something (like editing the title so that I know they can be accessed with the correct keywords), B) I may "lose" some notes that don't have titles like my kids artwork that I've photographed for memory's sake.

I already got rid of a whole pile of notebooks which were for my diary entries - I renamed each entry to Diary-YY-MM-DD So they are easily findable (with a tag also of "diary" - although I wonder if that is necessary). Is this maybe the way to go to tidy things up a bit? Making sure that things have the correct titles?

Part of my thinking of reorganising things is that I have been wondering about using Evernote for GTD/task management purposes. I've been reading up on what other people do but I've not found anyone with my issue (starting again basically and redesigning your evernote system).

Any help would be most grateful.

PS I use evernote on my work Windows laptop, my iMac/macbook at home and also iPhone and occassionally (when the kids let me) ipad.

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Hi. Welcome to the forums! This is a big question. My suggestion would be rather drastic (http://www.princeton...ganization.html), but it would at least get rid of the feeling that you have too many notebooks or tags :)

I would suggest that if my approach is too much for you then, you consider some of the consolidation of tags that is possible with a structured approach to them (http://www.princeton...ernote-tag.html). Deleting is a big step.

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However, when it comes to tags, I'm completely at a loss. My temptation is to completely delete them all and start again. But I have 3423 notes altogether and I am worried that if I start from scratch with the tags that a) I'll have to re-tag everything or do something (like editing the title so that I know they can be accessed with the correct keywords), B) I may "lose" some notes that don't have titles like my kids artwork that I've photographed for memory's sake.

I already got rid of a whole pile of notebooks which were for my diary entries - I renamed each entry to Diary-YY-MM-DD So they are easily findable (with a tag also of "diary" - although I wonder if that is necessary). Is this maybe the way to go to tidy things up a bit? Making sure that things have the correct titles?

Part of my thinking of reorganising things is that I have been wondering about using Evernote for GTD/task management purposes. I've been reading up on what other people do but I've not found anyone with my issue (starting again basically and redesigning your evernote system).

I would heartily recommend against deleting all your tags! You would lose a lot of captured information that would be irretrievable. The time cost of going back and re-tagging all of your notes would be prohibitive and not worth the time. Tags are simple and quick to do at the time of note creation but laborious and time consuming to do on a large database of notes. If you are going to start a new tagging system, just start doing it and over time the information and organization will become more valuable.

As for GTD with Evernote, I have been using Zendone.com for over a year now and it's the best I've used. It integrates well with Evernote and also with Google calendar which really is what makes this app shine. They also have a great iPhone app that also works on the iPad so it's more mobile than it was in the past. They are in private beta still but it's fully functional and you can e-mail the developers or post on their Getsatisfaction site or blog and they will give you an invite quickly.

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Hi. Welcome to the forums! This is a big question. My suggestion would be rather drastic (http://www.princeton...ganization.html), but it would at least get rid of the feeling that you have too many notebooks or tags :)

I would suggest that if my approach is too much for you then, you consider some of the consolidation of tags that is possible with a structured approach to them (http://www.princeton...ernote-tag.html). Deleting is a big step.

Hi. Not sure I'm ready to start from scratch but have had a read of the articles you posted. All good stuff. thanks a lot.

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However, when it comes to tags, I'm completely at a loss. My temptation is to completely delete them all and start again. But I have 3423 notes altogether and I am worried that if I start from scratch with the tags that a) I'll have to re-tag everything or do something (like editing the title so that I know they can be accessed with the correct keywords), B) I may "lose" some notes that don't have titles like my kids artwork that I've photographed for memory's sake.

I already got rid of a whole pile of notebooks which were for my diary entries - I renamed each entry to Diary-YY-MM-DD So they are easily findable (with a tag also of "diary" - although I wonder if that is necessary). Is this maybe the way to go to tidy things up a bit? Making sure that things have the correct titles?

Part of my thinking of reorganising things is that I have been wondering about using Evernote for GTD/task management purposes. I've been reading up on what other people do but I've not found anyone with my issue (starting again basically and redesigning your evernote system).

I would heartily recommend against deleting all your tags! You would lose a lot of captured information that would be irretrievable. The time cost of going back and re-tagging all of your notes would be prohibitive and not worth the time. Tags are simple and quick to do at the time of note creation but laborious and time consuming to do on a large database of notes. If you are going to start a new tagging system, just start doing it and over time the information and organization will become more valuable.

As for GTD with Evernote, I have been using Zendone.com for over a year now and it's the best I've used. It integrates well with Evernote and also with Google calendar which really is what makes this app shine. They also have a great iPhone app that also works on the iPad so it's more mobile than it was in the past. They are in private beta still but it's fully functional and you can e-mail the developers or post on their Getsatisfaction site or blog and they will give you an invite quickly.

Brilliant. Thanks for that. Have signed up for Zendone. I used Omnifocus for a while but its just no good not being able to access my lists from my work computer. I will try out Zendone. Any tips on using it?

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Brilliant. Thanks for that. Have signed up for Zendone. I used Omnifocus for a while but its just no good not being able to access my lists from my work computer. I will try out Zendone. Any tips on using it?

One good tip I would suggest is studying this page. They have a great feature that allows you to enter actions in Zendone directly from Evernote. You can also use this syntax to create notes from e-mail. If you receive an e-mail that you want to create an action with, you forward the note in to your Inbox on Evernote after changing the subject line to allow Zendone to create a task.

Say you receive an email reminding you to pick up the milk from someone.

Forward the email to your personal Evernote address that will put the email in your Inbox.

If the subject of the email is "don't forget the milk," change the subject when you are forwarding it to "-Remember to pick up the milk. Today at 5:30pm. Home. Errands."

Zendone scans your Evernote inbox regularly and will notice the note with a "-" at the beginning and convert your note to a task. It will put it in your "Home" area under the "Errands" focus area with a due date of Today at 5:30pm. It will also simultaneously put this event on your Google Calendar which will promptly remind you at 5:20pm to pick up the milk.

I create some tasks directly in Zendone when I'm organizing and reviewing. I create some directly from the Zendone iPhone app. Sometimes, as above, you can just create them in Evernote when it is more convenient. I would set up a "Tasks" notebook in Evernote and set Zendone to use that for Tasks. It will move notes from Inbox to the Tasks notebook once it creates the task.

Another tip is that the Google Calendar integration is bidirectional. So if you have a task or reminder in Google calendar and want to change it to a different day, you can just click and drag it on the calendar and it will update in Zendone as well.

Steve

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Very odd. I can get Evernote to send item to Zendone if I send an email to me evernote email address, but not if I create it in evernote itself.

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Very odd. I can get Evernote to send item to Zendone if I send an email to me evernote email address, but not if I create it in evernote itself.

Zendone only monitors your default Evernote notebook. I have my default notebook set to Inbox so Zendone will process any notes starting with '-' that are in that notebook. You are probably creating the note in a notebook that Zendone isn't watching would be my guess.

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Hi, Abi.

I thought I would just offer some comments / ideas for you to consider.

  1. Your Effort - You seem to have an awful lot of notebooks and tags. It strikes me that either you are trying too hard or trying to be too precise. I bought a book by Brandon Collins named The Evernote Bible. He suggests fewer rather than more notebooks. - - - As far as tags, don't overlook how powerful the simple Evernote Search is. If you can remember as little as a keyword of a Note that you created a couple years ago, the Search function will likely find it for you.
  2. Starting Over - I don't recommend that either. With over 3,000 Notes, it would take you a lot of time and when you're done, I'll bet you would conclude it wasn't worth the effort. - - - What you may want to try and see if it is helpful is to sort your Notes by last update, scan the list, and delete ones that you won't likely ever reference again. I find that about 10% of my Notes have a "1-time" need and shelf-life. I just delete them when I come across them.
  3. Dates in Note Titles - I feel this requires extra effort that isn't warranted. Both the Create Date and Last Update of a Note can be modified. Use them. Search on them.
  4. Tidying Up - We all have different levels of need for tidiness and organization. But remember, one of the great benefits of Evernote is that we can just throw Notes in there the way we used to do in our "paper" worlds before computers - - - and in those days, most of us couldn't remember half the stuff we had saved, much less find it.

I hope there was something in this reply that you find useful.

Analyst444

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Very useful thanks. I will check out that book too. I do think I have been overcomplicating things. Am definitely now going to go for the "less is more" attitude to tagging and notebooks from now on.

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Hi, Abi.

I thought I would just offer some comments / ideas for you to consider.

  1. Your Effort - You seem to have an awful lot of notebooks and tags. It strikes me that either you are trying too hard or trying to be too precise. I bought a book by Brandon Collins named The Evernote Bible. He suggests fewer rather than more notebooks. - - - As far as tags, don't overlook how powerful the simple Evernote Search is. If you can remember as little as a keyword of a Note that you created a couple years ago, the Search function will likely find it for you.
  2. Starting Over - I don't recommend that either. With over 3,000 Notes, it would take you a lot of time and when you're done, I'll bet you would conclude it wasn't worth the effort. - - - What you may want to try and see if it is helpful is to sort your Notes by last update, scan the list, and delete ones that you won't likely ever reference again. I find that about 10% of my Notes have a "1-time" need and shelf-life. I just delete them when I come across them.
  3. Dates in Note Titles - I feel this requires extra effort that isn't warranted. Both the Create Date and Last Update of a Note can be modified. Use them. Search on them.
  4. Tidying Up - We all have different levels of need for tidiness and organization. But remember, one of the great benefits of Evernote is that we can just throw Notes in there the way we used to do in our "paper" worlds before computers - - - and in those days, most of us couldn't remember half the stuff we had saved, much less find it.

I hope there was something in this reply that you find useful.

Analyst444

Very good points. It reminds me, though, that a system needs to take into account the clients being used. In my case, I use several clients, so I shoot for the lowest common denominator. On some clients, you cannot modify the created and updated dates (iOS, for example), so putting the date in the title can be a huge benefit. If you are only using Windows, then you are using the most feature-rich client available (overall, Windows has the most options for customizing your workflow), and changing the updated/created dates is quite easy.

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Hi, Abi.

I thought I would just offer some comments / ideas for you to consider.

  1. Your Effort - You seem to have an awful lot of notebooks and tags. It strikes me that either you are trying too hard or trying to be too precise. I bought a book by Brandon Collins named The Evernote Bible. He suggests fewer rather than more notebooks. - - - As far as tags, don't overlook how powerful the simple Evernote Search is. If you can remember as little as a keyword of a Note that you created a couple years ago, the Search function will likely find it for you.
  2. Starting Over - I don't recommend that either. With over 3,000 Notes, it would take you a lot of time and when you're done, I'll bet you would conclude it wasn't worth the effort. - - - What you may want to try and see if it is helpful is to sort your Notes by last update, scan the list, and delete ones that you won't likely ever reference again. I find that about 10% of my Notes have a "1-time" need and shelf-life. I just delete them when I come across them.
  3. Dates in Note Titles - I feel this requires extra effort that isn't warranted. Both the Create Date and Last Update of a Note can be modified. Use them. Search on them.
  4. Tidying Up - We all have different levels of need for tidiness and organization. But remember, one of the great benefits of Evernote is that we can just throw Notes in there the way we used to do in our "paper" worlds before computers - - - and in those days, most of us couldn't remember half the stuff we had saved, much less find it.

I hope there was something in this reply that you find useful.

Analyst444

Very good points. It reminds me, though, that a system needs to take into account the clients being used. In my case, I use several clients, so I shoot for the lowest common denominator. On some clients, you cannot modify the created and updated dates (iOS, for example), so putting the date in the title can be a huge benefit. If you are only using Windows, then you are using the most feature-rich client available (overall, Windows has the most options for customizing your workflow), and changing the updated/created dates is quite easy.

I'm using pretty much all platforms - windows at work, my iphone/ipad and mac at home. It was only really for my backdated diary entries that I wanted to put the dates in the title so that if I sorted them by title they would show in order. Previously I had a stack of notebooks for diary: one for each year but some years only had a couple of posts and it just looked far to bulky and got on my nerves. I like this system much better. My diary entries all have DiaryYYYYMMDD (I had it with dashes but realised that that made it harder for search to locate particular entries. All diary entries have a "diary" tag too (not sure if this is necessary).

I'll get there.

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Hi, Abi.

I thought I would just offer some comments / ideas for you to consider.

  1. Your Effort - You seem to have an awful lot of notebooks and tags. It strikes me that either you are trying too hard or trying to be too precise. I bought a book by Brandon Collins named The Evernote Bible. He suggests fewer rather than more notebooks. - - - As far as tags, don't overlook how powerful the simple Evernote Search is. If you can remember as little as a keyword of a Note that you created a couple years ago, the Search function will likely find it for you.
  2. Starting Over - I don't recommend that either. With over 3,000 Notes, it would take you a lot of time and when you're done, I'll bet you would conclude it wasn't worth the effort. - - - What you may want to try and see if it is helpful is to sort your Notes by last update, scan the list, and delete ones that you won't likely ever reference again. I find that about 10% of my Notes have a "1-time" need and shelf-life. I just delete them when I come across them.
  3. Dates in Note Titles - I feel this requires extra effort that isn't warranted. Both the Create Date and Last Update of a Note can be modified. Use them. Search on them.
  4. Tidying Up - We all have different levels of need for tidiness and organization. But remember, one of the great benefits of Evernote is that we can just throw Notes in there the way we used to do in our "paper" worlds before computers - - - and in those days, most of us couldn't remember half the stuff we had saved, much less find it.

I hope there was something in this reply that you find useful.

Analyst444

Very good points. It reminds me, though, that a system needs to take into account the clients being used. In my case, I use several clients, so I shoot for the lowest common denominator. On some clients, you cannot modify the created and updated dates (iOS, for example), so putting the date in the title can be a huge benefit. If you are only using Windows, then you are using the most feature-rich client available (overall, Windows has the most options for customizing your workflow), and changing the updated/created dates is quite easy.

I'm using pretty much all platforms - windows at work, my iphone/ipad and mac at home. It was only really for my backdated diary entries that I wanted to put the dates in the title so that if I sorted them by title they would show in order. Previously I had a stack of notebooks for diary: one for each year but some years only had a couple of posts and it just looked far to bulky and got on my nerves. I like this system much better. My diary entries all have DiaryYYYYMMDD (I had it with dashes but realised that that made it harder for search to locate particular entries. All diary entries have a "diary" tag too (not sure if this is necessary).

I'll get there.

Redundancy is nice to have. A diary tag seems fine to me even if you have the name in the title.

iOS doesn't have a reverse sort, so that is a bit of a pain if you are sorting by title and wanting to see your journal entries in order from most recent. One thing I have done is to make an "index note" of all my past research journal entries (create note > open note in new window > search and sort to arrange journal notes as needed > select all > drag notes into "index note" to create not links). This is linked from my "home page" (a note that works kind of like a wiki home page to link to all the sections of my personal wiki). This way, no matter what platform I use, I can access my notes using the sort order I prefer.

With these "index notes" I have found tags and most saved searches to be largely unnecessary (at least, for my needs).

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Hi Abi,

Been following this thread.

I agree don't delete your tags. If you want to cull them, work out how you can join some together.

The inbox system seems a good idea, but think you need to empty it every day. Otherwise it just becomes a pointless depository, dumping ground for everything, thereby negating its point.

Regards

Chris

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The inbox system seems a good idea, but think you need to empty it every day. Otherwise it just becomes a pointless depository, dumping ground for everything, thereby negating its point.

Hence, my single notebook :)

I tried the Inbox thing, but after a while, there just didn't seem much point, so I threw it all into an "inbox."

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