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CaptainTime

windows (Archived) Evernote Search Tips

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As a time management trainer/consultant, I have worked with hierarchical organizing structures for years. So with Evernote's flatter system, I have struggled a bit.

 

But I am slowly becoming converted to tags instead of notebooks and a rigid hierarchy.

 

I first started embracing tags in my CRM when it made sense that a customer would be tagged for multiple purposes instead of filed in a single category. For example a friend of mine teaches meditation, does video work, is a member of the same astronomy society I am and is of course, a personal friend. I can tag him with all of these and find him for whatever I need him for at the time.

 

A second simple tool that showed me how powerful search is instead of hierarchy is a simple program I downloaded that searches my hard drive for a file name. (blindingly fast). This has made me use my file structure on my computer a lot less.

 

But I still struggle a bit in Evernote - probably because I first focused on setting it up like a file system rather than focusing on search and tags.

 

Here is an example I struggle with. I use a LOT of checklists and templates for everything I do. So I have a stack called "Templates" in Evernote that then has notebooks for Checklists, Coaching, Proposals, etc. In my old way of finding these, I would go to the stack and then to the notebooks. It could be confusing as I might have checklists for both camping and coaching. So does a coaching checklist go under Checklists or Coaching or a copy on each.

 

I have read a lot of the posts on tagging strategies, but then it seems I end up with 50 or more tags which can be confusing to search. Scrolling all the way down on the left panel to find a tag seemed very slow to me. In a book on Evernote, it was suggested to remove the left panel from view and just use the search but I get too many hits when I just do a text search.

 

Then I realized that I was NEVER searching for tags. If I remove the left panel, do a great job on tags and tag search first, my results are much better. And this is much faster than scrolling down all my stacks to find the tags in the left panel. I know this seems obvious to most of you, but as a newbie it has taken me quite a few months to figure this out.

 

I would love to hear others share what methods you use to make search in Evernote faster with more precise results.

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I've used Big Data for a long time,  and the first thing I learned was that databases need love.  It doesn't matter what you (or anyone else) designed your database to actually do,  the first thing you will ask of it is something completely different.  Got tags for company, name and job title ?  The first thing you'll actually want is all the companies based in Alabama.  So you go through your list adding a State tag.  OK - how many have less than 50 employees?

 

Data requirements are always changing - so if you want to get your information you must keep on adding to indexes or changing them.  It's like a keen gardener always tidying their flower beds - every time you do a search,  just change the titles / tags / keywords of your note so it's either IN or OUT of important searches.  if you keep on doing that on a regular basis,  sooner or later you can rely on searches turning  up the relevant content.

 

But it does require time and constant effort...

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