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Simple question about using Evernote

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I've read quite a bit about EN.  Even bought and read an EN book.  But I still have a very fundamental question.  In EN, should I abandon hierarchical organization all together and just just tags to file and locate everything?  It seems EN is not well designed for hierarchical organization.  

 

I'm fine with that and don't mind having one huge NB where I stuff everything and use Tags to find items later.  But is this the most common approach?  

 

 

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No, Evernote is really not designed for hierarchical organization. You can force some onto it but, in my observation, it never really works well. 

 

One of the neat things about Evernote is it's flexibility. I'm a big fan of tags and searches. Other people here rely more on specific titling schemes and searches. Look for posts by Grumpy Monkey and see the links in his signature. He has some great suggestions to get you started. 

 

You will probably get as many different answers as you get people who answer, by the way!  :) 

 

Best of luck. 

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I think you are on the right track. Here are a few basic points I follow with Evernote.

Notebooks: I keep just a few and use them for broad subjects - Job, Home, Leisure, Finance, Miscellaneous

Notes: Many small and incremental notes vs a few big conglomerates.

Tags: Very specific, for instance - not just a company, but the actual name of the company. I use a fake 2-level hierachical tag structure. http://discussion.evernote.com/topic/50676-feature-suggestion-option-for-nested-tags-to-filter-by-parent-tag/#entry251605

Titles: The "Intitle:: search is very powerful. My titles have a date prefix followed by structured info. I use the following sequence

YYYYMMDD State City Subject People
20140111 MN St Paul Sportsmen's Show JLB DLB

 

Stacks: I don't bother using them.

Notebook Sharing: I stopped sharing notebooks from others due to the problems caused by Evernote mixing other tag-naming conventions with mine.

Note Sharing: I also stopped sharing individual notes with others due to the pop-up advertising nag screen that Evernote now uses (for people who don't have Evernote on their computer).
 

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I've read quite a bit about EN.  Even bought and read an EN book.  But I still have a very fundamental question.  In EN, should I abandon hierarchical organization all together and just just tags to file and locate everything?  It seems EN is not well designed for hierarchical organization.  

 

I'm fine with that and don't mind having one huge NB where I stuff everything and use Tags to find items later.  But is this the most common approach?

As a general rule, I use notebooks sparingly. There are certain scenarios where you must use notebooks: to share groups of notes, to maintain local unsynced notes on a desktop client (local notebooks), and to be able to ensure availability of groups of notes on a mobile client when you're offline (offline notebooks; this is a premium feature). STacks are useful for doing selective notebook searches (since you can only search by one notebook, all notebooks, or one stack); I also use them for grouping related notebooks in a share situation (like the notebooks that I share between my personal account and my work account).

I can't speak to any most common approach; this is one that works well for me.

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I'm another one(ish) notebook type - I do have structured titles and only when an intitle: search fails (with no hits,  or way too many hits) do I change titles or add tags to help.  I have nearly 16,000 notes and 99.9% are in one notebook. I do create lots of temporary notebooks for individual projects and interests,  but once I'm happy with the content I'll title or tag the notes consistently and dump them back in gen pop.

 

My four golden rules are

  1. Start slow so you can see how things develop (and don't create too many notes all at once)
  2. Be prepared to change how you work,  probably more than once,  until you find a system that you're happy with.  
    (Evernote is flexible enough that you can go back and easily change stacks/ notebooks/ tags / titles as many times as necessary)
  3. Once you find something that works,  stick with it unless there's a HUGELY important reason to change
  4. Ignore everyone else's 'howto' advice (including mine!) concentrate on finding out what works for you!!
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The only time I use Notebooks now is when I might have to share a notebook with others, For example, I have all the checklists, documents, etc. for a non-profit association I volunteer with in one notebook so I can give it to others if I am no longer on the board. But I no longer create a notebook for each of my clients, instead I have one General Client notebook and keep them all in there and just tag each note with the client name.

 

So you are on the right track to use notebooks sparingly and embrace tagging. Took me a year of resisting to finally get it so you are faster than me!

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Thanks so much for the detailed responses.  VERY helpful and I'm much clearer now.  Over 30 years ago, when I was still filing physical documents in a hierarchical old school filing system, I could never find anything.  So I started assigned each document a sequential number and filing everything by number.  I used a spreadsheet with "tags" assigned to each document's number to locate stuff.  Worked perfectly.  So, it sounds like EN will work very well for me.

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