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AK7

organization Trying to figure out what Evernote is good for - and what it is BAD for. What is your experience?

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I am a long-time premium user and let me just say from the outset that Evernote is an extremely useful program for storing all kinds of data and planning your life.

 

That said, while there are some things at which there is nothing better, there are other things that other apps and programs (Google Calendar, cloud storage, etc) do better. I'm trying to identify which ones as I try to reorganize and optimize my workflow for the coming year.

 

I will lay out my current thinking below - please argue against (or for!) them.

 

Basic Life Organization

 

Task Planning - The GTD/Secret Weapon system is a brilliant productivity concept and performs very well with Evernote.

 

Calendar - Despite the introduction of reminders, the inexplicable lack of custom note sorting means that something like Google Calendar is still by far the better option for keeping track of specific events. Unless I'm missing something.

 

Diary - Evernote is completely suitable for this.

 

Projects - E.g., writing a book, creating a website, learning a new skill. I have a rather intricate but more or less effective system that works with Evernote. Don't see a major need for change.

 

Storage

 

Documents - Evernote very good for this (paperless, etc). Just create a separate notebook for it and organize via tags.

 

Contacts - In principle good, but very time-consuming to input all the relevant data. But can in principle be very powerful in conjunction with the GTD/Secret Weapon system. It would be awesome if there was an app that allowed you to sync your Google, Facebook, and phone contacts and dump them all into a dedicated Notebook. What I currently do is keep a "profile note" on my ~two dozen most important contacts. (Evernote Hello doesn't quite fulfill these conditions and is bugridden to boot).

 

Book Excerpts - Evernote is great for that. 1) Read e-book; 2) Do highlights; 3) Copy highlights; 4) Transfer to note in relevant notebook; 5) tag, label, etc as appropraite.

 

Articles - Useful/interesting articles that I find on the web. Advantage - Makes them easily searchable, can build up a formidable database of research on the subjects that interest you. Downside - Will eventually come to take up a lot of space and become unwieldy. Also I have some issues with the way Evernote Clipper works (the resulting font of clipped articles is uncomfortable small). I am debating whether to continue using Evernote Clipper --> dedicated Articles notebook on my Evernote, or start converting interesting articles I find on the web into PDFs and keeping them in cloud storage like OneDrive, organized by thematic folders. So far I am leaning towards sticking with Evernote for this.

 

Studies/PDFs - My current project involves having to familiarize myself with and keep track of a substantial number of scientific studies. I have most of them as PDFs and they are thematically organized in a folder on OneDrive. Do I keep them there, or should I make the effort to transfer them over to a dedicated "Studies" notebook on Evernote?

Plus side: Evernote has better search capabilities, easy to transfer PDFs straight from the Internet via the web clipper; and, best of all, you can take notes on those studies right from within the note to which the relevant PDFs are attached to.

Negative side: These studies occupy a fair bit of space (2GB and counting) and transferring them will take up a fair bit of time and be very dull.

For the referencing side of things, the best tool I've found is Zotero.

 

Websites - Presumably, bookmarks. Though I find Chrome's bookmarks to be somewhat buggy (changes don't immediately register and sometimes revert) and not very convenient to use. Is there anything better?

 

Videos (from YouTube, Liveleak, etc) - Downloading them and hosting them on Evernote or cloud storage is of course unrealistic except for a very few exceptions. Again, bookmarks? But problem with bookmarks is that they are quite primitive, with no embedded way to assign tags, ratings, etc.

 

E-Books, Music, Pictures - Far too big to effectively store in Evernote; it's not what it is designed for, after all. Conventional storage on hard drive, I assume...?

 

My Photos - This is a puzzle. It's easy and very convenient to do with cloud storage nowadays because camera phones can automatically sync with OneDrive, Google Drive, etc. On the other hand, they consequently require a fair bit of custom organization (by date, event, etc) to avoid becoming an undecipherable mishmash. I suspect the cloud storage solution is best, but select photos can be exported and used to illustrate the Diary.

 

"Portfolio" - A comprehensive collection of all the work you yourself have done so that it is all on hand in one convenient place (e.g. articles, books/book chapters, video appearances, programs, musical compositions, podcasts, blog posts, artistic pieces, etc).  What's better for this - a folder on cloud storage, or a notebook in Evernote? I am leaning towards cloud storage.

 

Anyhow, please feel free to chime in with your own solutions to these various organizational issues. I am generally interested in finding out how other people do things.

 

PS. As you might guess from the above, I suffer from a bit of a compulsive-obsessive disorder when it comes to organization. I recognize that some people effectively just organize more or less on the fly, in an ad hoc manner. That's fine, of course. But I want to figure out a comprehensive/optimal system in terms of ease (it should be natural to operate, not be a chore), accessibility (can be accessed across multiple devices with access to the Internet), and security (of said data). This is what this post is about.

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Unfortunately, the current state of Evernote (broken search, broken synchronization, data loss) pushes me to find a new storage for almost everything. This would be my organizational goal for 2015. The only field where Evernote is still the best is webclipping. Even if they break it, losing a saved web page is a minor inconvenience, you can almost always re-download it. It's not the same as losing your writing or not being able to retrieve a hotel booking confirmation because of yet another buggy update. 

 

I already moved all my to do lists and various checklist to Gqueues, writing projects to Scrivener, pictures and things to be shared to Google Drive/Dropbox.

 

I still haven't found a replacement for a diary. 

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Unfortunately, the current state of Evernote (broken search, broken synchronization, data loss) pushes me to find a new storage for almost everything. 

 

 

First time I'm hearing about this!

 

My personal impression over the course of this year was that Evernote was actually steadily getting better, more responsive. All I can say is that I didn't notice any data losses or sync problems, I don't actively follow the forums/community, so really disappointing to hear that there might be problems I haven't been noticing.

 

Could you please post a link to some of the relevant complains/discussions with details of these problems?

 

Are there credible plans to resolve them?

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Unfortunately, the current state of Evernote (broken search, broken synchronization, data loss) pushes me to find a new storage for almost everything. 

 

 

First time I'm hearing about this!

 

My personal impression over the course of this year was that Evernote was actually steadily getting better, more responsive. All I can say is that I didn't notice any data losses or sync problems, I don't actively follow the forums/community, so really disappointing to hear that there might be problems I haven't been noticing.

 

Could you please post a link to some of the relevant complains/discussions with details of these problems?

 

Are there credible plans to resolve them?

 

 

Well, if it's the first time you are hearing about this, you probably do not read this forum very often (which is seriously a good thing, for productivity and for mental health). 

Just search: 15700 "does not sync" posts here, 14000 "search problem" ones. The last month's posts at the Penultimate forum (https://discussion.evernote.com/forum/114-penultimate/) are worth reading even if you don't use Penultimate, because it gives you a very good impression of how responsive Evernote is, and how it cares about customers and their data. 

 

My personal experience:

 

synchronization has been broken since June (different number of notes on different devices)

search on Android is broken (can't remember since when)

lost notes and data with Penultimate update and when 6.0.3 Mac update crashed

can't use mac client since Friday evening, because search doesn't work and synchronization never finishes

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Unfortunately, the current state of Evernote (broken search, broken synchronization, data loss) pushes me to find a new storage for almost everything. 

 

 

First time I'm hearing about this!

 

My personal impression over the course of this year was that Evernote was actually steadily getting better, more responsive. All I can say is that I didn't notice any data losses or sync problems, I don't actively follow the forums/community, so really disappointing to hear that there might be problems I haven't been noticing.

 

Could you please post a link to some of the relevant complains/discussions with details of these problems?

 

Are there credible plans to resolve them?

 

 

Here are a couple lengthy posts from several power users.

 

https://discussion.evernote.com/topic/78102-whats-going-on/

 

https://discussion.evernote.com/topic/66103-power-user-discontent-best-alternatives-to-en/

 

 

Are there credible plans to resolve them?

Unfortunately, Evernote is quite tight-lipped when it comes to details in their roadmap.

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