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Raeve

Need notebook strategy ideas

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Hi,

I'm a somewhat new Evernote user and started using it because of a desire to have a paperless household. Over and over the recommendations for going paperless almost always included Evernote in some part of their workflow.

As the time has passed, I'm realizing that my current notebook setup is not tenable for the the future (or now really). I don't have tons of notebooks but just enough to be unwieldy. And, the names are too complex in an effort to be broad enough to cover what I hoped to. But it's a mess & getting worse with each day as more information gets added. I've stepped back on scanning till I can get a handle on this so that the problem doesn't get any worse. For specifics, I probably have 25 notebooks, give or take, no stacks, lots of tags.

I feel like I need a little more organization than just a couple of notebooks. I just have some documents that I'd rather not get mixed up with every single website or article saved, interesting shopping products, gift ideas, or sentimental stuff. Conversely, I don't mind if a lot of those things are together, minus the sentimental stuff.

In addition, my husband and I both use the account since it's our family paperless solution. I'm using it way more than he is due to familiarity & me being more of the techie in our family. So, I should also give him a separate notebook.

I hope to start doing some blogging this year, just for my own sanity & don't know how to treat stuff like that. I also have sort of a huge mess call health which has a bunch of stuff from Healthcare to research/learning since I'm dealing with a rare genetic disorder. I don't know if records, bills etc should be split off from the articles or if they should stay as is. I wonder if receipts should have their own notebook (current setup does) but then should I expand that to purchases and have product warranties, manuals and other information all in the same notebook. Then I wonder I bills & receipts should go together but that doesn't seem to mesh somehow.

I've found a few people on blogs who post their general notebook setup & it's helpful for ideas. Several said that, like me, they found they needed to make changes in their notebook setup from when they started. I emailed a couple of people who had said they'd be happy to help with such things but no response. So I decided I'd turn to the Evernote community for ideas.

I'm actually embarrassed to write this. I know I should be able to figure this out but I just can't get my head around it. Trying to figure out what works both now and looking into the future is do complex.

Any thoughts you could give me, whether a way to get my head around this,sharing some of your setup or any ideas or advice would be amazingly helpful. I'm really looking forward to hearing your thoughts.

Thanks so much.

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Hi Raeve,

Welcome to the Forum!

I a few suggestions for you, but unfortunately don't have much time at the moment. I will get back to you in the next 24 or so hours.

This is a much discussed topic on the Forum, so in the meantime, I would suggest doing some Forum Searches using Key words and phrases such as the following:

* Organization -or- Organizing Evernote

* Notebooks versus Tags (or use "vs")

* Tags -and- Tagging

* Going Paperless

* The Benefits of Tagging - (NOTE: There's actually a long, pinned post by that name in the General area of the forum. It's several pages long, but if you skim though you should be able find actual user examples from forum members where they explain how they organize their Evernote databases, that you might find helpful in adjusting your own database management. Some don't use Tags and some don't. Some have several Notebooks while others has a little as one.)

* You might also want to try Searches using Key words and phrases that make sense to you.

Another quick suggestions I have is to try running some Google and YouTube Searches using the same or similar Key words and Phrases listed above.

By the time I can get back to your with some concrete ideas, there's a good chance several other forum members will have chimed in with some great ideas of their own.

Good luck! ☺

Hi,

I'm a somewhat new Evernote user and started using it because of a desire to have a paperless household. Over and over the recommendations for going paperless almost always included Evernote in some part of their workflow.

As the time has passed, I'm realizing that my current notebook setup is not tenable for the the future (or now really). I don't have tons of notebooks but just enough to be unwieldy. And, the names are too complex in an effort to be broad enough to cover what I hoped to. But it's a mess & getting worse with each day as more information gets added. I've stepped back on scanning till I can get a handle on this so that the problem doesn't get any worse. For specifics, I probably have 25 notebooks, give or take, no stacks, lots of tags.

I feel like I need a little more organization than just a couple of notebooks. I just have some documents that I'd rather not get mixed up with every single website or article saved, interesting shopping products, gift ideas, or sentimental stuff. Conversely, I don't mind if a lot of those things are together, minus the sentimental stuff.

In addition, my husband and I both use the account since it's our family paperless solution. I'm using it way more than he is due to familiarity & me being more of the techie in our family. So, I should also give him a separate notebook.

I hope to start doing some blogging this year, just for my own sanity & don't know how to treat stuff like that. I also have sort of a huge mess call health which has a bunch of stuff from Healthcare to research/learning since I'm dealing with a rare genetic disorder. I don't know if records, bills etc should be split off from the articles or if they should stay as is. I wonder if receipts should have their own notebook (current setup does) but then should I expand that to purchases and have product warranties, manuals and other information all in the same notebook. Then I wonder I bills & receipts should go together but that doesn't seem to mesh somehow.

I've found a few people on blogs who post their general notebook setup & it's helpful for ideas. Several said that, like me, they found they needed to make changes in their notebook setup from when they started. I emailed a couple of people who had said they'd be happy to help with such things but no response. So I decided I'd turn to the Evernote community for ideas.

I'm actually embarrassed to write this. I know I should be able to figure this out but I just can't get my head around it. Trying to figure out what works both now and looking into the future is do complex.

Any thoughts you could give me, whether a way to get my head around this,sharing some of your setup or any ideas or advice would be amazingly helpful. I'm really looking forward to hearing your thoughts.

Thanks so much.

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do the right thing, go with tags :)

 

http://michaelhyatt.com/evernote-tags.html 

 

 

on this forum (as i did) you will find a lot of example and best practice searching for "hierarchical tag"

 

best,

giovanni

 

 

The right thing is relative  ;)

 

I need to have a lot of notebooks because I tinker and share those notebooks... plus I rely on iOS half the time... and import folders... the list goes on.

 

Go with what's a good fit to you. Personally I use a healthy dose of notebooks and tags to simplify my life. It is good to know and understand your options, though.

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Hi Raeve - judging by the response so far,  you might find there's such a thing as too much help!

 

I went through the sort of iteration you're experiencing a couple of times,   and one thing you might find helpful is the tagging system.  Unlike notes and notebooks,  tags can be set up in an infinitely deep (well,  pretty deep, anyway) parent/ child tree.  You might find it helpful to tag your notes and then assemble those tags into groups,  so that eventually you'll have an infinite series of 'virtual' notebooks where (forinstance) a note comes up in several different collections of notes because of its attached tags.

 

You won't ever lose any information,  and the search feature will always help you find anything,  though it may take a bit of ingenuity to work out what choice of unique words will turn up all your treatment receipts,  or your insurance details.  If you find it's a struggle to find the notes you want - save the search so you can do it quicker next time,  or tag the current search results so they're one click away in future!

 

Feel free to add any more detailed questions here - we're all happy to chip in with advice...  :)

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@Raeve,

 

My two cents, and I will try and be specific.  

 

My emphasis is on finding things not storing them.  As such I am a notebook minimalist.  I have 4 synced notebooks that are in a stack: 1- my default notebook which acts as a clearing house (INBOX), 2- my main notebook, and 3/4- two notebooks I share with my wife, basically receipts and stuff that I scan that is hers, like car maintenance records.  She has her own EN account.  I have four local notebooks that are in a stack: 1- an import notebook for scans, 2- my main personal notebook, and 3/4- two notebooks related to statements and legal papers.  Anything I don't want on the web ends up in a local notebook.  Inbox  and Scans are clearing house notebooks so are mostly empty.

 

I use tags as my organizational tool  I use nested tags as well.  For example I have a tag called Accounts and under that tag are all the entitles with whom  I do business.  The Accounts tag is not applied to any notes.  I try to use as few tags as possible per note.  Others would recommend keywords in titles as opposed to tags, I just like tags better.

 

I find that the power of EN is in its search capability.  Fewer notebooks force a broader search context.  My basic search contexts are All Notes, either of the stacks, or my main notebook.  Occasionally I will use another specific notebook as a search context, Receipts for example, but not often.  Tag searches enable me to quickly get to the set of notes that contain what I am seeking.  So if I can get to a set of less than 25 notes with some combination of tags and text in a search, I am good. 

 

This method doesn't work for everyone, for sure.  It isn't hierarchical in nature which gives some angst.  As I approach 29k notes I am still amazed that I can find things so quickly.  FWIW.

 

Hopefully you will get some ideas out of this thread that will lead you to the method that works well for you.  Good luck.

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As the time has passed, I'm realizing that my current notebook setup is not tenable for the the future (or now really). 

. . .

I feel like I need a little more organization than just a couple of notebooks. I just have some documents that I'd rather not get mixed up with every single website or article saved, interesting shopping products, gift ideas, or sentimental stuff. Conversely, I don't mind if a lot of those things are together, minus the sentimental stuff.

. . .

Any thoughts you could give me, whether a way to get my head around this,sharing some of your setup or any ideas or advice would be amazingly helpful. I'm really looking forward to hearing your thoughts.

Thanks so much.

 

There has been much written about this subject.  In particular there are some lengthy, well-thought-out blogs available.

I'd suggest that you do a google search on "evernote organization" to see a broad variety of topics, from within this forum, Evernote blogs, and independent blogs.

 

Here's a few that I have found helpful:

(no particular order)

Good luck, and please feel free to post any follow-up questions.

Of course, as always, Google is your friend!

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Thanks so much for all of your replies. Rather than finding it too much, I've found it very helpful, even in the divergence of ideas. It's helping me see that there isn't a right way or wrong way, just what works best for any given user. And I'm seeing that is part of the genius of Evernote.

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I guess it seems like I should have been able to find the info in web searches but after trying for weeks, I found very little. However, the information you provided and some of the search suggestions are great as I clearly wasn't finding what needed.

The other thing that this has helped me to see is that I should just start moving towards something different. Being completely stuck with a layout that isn't working isn't getting me nearer something that will. I'm also getting a good perspective that there's a fair chance my workflow/layout may change again in the future and adapt to wherever I need. I'm trying to embrace the fluidity of that rather than wanting a perfect fit initially and trying to get that by guessing what I'll need in the future.

If there are any other specifics that anyone wants to share, I'd love to hear. I'm trying to soak in as much as I can.

Thanks again for all your help.

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I started off on a predominantly notebook-based system. Small beginnings. Manageable. The more I clipped to Evernote and the more I diversified, the more cluttered things got. Since I have a lot of shared notebooks and use many features that require the use of notebooks, it was not possible for me to move over to a fully tag-based, nested hierarchy.

 

This is what I need at least broad notebook categories for:

 

  • Public (published) notebooks, including TV series subtitle databases for searching the dialogue within entire TV series:
  • Import folders on Windows desktop
  • Offline notebooks on my iPhone and iPad
  • A few local notebooks on desktop
  • I use a number of 3rd party apps/ services that automatically create and use their own notebooks (or else are pointed toward notebooks) as part and parcel of the sync setup. Here are a few I have used:

    • vJournal (Creates a "My Journal" stack)
    • IFTTT (Now IF)
    • Penultimate
    • Bamboo
    • Gneo (A dedicated stack with notebooks to mirror the app setup)
    • Swipes (pointed to notebooks of your choice)
    • Evernote Sticky Notes: http://hosting.edo-s...om/stickynotes/
  • Most of my notebooks are for tinkering (exploring all possibilities) and blogging about my Evernote tinkering, which requires notebooks. A couple of examples:
  • The new iOS web clipper for Safari does not yet include a tagging option, which would necessitate later sorting 
  • iOS does not currently display nested tag hierarchies created on desktop
  • Although one can filter for tags and have notes with certain tags (and reminders) show in the Reminders List, it does not sort according to tag sections, but rather according to notebook sections, which it displays together. It really depends on the task-management system you might be tinkering with in Evernote.

 

Having given you a long list of why I need notebooks, I must explain that my system is a hybrid of nested tags and notebooks. I use a hierarchy of tags within specific notebooks. For example:

 

  • I have an Evernote stack, which includes a number of notebooks on Evernote related categories
  • Within those categories I have used a number of tags to
    • Cut down on the number of notebooks I'm using
    • Use the fairly recent and brilliant tag filtering feature in the Note List on Desktop (Mac and Windows)
  • What I do is mirror the same stack/notebook setup in my tag list like so:

Evernote%20hierarchy%20tags.PNG?dl=1

 

I prefix the mirrored notebooks and stacks (which are simply placeholder tags) with horizontal lines and a vertical ellipsis (unicode symbols)

  • For visual effect and easier identification
  • These prefixes prevent the easy filtering of placeholder tags (or tagging therewith), which might otherwise lead to confusion

Whereas a notebook is as deep as my stack/ notebook hierarchy in the notebook list goes, from the mirrored notebook tag in the tag list, you can go as deep as you want with your tagging. In some cases I only go a max of 3 tags deeper beyond my mirrored notebook placeholder tags. In the above example you'll see that under the "Evernote Media" placeholder tag I only go 1 tag deeper.

 

Now... in the Note list on desktop, when I am in a particular notebook context, I am able to filter for any tags that may be associated with that list of notes:

 

 

tagging.PNG?dl=1

 

In this isolated case, I have "saved"/ consolidated at least 4 extra notebooks (I've cut down on at least 30 notebooks across the 5 Evernote-related notebooks by employing tagging), plus I get to use this cool feature in the Note List. Also, one can tag your clippings directly in the Web clipper at the time of clipping. I could have chosen to consolidate the 5 Evernote-related notebooks into one and tagged accordingly to go 2 tag levels deep. I may do that in the future... it's a really quick process.

 

Finally, just to explain the differentiation in my tag list of "Electron Tags" vs "Stacks", the "Stacks" part is obvious: Mirrored stacks.

 

With my "Electron" tags... (I couldn't find a more creative denomination :P )... an electron has the ability to appear in 2 places at the same time. Basically, my "Electron Tags" hierarchy consists of a list of tags that creates a context for notes that are "housed" across different notebooks. So a particular note might show up both under a mirrored notebook tag or in a more organic/ independent tag context, nested under the "Electron Tags" section.

 

This might seem like a convoluted process, and most likely will only make sense to me... but the thing is that it works quite nicely for me. In addition, I am able to modify it by consolidating notebooks and further diversifying/ deepening my tag structure rather easily. So it's flexible and open to restructuring as I start changing the way I see things. 

 

* If I did not make at least minimal use of notebooks for broad categories along with tagging, I'd have to remember to tag each note with at the very least 2 tags. One for a broader category and at least another for more specific/ focused categories... because, although one can stack/ nest tags in the note list on a number of the clients, this does not necessarily mean that by clicking on a parent tag, one would automatically be able to search the "children" tags nested thereunder. In fact, only if one had tagged all notes contained in the children tags with each of the parent tags up the "ancestry hierarchy". That's why a notebook and tagging hybrid works well for me. 

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Oh hey, I did make it back to your thread, Raeve. But I see the gents have already offered up all the ideas I had. And then some...

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I'm a tag proponent. The benefits to finding your stuff using tags is that you can put the notes in various notebooks for sharing or publishing needs without having to change how YOU find things. The tags float above whatever notebook structure you're using at the time. I think part of the key of the tag structure is not using too many -- use just enough to narrow the topics down to manageable chunks. It'll make it easier to remember what tags you have and make the processing step much faster!

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... without having to change how YOU find things. The tags float above whatever notebook structure you're using at the time...

 

Brilliant little piece of logic! Had to clip it  :)

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... without having to change how YOU find things. The tags float above whatever notebook structure you're using at the time...

 

Brilliant little piece of logic! Had to clip it  :)

 

 

Aw shucks! Needless to say, I found this out the hard way because my coworkers are major notebook users. We came to an agreement that we'll share/stick notes in whatever notebooks they want as long as I get to tag how I want ;) We all are happy with the solution!

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