One system everywhere
I have been using Evernote on an almost daily basis for the last couple of years.
I have mainly been using it with the extraordinarily useful Evernote Clipper to grab potentially useful material from the web and store it in an ordered form. Clipper reformats pages and strips away all the extraneous navigation bars and advertisements, leaving a page that is laid out like an essay. Last week I went through a number of notebooks trawling for material for the next part of my thesis, and I realised that my organisational systems had been slowly drifting apart.
I went through my Dropbox account, my Evernote account, and my Outlook/Pocket Informant system, and brought them all into line with each other. They all now have the same top level folder/stack/tag arrangement. Dropbox and Evernote now also have the same second level folder/notebook arrangement. This has had two consequences. Firstly, I have had to move a load of files and folders around to get this new system to work, and in the course of this I uncovered a treasure trove of material that I thought I had lost. This therefore proved to be a very effective method of trawling, and I have the material that I was looking for and much mopre besides. Secondly, I now have one system everywhere, which means that in future I will only have to decide how to file something (as a file or in a notebook): where to file it, which folder to put it in, is now very simple because the folder structure is more or less universal.
There are only two stacks that still are outside the core system. All Aboard is a stack that holds any notebooks that people have shared to me, and also one notebook that I use to share a few things publicly. My Journal is the stack that is created automatically by Journal for Evernote, which I describe below.
There has also been a third consequence. I decided that my use of Evernote has been quite passive, and that I should explore some more active uses. I downloaded a free version of Journal for Evernote and started keeping a daily journal. If I keep it up, which I may not, it will contain random thoughts and instant reactions, as well as on-th-spot notes from courses and classes: the kinds of things that otherwise get forgotten.
I also downloaded Evernote Hello onto my phone, and tested it out with Auo, Jutta and Johnny. Again this may or may not prove useful. If I actually use it (and I didn’t in today’s team meeting) then I will amass a lot of name/face combinations that will inevitably prove useful at some time.