How to organize Evernote is an important part of how to remember everything in your digital life. After all, if you are going to send all your business documents, clipped websites, favorite quotes, pdf’s, inspirational pictures, favorite songs, kids artwork, and digital memories for quick recall inside Evernote, you need to have a good organizational system to find it all.
Here’s how to Organize Evernote to retrieve everything quickly:
Evernote Notebooks vs. Tags
Are for important parts of your life. Each person in your immediate family, a school, a business, current projects, a career search or a blog. Think of Evernote notebooks, as the verticals in your life.
What you do not want is too many notebooks. Notebooks become difficult to scroll and hard to make sense of once you get above 30 notebooks. You should maintain the practice of keeping your notebooks in Evernote for active projects or ongoing endeavors.
An example of Evernote notebooks might be: current business Ideas, medical, bills, Julie, school course work, your business, Inc., blog, travel, etc… Any interest or business you are actively researching, exploring or participating in should be considered for a notebook. Notebooks should have 20 notes or more to qualify.
Multiple notebooks in the same category can be grouped together, called an Evernote Notebook Stack. Drag one notebook onto another and a stack will automatically be created. This is helpful if you have more than 1 blog, a few kids, etc…
Example: Julie, Chris, James = Family Stack and each have their own notebook. Blog 1, Blog 2 = Blog Stack. Running a business and you are responsible for the finances and marketing? That would be 2 notebooks. Drag one on top of the other to create the company stack.
What you want to avoid is a notebook for each class you are taking each semester, it is not necessary. There are better ways to organize your data to maximize Evernote’s productivity.
If you find a notebook is no longer active, you discontinue a blog or the trip to Italy has passed, tag (more on tags in the next section) every note in that notebook and move it to your main notebook. Now delete that notebook as it has now become cumbersome and inefficient to remain in the notebook list.
Keep in mind Evernote limits the number of notebooks any account can create to 200 at a time. Once you are fully committed to Evernote as a tool, several thousand notes are just the beginning. Over committing to too many notebooks will quickly limit your options.
Are like manilla folders. Clicking on a tag in Evernote is similar to opening a manilla folder. Inside is everything you tagged or “put inside that folder.” Put it another way, tags are granular segmentation of topics. You can never have enough tags. I encourage you to tag frequently for 4 reasons:
- You can search by tags. You can search by multiple tags.
- Once you have over 1,000 Evernote notes you will begin to forget some of what you have saved, though you know you saved it to Evernote. While Evernote has an amazing search engine, you can not search for something if you can not remember what you are looking for. If you use Evernote tags extensively, you can scroll through the tags list in Evernote much quicker and find more meaning than you can in 1,000 note titles. You will find what you are looking for this way.
- Tags can create very specific filing systems.
- There is no limit to the number of tags you can create.
A tag can be a year, month or day (some people use this method exclusively.)
A tag can be a file # for a business (I have done this and it works great). #1234
A Tag can be the year. Some pundits will argue it is not necessary since you can search a note by the year a note is created or updated. Again, you may not remember. Tagging a note with the year ensures the date will not change. Keep in mind, if you make a change to a note, the update date changes and will alter your search. Tagging with a year will prevent note alteration from impacting results. Further, if I have a client interaction in 2012 & 2013, I can tag it with both years.
Evernote Tags can be for people, places, things, topics, teams, it is endless. Tags can duplicate names of notebooks. They can replace notebooks, and they should.
As I mentioned, if a notebook is dormant for more than 3 months, highlight the notes in the notebook, give them tags of the same name as the notebook they are replacing and move the notes to your main notebook. Now delete the dormant notebook. You will still be able to see all the notes from the deleted notebook together by the tag you just created and free up valuable notebook space.
The most important tag in Evernote: “++”. The ++ tag is for the most significant notes you need to access frequently. Drag this tag to the top of the sidebar in the Evernote Application for quick access to what’s of note to you. On the tags list, you will see ++ as the first tag in your list. You can add a ++ to other relevant tags like ++ jobs or ++ ventures, etc… You can change which notes require the ++ distinction as you see fit.Final Analysis: Evernote notebooks are for the verticals in your life and you want to keep them to a minimum. Tag, Tag, Tag to maximize Evernote’s usefulness. Tags are for granular segmentation of topics.