Organising my content in Evernote
How do you organise your Evernote content? My notebook structure grew organically until it took too much time to find where to put some notes. It then underwent a couple of revisions but they were not totally satisfying. So I decided to sit down and think about it.What's in there?
The first question I asked myself was: what do I use Evernote for? I don't have any analytics on my usage (will it ever be a feature, +Evernote
?) so I went by notes content and gut feeling.
I do not
keep in my Evernote:
- stuff that is unfinished (like a draft/I use Gdrive)
- stuff that is created with sharing in mind (I use Gdrive)
- stuff that has a short life (like a shopping list/I use Wunderlist)
- stuff that I want to read later (I use Pocket)
- stuff that I want to follow (like a blog or a project/I use Feedly, Twitter)
I do keep in my Evernote:
- stuff I save because I might need it in the future (great comments, design inspiration, administrative documents)
- stuff I have to consult regularly (mainly personal project resources).
- stuff I track (lists that I update every so often like my to-read list)
- stuff I archive for archiving purpose (like my writings and work docs)
So I went and reorganized my notebook structure with these categories. But quickly I had to solve another issue: what name should be used as a tag vs a notebook ?Tags vs Notebooks
In the grand scheme of things, it does not matter much, with the powerful search of Evernote. But I'm kind of OCD about the organisation of my digital life, so I had to think about an optimal schema that would avoid overlapping in tag and notebook names.
After some reflection, here is what I settled on:
- Tags are the base indexation layer (n) and answer the question "what is it?" They are descriptive and accurate.
- Notebooks are a higher level indexation layer (n+1) designed for action. They answer the question "what do I do with it". Their names designate the themes notes fall into.
For example, I merged the notebooks "Interesting comments" and "Interesting articles" into "Favorites", and added the tags "comment" and "article". The tag describes the content accurately, whereas the notebook is named after the need (save the best of the web).
Below you can see the final version of the mindmap I used during this process: in grey the archives, in green the the resources for future reference, in purple the lists I keep track of, in red the projects and hobbies. Hopefully this organisation is future-proof.