I'm a big fan of Evernote. For those not familiar with Evernote is a cloud service with a number of applications for almost any device (iPhone / iPad, Android, BlackBarry, Windows, Mac, Web App ...) to create and organize your notes. A note can be our written, a web clipping, a photo, audio and much more. The notes are synchronized across all our devices over the internet so as to be able to take a note with the Android smartphone, review it on the iPad and finally correct it on PC / MAC.
Evernote, especially in the desktop versions, has an excellent search engine, allows to divide the notes into virtual notebooks and allows you to assign to each note one or more tags quickly. The combination of these three tools (search, Notebooks and tags) make fast organizing, searching and finding notes even with many of it.
Refer to the official website for more information.
Anyone using many this software will find the question: Tag or Notebooks?
Tag and Notebooks although dissimilar in appearance can be overlap in functionality and could be used in many cases indifferently one or other, this means you can have two different cataloging systems, creating a bit of confusion and lead one to ask: wich is the best?
To give my own answer to this question I tried to forget how I used and how I wanted to use Evernote, I did an analysis of the main features of these two tools, and from this analysis I tried to build a new ideal workflow.
Notebooks:A notebook can have only one level of nesting, the father notebook is not a true notebook, can't hold notes but inherits all the contents of the children notebooks, so you can see all the notes from these while you select.
Can be selected one Notebook at a time.
The notebooks can be public.
The notebooks can be synchronized or local (offline), this is not synchronized with the web between the various devices.
There must be a notebook at least, and if there are more than one there must be a default Notebook.
A note can reside in one notebook at a time.
Tags:Tags can have "infinity" number of nesting, selected father tag don't meaning select all notes with children tag but only the notes with father tag.
Tags can be selected more than one simultaneously and show the intersection or the sum of the notes.
In searches the tag can be be used to include or exclude notes
In searches the tags may be be selected before or after insertion of the search terms more easily than notebooks.
A note can have multiple tags assigned.
We see that there are some functional differences between tags and notebooks, is from these that I have organized my personal way of working.
I took advantage of the unique features of notebooks (Public, Local, and Unique source for note) and delegate to "Tag" the work of the notes grading.
I set up a notebook called "Inbox" as the Main, are put in this all new notes before they are classified irrespective of their origin (Mobile, Web Clips, PC or MAC) and whatever their function.
I set a stack of notebooks (a notebook father) named "Action" where I put 6 children notebooks ( I implemented here a simplified GTD workfloow ):
- Next Action
- To do
- Waiting for
- Done (notebook off line)
In these notebooks i putting only those notes that require one or more actions to be completed, so I can move a note from a notebook to another with the security of having a single type of action associated with that note.
The title of each note contained in these notebooks, with the exception of the notes in "Someday" and "Scheduled", begins with a number ranging from 1 to 9 as a priority index so you can view the notes in that order easily.
Compared to the classic GTD notebook I've added a "Scheduled" where are those notes regarding events planned and incorporated into a calendar (in my case Gcal) associated with a reminder. The Notebook "Done" is a notebook off line so I don't bring the list of activities completed on mobile devices.
I have created a notebook called resources where I'm putting all the notes that are not actions.
I set a stack of off-line notebooks that serve as archive, one for each year where they reside old notes, unimportant or very big. In this way synchronization with the mobile device is faster and easier to use.
The tags serve as a system of organizing the notes , primarily I created 4 major Tags:
- Assigned to:
The "Highlights" Tag is assigned at notes that I'm tired of searched and that I want on hand.
Under the tag "Assigned to" I put the name of persons that was delegated to make an action that is in the notebook "Waiting for".
Under the tag "Projects:" There are two tags: "Personal" and "Work" and below these there are a number of projects and subprojects. Every note that identifies an action must have one of the tag "Personal" and "Work" and possibly one or more tags of projects.
The tags under "Resources" are constantly changing and in variable order, there are a number of tags and sub-tags that serve to try to organize and classify the notes. In Evernote It is very easy reorder and change the organization of Tag so to adapt dynamically to the new needs.
These are the tags that I using more:
- Report; Tags added to all those notes which are documents written by me.
- Idea; which identifies those notes that contain a seed to develop or a project not yet defined.
- Bookmark; all those notes that contain a link to a web page
Bottom lineNotebooks or Tags?
Both. In my personal workflow I used both for its specific function in order to exploit them as much as possible.