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3 Ways to Simplify Your Evernote Experience

Evernote is simply one of the best tools you can access

Evernote—one of the most useful personal organization tools I have ever seen–can become a messy closet real quick if you let it. The good news is there’s an easy fix.

Evernote right out of the box is pure potential. To activate that potential, you have to organize it. Just define a simplified structure and stick to it. Here’s how:

1. Define a “Stack” for Each Area of Your Life

However, don’t use more than five or six stacks. That’s not a lot, so they’ll have to be pretty broad—like Business, Side Business, Family, Activities, and Old Notes. That last one is for notes you might want again someday, but not anytime soon.

As for Activities, this is where you create ideas, to-do lists, and goals. Brainstorm. Let your mind stay open. Then move the essential tasks and projects to systems like Asana or Slack–we’ll cover them in subsequent posts. The point is you shouldn’t put your entire project management system in Evernote, but this is a great place to do the first stages of planning.

2. Combine Notebooks Wherever Possible

A common issue with Evernote users is having too many notebooks. If you use a new notebook for everything, pretty soon you’ll have thousands of them and complete confusion. Instead, combine thematically related topics into a single notebook and use notes and tags to keep the topics organized.

3. Fewer Notes, More Tags

Evernote Premium has a robust search function. Use it. Use tags and keywords to make those searches easier. It’s okay to have long notes. There is a “line separator” that is ideal for keeping thoughts and dates in the same note distinct.

How to Get There from Here

Evernote is a database. To be useful, a database 1) has to have data in it, 2) the data needs to be worth having, and 3) the data has to be easy to retrieve. A clear, simple structure will do that for you.

Next time you go on vacation, pick a destination at least three hours away and don’t drive (fly). Bring your laptop with Evernote on it and get organizing. By the time you arrive, you’ll be done and you can enjoy your vacation. That’s what I did, and it worked. From there, just stick to your system, clean it up from time to time, and Evernote will keep you organized and productive.

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3 Key Points:

1) Use less stacks

2) Combine notebooks

3) Fewer notes, more tags


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