Decluttering my Notes on Evernote

Decluttering my Notes on Evernote

I’ve been using Evernote for almost 10 years now!
And because of a job change I was unable to use the desktop version on my computer so I started looking for alternatives. I tried Evernote Web at the time (this was last year) but the web version was full of bugs and many Evernote’s functionalities weren’t available yet. It was frustrating to try to use the web version.

So I started using Microsoft’s Onenote and I kinda liked it at the beginning. I enjoyed the notebooks structure without tags. And that actually made me realize that my Evernote tagging/notebook system was over complicated!

Recently, with the new web version and the ability that I have now to use the Evernote desktop version on my work computer, I decided to get back to the green elephant.

So a great decluttering began and it’s still ongoing…

My idea is to have a few generic tags and use notebooks for the major structure (just like Onenote). I think it’s easier to just file a note in a dedicated notebook than processing it and choosing tags. Tags can become very messy and out of control! And that’s exactly how my system is now! Totally out of control. So many random tags!

I’ll not use so many tags for references anymore. The search function on Evernote is so good that I don’t need perfectly organized tags.

I have notes that were automatically generated (using IFTTT) of every post I published on Instagram. I’ve deleted my Instagram a while ago already (and I have a backup of the pictures I posted). So I’ll delete a notebook called “Timeline” with 292 notes generated from Instagram in it.

This cleaning process will take a while. I’l handle the big ticket items first (like the Timeline notebook).

Deep inside I think I want a brand new Evernote account. Clean slate. Start again. So, that’s it! Purging mode on! I’ll make Evernote as clean as I can.

I also have some old notes from the time I used Evernote as my GTD system (including To-do lists), and I have notes for each action I had to do and now it’s completely useless. I’ll delete them all.

#evernote #organization #notes

GTD helping me get to inbox Zero on GMail

GTD helping me get to inbox Zero on GMail

For the first time in years I have a true inbox Zero on GMail. I’ve been reorganizing my GTD (Getting Things Done) system and decided I should attack my email habits. I used to keep some important or waiting-for messages using the priority boxes of Gmail. And they were always visible.

Today I set up two new labels to use them as an action list and clear the clutter:

  • @To-answer calmly: For e-mails I have to answer that will take longer than 5 minutes.
  • @Waiting-reply: For those messages I am waiting for a reply so I can track them later.

All the rest gets deleted, clipped to Evernote (if it is something that will require starting a project or some action outside Gmail) or archived under one of my reference labels on Gmail. I sometimes clip to Evernote messages that I want to keep as References and that can be linked to any of my ongoing projects (support for projects).

I was inspired by the GTD Evernote for Windows setup guide by David Allen Company, 2017 edition. The guide gives two options:

  1. Use the e-mail as the reminder: This is my choice, meaning that the e-mail is also an action bucket that has to be checked regularly and acted upon.
  2. Use next action notebooks in Evernote or the calendar as the action reminder: This option only keeps the e-mail as a reference folder, and all the required action are registered into your next action folders.

And I even changed my Gmail theme to celebrate! I’ve always used the classic theme with no images. Now I have a reason to keep my inbox zero: I want to see the beautiful landscape with nothing over it!

Immediate outcomes:

  • I no longer re-process and think over the same e-mail message more than once. When I had read messages lying around in my inbox I used to open them again to see what they were about and got a bit lost inside the mess.
  • I no longer let e-mails pile up. I keep it clean and tidy!
  • I check my Inbox less. I am not a person that works all the time with e-mail, so I can have the luxury to check my e-mail only a few times a day. Before this change, I compulsively checked my Inbox waiting for some news, kinda like what we do scrolling down social media. This compulsive behavior disappeared!

So, I encourage everyone to test some kind of Inbox Zero strategy to see it if works for you! I’ve never truly implemented it because I thought I didn’t need it!

What did you think? If you liked this post, please recommend it!