Organizing Evernote: for the obsessive freaks like me

Evernote has been an invaluable tool to help me organize my life. It allows me to mind-vomit my thoughts, inspiration, lists, questions, work and more so that I can get everything out of my head.

I wrote this post explaining that process on using Evernote to help you destress, hone your focus and begin creating the best work of your life. But I wanted to go a bit further in unveiling my personal processes to help y'all understand just how customizable you can get and hopefully inspire y'all to have fun creating your own system.

Here's how I have organized my Evernote:

To quickly review the different organizational tools within Evernote:

Stack: A collection of Notebooks.
Notebook: A collection of Notes.
Tag: A label for Notes.


Stacks

I don't use stacks anymore. I used to, but have since found a system that works better for me that doesn't require many Notebooks.

Practical Takeaway: Don't over-invest in creating/organizing Notebooks. They can only be nested one layer deep.


Notebooks

I have two Notebooks, "Inbox" and "Catalogue". The two function exactly how they sound.

Inbox: This is my default Notebook where all notes originate. It's a holding pen of sorts.
Catalogue: This is my filing cabinet where I put Notes that I want to keep. In order to make it from the Inbox to the Catalogue, the Notes must have a proper title and appropriate Tags.

Practical Takeaway: Create at least one default Notebook to act as an Inbox so that you have a place for Notes to live before getting proper attention.

 

Tags

Once in the Catalogue, my notes are organized by Tags. In my system, Tags do the heavy lifting as far as organization goes. Because Tags can be nested several layers deep, they have more versatility than Stacks/Notebooks.

I have my Tags organized in a hierarchical fashion that is divided by major category. You'll notice that each of the category tags have a period in front of them. This is simply to keep them distinguished as category tags and also the period pulls them to the top of any alphabetical list.

The .category Tags do not have any notes associated with them - they are purely for categorical purposes. 

Nested within these .category Tags, I have subtags. The subtags are generally related to a specific project or topic within the .category.

If a subtag has deeper layers such as this blog, the nested Tags begin with the acronym of the subtag so that I can quickly denote and access those project-specific Tags.

Practical Takeaway: Keep your Tags neat and organized. Create nested Tags by dragging the "child" tag on top of the "parent" tag.

Notes

Notes are the individual units of information within Evernote. They contain your content whether that be documents, images, text etc. Because these are the pieces of information that we are creating, editing, organizing and accessing, I have made it a rule that every Note I file in my Catalogue Notebook must have at least one Tag. This way, if I don't see a Tag that appropriately labels the new Note, I know that it is time to create a new Tag, effectively keeping my personal system up to date.

The great part about Notes are that they can have multiple Tags allowing that Note to be accessed for different functions without having to be duplicated.

Practical Takeaway: Tag everything.

 

As Evernote likes to remind its users, your system is yours. Leverage it however it best suits your needs. My systm has been hacked-together from neat tricks and tips that I found from other Evernote users pieced with my own ideas. It's the system works best for me. Happy organizing!