But, one of my first mistakes when I start using Evernote is that I start to add notes into the software without thinking how I can organize them. The productivity that comes with this tool, comes because the possibility everything to be perfectly organized. That organization will enable you easily to find what you need to find and use.
Even this tool has great features to search and find stuff that you have added, still that’s not the best productive solution for you, especially when you have a large base of notes, references, to-do lists and different ideas and information that you collect from everywhere.
Evernote is Great Tool for Organizing Stuff?
One of the reasons why I like this tool so much is because of the simplicity to organize very different stuff from everywhere that really need to be organized.
Evernote has three possibilities to organize things:
- Notebooks. This is the same as a paper-based notebook that you’ve already had experience using it. They are the places where you will put different notes. For example, if you have notebook called My Ideas, you will put each note about some ideas that come in your mind from everywhere exactly in that notebook.
- Stacks. Stacks are like labels for similar types of notebooks where you can group different notebooks about the related subject. That related subject is called stack. For example, you can have one stack named as Home, and one named as Work. In such a way, all your notebooks related to your home or personal life will go into the home stack, while all notebooks connected with your work will be placed into the stack called Work.
- Tags. Third help in organizing your stuff into Evernote is tagging. Tagging will enable you to add descriptive words to each note to help you search them in the future. Another advantage of tags is the possibility to group notes with exactly tags when you work on something. For example, if you work on creating your business plan and your Evernote account have many things about business planning in the form of references, ideas or reports you can simply find them all in one place using tag that you put for business planning.
Now when you know the tools that are available to organize stuff in Evernote, let’s talk about practical ways how you can use them to become more productive.
How You Can Use Notebooks?
Firstly, I want to note that in this tool, you can make two different type of notebooks: local and synchronized notebooks. When you make a local notebook that’s meant your notes in that notebook will be available only on the computer where they are created. On the other hand, synchronized notebooks are notebooks that are synchronized between the web and all of your devices. In my cases, I want to use more synchronized notebooks because I want them to be on all my devices.
Let’s look at some of the notebooks that you will need:
- You need an Inbox notebook for everything unprocessed and noted into the Evernote as we talk in Productivity Tools: How We Can Add Stuff in Evernote. For example, when you find and clip web page that you want to read into the future, that notes will go directly into the inbox.
- Next notebook that will be useful for your productivity can be Reference Notebook where you can put everything as a reference. For example, you can put e-books, web pages, research material or everything else that you will probably need for the future.
- You can create one notebook for Projects, or separate notebooks for different projects under one stack called Projects. For example, if you work on two projects, Project 1 and Project 2, you can have two different notebooks called as Project 1 and Project 2 where all notes for a specific project will be in them, normally when you processed inbox folder. Another way is to have one notebook called projects where all notes for all projects will be there. When you use second way to organize stuff, you need to use clever tagging system to make quick distinction between one or more projects into that one notebook.
- As a third important notebook can be a notebook that will collect different tasks that you need to do. If you want to use Evernote as to-do list for your tasks this will be very helpful for you. Evernote has a really clever system to insert to-do sign before each task and lately when you use a search, you can have all your tasks organized.
- As a last notebook that I will propose here is a notebook for delegated tasks. As you know, one part in increasing productivity is to delegate stuff that needs to be done. However, you need to follow the accomplishments of that tasks, and this notebook will be very helpful for you. On the other side if you have a premium account the persons responsible for delegated tasks can update with fresh information about the tasks collected in that notebook.
What’s a Stack and How You Can Use Them?
As I said previously, stacks are simple collects of many notebooks. If you have many notebooks, they will look really chaotic in your account. The stacks can be very helpful to make an order in that chaotic notebooks.
You need to know one important rule when you use stacks if you don’t want to lose yourself into them: group notebooks into the stacks logically.
In my experience, there is a danger for you to start making many stacks for many notebooks. Quickly, you can find yourself in a truly heavy position to find something because you will have too many stacks, and if they are opened it will look very messy into Evernote. Because of that, be very careful when you create stacks.
However, stacks can be very useful to organize your notebooks, and as you continue to experience Evernote, you will find many creative ways to be more organized, and yes, more productive.
Tags Will Simplify Your Life
As your note list will raise you will need better description of the notes that will help you to search for group items related around that description.
For example, if you have a notebook for projects where you have more notes about more than one project and one of them is blogging, you will need better description of that notes as draft post , post ideas, future writing and so on. Alternatively, if you have in your project notebook blogging notes for several blogs for which you write you can use as a tag the name of the blog that will give you better description.
There is not some standard that someone can tell you about tagging notes. Different persons find different creative ways to tag their notes. Tagging will simplify your life:
- if you become more organized with them,
- if you can find quickly everything when you need,
- if you can quickly remember because of logic or everyday use of different tags.
However, you will need your own system for tagging, and it must be somehow organized. Let’s look into some best practices that you can implement:
- You need to use tagging options in Evernote. They cannot not hurt you. They will only help you for the future. Because of that, use them even if you think that your current notebook organization is at the best possible level. Never know what will happen tomorrow, and notes are here because of you. You will need them, otherwise you will not put them into Evernote.
- You need more than one tag on the notes if you want to find them very quickly. Notes come from different places. They are for different subjects. They imply different next actions. They are part of different projects. All of that can be a potential tag for your note. For example, if you have a note about an important person that you meet at last conference, you can use conference tag, people tag, call him tag and so on.
- Your notes need to be tagged around subjects. The subject can be general and specific subject. General subject is the theme of the note. Ask yourself what is the main theme of the note. If it is about ideas to improve your business, you can set improvement tag. Specific subject is an additional description of the main subject. If your note is about business improvement in the sales process, the general subject will be improvements, and specific subject can be sales. In such a way, you will quickly find notes for possible business improvements, but improvements of the sales in your business. Lately, when you need to work on such improvement, simply with the search function, you can have all that notes organized in one place, ready to be processed with the next action steps.
- You can use another tags that will give another descriptive context on each notes. For example, you can use tags about places where the note is taken, if that matters for you in the future. As I explained in a previous example, the place can be conference where you take that note. You are not limited here. It’s only up to your imagination and creativity. But, it is better to think if that tags can help you in the future.
I think that now you have better understanding of possibilities to organize stuff into Evernote. It’s your turn now to become more productive using different productivity tools.