To be honest, over the years I’ve had three or four failed attempts at ‘getting into’ Evernote. Each time I thought I had it cracked in the past I’ve drifted away from the software, lured by another program that seemed to offer a ‘better way’ of doing things! But here I am again using Evernote as a premium customer and settling into a simple way of working.
Simple? Well, I suppose my way of using Evernote is simple in the extreme - I just use it to replace the piles of paper that were filling up the filing cabinet and hogging all the desk space!
Here’s how it works for me
Paper arrives in the office - paper is scanned into Evernote and is thrown away immediately afterwards if possible! If I don’t have a scanner to hand when I open the mail or get a receipt - I use the Evernote phone app to scan the item.
I DO NOT HAVE a ‘maybe’ pile,
Paper is actually destroyed, I actually have a shredding bag for it so that it CAN’T be retrieved. This ruthless approach serves to prompt the question ‘do I really need this?’ each time I handle a piece of paper.
Naming is important.
In the certain knowledge that I may need to retrieve an item at some time in the future I try to give each scanned piece of paper a recognisable file name - for example, ‘Yaris_MOT_Reminder_2016’
Retain all original documents that cannot be replaced by a copy or digital versions like Birth certificates, Passports and official notices. There’s no way around that one I’m afraid
Net result = a clear desk + a clear mind.
I can now find any item in under a minute - and print a copy off with equal ease! The added bonus is that since pretty much ALL paper is destroyed immediately by default, the fear of identity theft is also reduced!
Previous attempts to implement the software
seem to have failed simply because I over complicated the process with masses of folders and tags, creating a structured filing system that more or less replicated a filing cabinet structure. The problem with that approach is that it takes a lot of time to root through the layers of files to find anything and actually increases the work needed to get stuff done.
Honestly, there’s no need to recreate the filing cabinet the digital age.
Evernote will search every word in every document, and even manages to search handwritten notes that have been scanned in after a meeting using the camera app on my phone. Need more organisation? Simply TAG the notes that need to be kept together - I just add a company name tag to anything that comes in - so it’s super easy to find all the notes relating to HMRC or Amazon etc. Right now I have the minimum number of folders and rely on tags to group related items together.
Instead of trying to reinvent the wheel I let Evernote do the heavy lifting for me. 🙂