Update 1/25/14: Evernote is no longer part of my workflow. Revisions forthcoming.
New features in Evernote now support alarms and reminders. The reminder feature made me review Evernote again as part of my workflow.
43 Folders in Evernote
Up until now, I only used Evernote for reference material. Manuals, guides, notes, things I wanted to be able to search quickly. With the new reminder feature, I can setup a “43-folder” set of notebooks, and use them just like physical file folders. I have three “stacks” of notebooks to support the 43 folders style of filing:
- *43 Folders – Days, a stack with notebooks numbered 1–31;
- *43 Folders – Months, a stack with 12 notebooks, one for each month of the year labeled “01-Jan”, etc.;
- *43 Folders – Spec, a stack for Project notebooks, and the infamous “Someday/Maybe” notebook.
Note – I put the asterisk in front of the stack name so it stays at the top of the list of stacks in Evernote.
How It Works
I scan any mail I am going to keep, including statements, bills, important letters, forms, etc. I used to put a hard copy (or the original) in a physical folder in a 43-folder type setup. Now I put the scanned copy in Evernote. For example, if I have an insurance bill due on the 4th, I put the scanned copy of the bill in the “4” folder in the *43 Folders – Days stack. I set a reminder on that note/copy for the 4th.
Just as I used to check the physical folder each day, I check the Evernote version. I have everything I need for a particular day right there in front of me. I’ve found only on very rare occasion do I need the original or even a hardcopy of a file or letter to get things done.
At the end of each week (usually Saturday), I review the next month’s folder in the *43 Folders – Month stack. I move any notes to the corresponding notebook in the *43 Folders – Days stack. For example, if it is the 15th of the month, and I see something that belongs in one of the notebooks 1–14 in next month’s notebook in the *43 Folders – Months stack, I move it to the appropriate day in the *43 Folders – Days stack, and set any applicable reminders. I also review the project notebooks and Someday/Maybe notebook in the *43 Folders – Spec stack on Saturdays.
It may sound like a lot of work or wasted time, but imagine what I was doing with the paper/physical version. And the biggest drawback to using actual physical files is solved by Evernote – the information is available on my phone, my iPad, any computer I can use to access Evernote.
The Other Evernote Apps
I’ve always used Stitch, a screen capture utility, and I was very happy when Evernote acquired the company. Now anything I capture (and/or annotate) with Stitch is automatically transferred into Evernote. Additional apps such as Hello and Food also transfer to Evernote. I’m just starting to use Hello (a contact gathering app), and the Evernote Food app can be a little frustrating (on Android anyway), but I see amazing potential for each.
I’m a Moleskine fan. I find these notebooks and cahiers very useful, and I rarely write down a note on a loose piece of paper. It always goes one of two places – my notetaker wallet or in a Moleskine notebook. Evernote has a special Moleskine notebook (a “smart” notebook) which allows for transfer to Evernote by using a special “page” portion of the Evernote app. I haven’t had a lot of success with it, in fact, I don’t see why I can’t just use any Moleskine notebook, because I wind up reviewing the notes I photograph manually anyway. It has something to do with the bright green bookmark cord and special tagging stickers, which I just don’t have time to play with.