Using Evernote as a File System for Business and Productivity

The power of a reference file system often goes unappreciated. As any knowledge worker worth his salt will tell you, you can’t hold every bit of information you receive in your head. No matter how spacious your mind is, you will eventually forget something important or let a good idea slip away. This is where having a more rigorous file program can ease the load.

Evernote is a general reference filing system app. Many people use it for taking notes, but it can do much more for you than a simple digital notepad.

Evernote Puts Filing Quick At Hand

Filing is important for keeping your business and personal life organized. You will always need to keep track of some sort of paper trail, whether it be for financial reasons or matters of convenience.

Use Evernote to clip articles and screenshots from the web.

In order to work properly, a filing system must be quick and ready at any moment you have something to file. If filing is not quick and easy, an important file or idea will slip out of your grasp and escape your system. Or, even worse, you’ll have clusters of files in piles around your office, and your general work area will quickly become a mess.

Using Evernote to search within PDF files.
(You can also use Evernote to search within PDF files, even with handwriting.)

Evernote helps you avoid this kind of vulnerability by providing web-based, desktop, or mobile options. The “Web Clipper” browser extension lets you grab information from the websites you visit. The desktop app is available for Windows and Mac operating systems, and it syncs easily with the cloud. For capturing a file on the go, the mobile app is widely supported on the most popular mobile operating systems. This way, whether you’re on the go or working at your computer, you can quickly snap a file quickly and easily.

Powerful Index of Files

Leveraging the full power of Evernote gives you a bulletproof index of all the files you need to keep handy. And with a premium account, you have unlimited cloud space for storing all of your data.

Space is of critical importance when it comes to choosing a file system. It’s good to purge unneeded files once in a while, but you also need to be able to keep as much data as is necessary to avoid the risks of losing critical information.

Aggressive Tagging

In order to have a properly functioning file system, it is necessary to create some sort of context identifiers. In Evernote, aggressive “tagging” lets you properly index a file and search for it later.

Likewise, you can nest tags within other tags to make sure every identifier is properly sorted.

Strengths and Weaknesses of an Evernote Filing System

Depending on your needs, your use of Evernote may differ, but the program is sufficiently customizable within a few rigid parameters.

Software Rigidity

Too many organizational programs on the market suffer by offering too much flexibility. Often, you’ll find a new piece of software that basically puts a stylish user interface on top of a standard relational database. It looks flashy, but you’ll likely spend hours developing a custom schema for this database while simultaneously learning the feature set for interacting with the data.

Conversely, Evernote is more rigid and structured. This might seem limiting, but for the purpose of keeping an organized file structure, it shines.

Purging and Reminding

It’s important to purge files at regular intervals. At least once in a year, you should go through all the year’s files and delete anything no longer needed to keep your system functioning.

To make the purging easier, you can use the “All Notes” view to see every note and file in your collection, so you can easily scan through and delete as you go.

Likewise, you could use the tagging feature to sort through old notes sequentially. Select a group of tags and start searching through for anything that can be purged.

If you want to re-evaluate a note later so you don’t have to think about it right now, you can easily set a reminder to come back to that note later. Evernote will send you a notification to review the file so you can decide to act on it or delete it.

Alpha Filing

By default, Evernote sorts your notebooks alphabetically. And while you can “stack” notebooks in a single collection, you cannot nest notebooks like folders or directories.

Again, this may seem limiting, but in terms of having a functional filing system, this level of depth works out just fine given the tagging system. Many power Evernote users rely most upon the tagging feature to search with finer detail.

Don’t Let Slippage Happen To You

If you let files and ideas and inspirations slip away, you’re in need of a better filing system. You never know exactly when you’ll have a good idea, or when you’ll need a specific piece of information. By having a properly organized filing system you can offload this problem into a trusted program.

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