Friday, February 25, 2011

Organization: Evernote Is Becoming My Brain (#14inFeb)

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Back in June 2010, I wrote about how I use Evernote to stay organized. Here is how I organized my notebooks at the time:

My main notebooks are:
  • !School (exclamation point puts on the top of the list),
  • Archive (general and more that two years old),
  • Clips (temporary storage of emailed items or those sent from web browser),
  • FY09,
  • FY10 (no longer needed items from this year),
  • Personal,
  • Principal Ideas (websites, tidbits, etc about leadership),
  • Receipts (from the web),
  • Staff,
  • Students.

Months later, let me tell you how my use of Evernote had changed.

First of all, I am using Evernote way more than I ever did before. I decided a few months ago to consolidate as many different services as I could into Evernote. This way, I have far fewer places to look for my stuff. I stuck with Evernote even though so many folks have been singing the praises of simplenote because I already have so much invested in Evernote. Since I won an iPad, I use Evernote even more because it is so much easier to create on it than on the iPhone.

I also totally updated my notebook structure. At some point this fall, Evernote began to allow for nested notebooks on the Mac version. Cool. They do not yet support nested notebooks everywhere else (i.e. iPad, iPhone, or web). Anyway, although I love to organize my files and notes, I vacillate between lots of topical notebooks and fewer more general notebooks wth lots of tags and searches. Right now I am somewhere in between.

So, here is my current notebook structure ( '-' signifies a nested notebook)
  • !Clips (default notebook, emptied regularly)
  • !Drafts (all sorts of fragments and ideas for future writing)
  • Blog (an archive of the articles in my blog)
  • Bookmarks (relevant to personal interests)
    • Shared bookmarks (to share with staff)
  • Computer Stuff (tips, help files, product reviews)
  • Ed Stuff (all manner of articles from RSS, conference notes, PDF scans)
    • Bullying/Behavior
    • Leadership (mostly theoretical stuff)
    • Marshall Memo (my last school had a subscription. Very good resource.)
    • Principal (mostly practical info and ideas)
    • Teaching (pedagogy, assessment, instruction, learning)
    • Web 2.0 Learning
    • Spofford (all of the notebooks from that school)
    • Personal
      • Family
      • Household
    • Music (PDFs of trumpet sheet music)
    • Receipts (mostly from web purchases, some scanned)
    • Reference (i.e. Barber Shop schedule, a photo of the coffee can that I can never remember while in the store)
    As you can see, I have greatly expanded the number of notebooks. Also, I got rid of the archive by moving the old information back into the notebooks from whence they came. In the fall, I will bring back the separate notebooks for staff and students.

    If you are looking for a way to take notes and store all sorts of information, you can't go wrong with Evernote.

    Do you use Evernote? What is your most unusual way to use Evernote? What do you like better and why? This is what the comments are for. Thanks.