I've been a long time Evernote user, mostly for archival purposes and also just throwing everything I could think of into it. I had no system whatsoever. It was getting to the point where I had random notes that were no longer relevant, too many notebooks, too many tags and too much headache. I did a purge and deleted old stuff from years ago and moved most of the PDF's and plain text notes over to Dropbox. I thought I had found the answer.
After using that system for a while I realized that the standard folder hierarchy system wasn't going to cut it for me either. As someone who operates about 99% of the time from strictly the iOS platform I knew that there was something better, something easier. I wasn't aware that it was the one thing I have been using all this time.
I decided to give Evernote another shot but, this time approaching it with a simple method in mind and not just going crazy with tagging. I've ditched the 20+ notebooks that I had before and now have only 2. One named ".Inbox" and another named "Archive". Sounds simple right? Most people who use Evernote seem to all have an inbox so, that was a no-brainier. The notes I am currently working on or haven't processed yet go and stay in my Inbox by default. When I am either finished with the note, or just want to file it away for reference down the road, it then gets tagged (sparingly) and moved to the Archive.
My method that I am testing now seems to be working well and it is a lot less stress and a lot less clutter. I like to keep things neat and organized and this seems to be a simple approach if I continue to implement it correctly. I always went tag crazy in the past and it was not a good system to manage files in. Sure, one could argue that if I'm taking a lot of notes I could use the stock iOS Notes app, Vesper or some of the other note taking apps on the App Store but, they all have their limits. The thing I like about Evernote is that it supports pretty much any file format I deal with on a regular basis which is nice so that mostly everything in my digital life can all be in one place.
If you are looking for a good solution to consolidating your files or just want to try a different method with using Evernote I would recommend trying the 2 notebook approach. I am sure I am not the first to think of this which is fine, I'm not trying to be. I just want a system that works for my needs and is easy enough to implement without too much headache. I'd love to hear how you use Evernote or how you deal with files in general. Tweet me @blake_woody!