I’m an Evernote Certified Consultant. Did you know that? Wow, that was a quick update. Next?
Well, since I’m here, I also want to share how I’ve been recently using Evernote for a simple form of journalling, based on the concepts from Bullet journalling.
I’ve been using Evernote a long time, my account says I joined the 25th of May 2010. So that’s nearly seven years of notes and documents stored there. Over that time I’ve used it to varying degrees to store all sorts of different things, the training course made me think of more ways I could use Evernote, both as a personal user and as a business.
Keeping a journal is something I’ve wanted to do for a while, but every time I’ve tried I’ve failed miserably. I wasn’t sure exactly what to write, so I generally tried to do too much and have been unable to keep it up. However I journalled our holiday to Italy last year and I loved it. Whilst it’s probably way too detailed, we have that memory of that wonderful holiday.
When Lucy first showed me the amazing examples of bullet journalling on Pinterest I was amazed at how powerful and beautiful the pages could be, but that much detail would be impossible for me to keep up. Then I read the introduction to the bullet journal which is pretty much the antithesis of what you see on Pinterest. It’s about simplicity and “rapid logging”. Now this I could get into!
My original plan was to run a trial on Evernote to see if I could get on with the system before going out and buying a new notebook. I now have about 5 months worth of logs - I started mid-March and have complete notes for April-July, still going strong in August!
Some notes/diagrams etc are easier to do on paper, at least until I have decent tablet (and that could be a while yet), so those notes tend to get captured with the Evernote camera. This hybrid approach appears to be working for me. I have very simple notes of what has been happening every day, plus some automated content that comes in.
How does it work?
The way I do this is to have a series of Notebooks each with a different purpose. I’ll just take you briefly through each of these and maybe I can go into more detail in another post some time.
This is where all the magic happens. This is the working area and will generally only have notes from one day, unless I’ve been able to merge and archive them. I’ve got this Notebook as a shortcut on all my devices.
Each day has 2 core notes which are present pretty much every day, these are Tasks and Events, which are pretty self-explanatory. Tasks is made up of a checkbox list, whilst Events is a simple bullet list used to record things that will or have happened today (and if relevant brief notes about those events).
I can then add other notes or other relevant captures to this Notebook to capture everything I want to record about today.
I use IFTTT to push the weather each morning, plus record anything I’ve read through Pocket. Tasks that are planned for the future or are repetitive I tend to record in Wunderlist. I’ve connected this up using Zapier so that tasks completed in Wunderlist will also become part of my record of the day. Automation is a great bonus of digital journalling.
I have a notebook called “_Today Template” (note the underscore so that the folder is listed first) which has a template for Events, Tasks and Notes. The templates are pretty simple, just blank with a bullet point or checkbox ready to start a list, but they also have tags already applied to them (in my case: Journal, Bullet Journal, eBuJo). At the start of each day I can copy these Notes to the Today notebook - although in practice I tend to duplicate the Tasks note to carry uncompleted tasks to the next day.
I also experimented with a prompter note, one with questions for me to answer each day, but I rarely stuck to this. This could work for you, though. I adapted the questions from a journalling blog a long time ago when I was trying paper-based journalling. Unfortunately I can’t remember where I found them, so I can properly attribute them. The questions are:
- What did I get done today?
- What worked?
- What didn’t?
- What did I learn?
Monthly Journal Archive
At the beginning of each day I merge all of the previous days notes (after duplicating the task list) and set the title with the date and day plus some highlights from the day, for instance:
12M - Dinner with Fred
And I move the Note to a notebook for the current month. These are named so that they show in order, e.g. 7 (July) 2017 or 8 (August) 2017. All of these notebooks are part of a stack - currently that notebook stack is called eBuJo but I think I’ll have a stack per year, to make it easy to navigate through them.
As the notes are added to the archive in date order, they show in order when you look at the notebook, so long as you don’t make an edit to a note out of order.
That’s it for now, if I get any questions or if I learn anything new I’ll write another post.
Photo via VisualHunt