How to Organize Evernote for Maximum Efficiency

Please note: The way I organize Evernote today is completely different than what I wrote here. You can find my updated methodology here.

I have been using Evernote for months. However, I have not really taken time to explore the depth of this incredible program until just recently. I have mainly just used it for a place to store meeting notes and an occasional web clipping.

Files in a Horizontal Filing Cabinet - Photo courtesy of ©, Image #11346887

Photo courtesy of ©

However, thanks to Brett Kelly’s very helpful e-book, Evernote Essentials, the Evernote user forum, and a little experimentation, I have begun to see the incredible power of this digital repository. So much so, then I am committed to going paperless in my new office setup.

It all begins by establishing a solid organizational structure. Evernote doesn’t require one, but, based on my personal experience you won’t realize the full power of this tool without one. You need to give some thought to how you want to structure your notebooks, “stacks,” and tags.

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I created this list by first asking myself, “What are my primary areas of focus?” The highest level stacks or notebooks are that list. Note that “!Inbox” is my default notebook. This is where I put random items until I know exactly where I should file them. (The exclamation point ensures that this notebook is first in the sorted list.)

Note that I had to divide Work into several stacks, all with the prefix “Work.” This is simply because Evernote doesn’t currently allow the nesting of stacks. (Note to Evernote developers: please consider this as a feature request.)

Here are my current tags:

Evernote tags

It is tempting to tag every note with a several tags. However, I broke myself of that habit once I realized that Evernote indexes every word in every note. So if you have a great quote on “purpose,” for example, you don’t need to tag the note with “purpose,” so long as the word appears in the note. This only adds more clutter. The key is to remember that less is more.

Once you get your basic structure, the fun really begins. (Okay, maybe this is a stretch.) I hope to post soon on how I get stuff into Evernote. This is where the versatility of the tool really shines.

Questions: How do you organize Evernote? Where do you see that I could improve my organization? You can leave a comment by clicking here.

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