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The cluttered PC desktop

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  • The cluttered PC desktop

    semi-working system
    I have a physical inbox at work and at home now. I have recently begun using Evernote within my GTD system for keeping up with non-actionable reference items, being very careful to use David's recommended alphabetic approach for everything as the primary means of sorting. My Evernote organization isn't excellent yet because I still have to undo some of the 'old way' within Evernote but I hope it will be next week. Keeping true to that alphabetical approach, and because Evernote will search the only the folder you happen to be IN by default; I have only two notebooks currently for my reference material stored in Evernote. One (1) is for at-work-only material. The second (2) is for home business and other. All 'next actions' are stored elsewhere. I have been trying Nozbe for my non-work related actionable items. At work though, I must unfortunately (due to it's tight, company-wide integration into my work environment) use Outlook for keeping up with actionable items there.

    attacking what isn't working
    I have listened to David's unabridged audios of GTD (3xs), an audio seminar called GTD Fast (1x), and am in the middle of the audio series GTD Making It All Work. I feel I have 'caught it' at least as much as possible prior to full implementation, but find myself lacking the energy after a week of work to really put it all together. I am considering some staggered day-at-a-time At Work PTO so that I can implement his system better over time.

    cluttered desktop
    I have a cluttered desktop at home and one at work. I am about to add a third cluttered desktop to my life. I still regularly find myself with too many items on my desktop and it drives me crazy. No matter how hard I try to put all my 'junk' in an easy-to-access system like Evernote, stuff seems to pile up in files and folders on my PC, and most annoyingly on my desktop. The less I understand the totality of what is there, the messier and more unmanageable it becomes.

    This has become a serious mental energy killer for me. What tips do you folks have for getting a handle on too many files and folders?
    Last edited by tedpenner; 03-07-2009, 02:02 PM.

  • #2
    I don't know Evernote but to drive in the jungle of my before-GTD folders I used and I still use google desktop. It's great! It can search also into the files, so in general you can find what you search.

    Then the A-Z filing complete all!


    • #3
      Well, I have used Evernote for several months now to a mixed appreciation for it. I'm not sure what you mean by an A-Z system within Evernote. Evernote is a full-text index of all your notebooks' content. You should just be able to dump stuff into it and still be able to retrieve it when you need it via search. If you have their Premium subscription, you should just be able to drop just about any file into it (I'm not sure about Windows as I use a Mac). If you have the free version, I would get a PDF printer and print all your documents to PDFs and drop them there, unless you need them editable. In that case, Google is a great repository. The bottom line, though, for me has been that all digital just didn't work. I've been steadily backing out of the "everything in Evernote" model in favor of the standard David Allen manilla folders. Personal files are at home; work files are at work and the in-between goes in my backpack.

      My two cents of advice are simple. Keep the filing simple and just do it. Don't make it too complicated and don't let things get behind. Keep it simple.


      • #4
        That's very interesting that Evernote didn't work for you. I have chosen to 'view' the time band, tagging and particularly the note list which can show in alphabetical order. You can separate tags with commas and they get added to more than one at a time. I have stuck to the alphabetical look-up via scrolling as the 'most common' way by intention. In this way, I am sort-of reviewing my files consistently, and seemingly without effort. I also have the reverse opinion on PDFs. I usually add a .tmp to PDF files because I don't like OneNote showing all the data when all I usually need to see is the date and filename.

        I have some disappointments with EverNote also though. You can't select a bunch of text and wrap-it-up in a file with a right click. You can't search within files unless they are pictures. You can't rename files from within one-note without opening anything. It is this 'rename' ability that I would like to have the most.

        It's a nice tool for me and I still use the manila folders as well. I am even going to get the new plastic ones he now recommends for greater durability.

        Thanks for this on Evernote. I've still not gotten the desktop thing figured out.


        • #5
          My problems with EN were primarily in doing the filing and in how I wanted to use my reference. DA talks about filing being quick and easy. I think he said something about it taking no more than a minute. For me to use EN the way I want(ed), I had to be scanning everything in. That always felt more cumbersome and always seemed to take more time and effort. Then, in the usage, there seemed more than one occasion where I would KNOW I put a document into EN, but a search on all my notebooks wouldn't turn it up. That would be very frustrating. So, I've been coming around to the "retro" point of view on filing in the last couple of weeks--paper, manilla folders, file drawers. I may still use EN for some stuff, but I'm working on moving my primary reference out of it right now.