Over at the Evernote User Forum, there’s a useful discussion of the tags vs notebooks issue, and one commenter uses the same system as me. Dan Gold often recommends this commenter’s e-book “Evernote for Lawyers”, and incorporates some of his ideas into his own “Unofficial guide to capturing everything and getting things done”, now in its 2nd edition.

Yep, I had the same issues and now use tags instead of notebooks for GTD:

  • !!Today
  • !Next Projects Empty tag; active projects are nested
  • @Errands
  • @Read/Review
  • @Someday/Maybe includes inactive projects and a few special categories, i.e, book ideas
  • @Waiting
  • Reference empty; nested tags for anything not actionable

One default notebook “Inbox” and one Notebook “My Notes” for everything once it has been processed.

via Using Evernote for GTD – Evernote User Forum.

Not everyone agrees, however. Read more on the Evernote User Forum.

John Mayson includes a tag for “Random Thoughts”:

Every now and then I’ll see a great quotation or neat idea. I want to keep it in front me, but I really don’t have a purpose for it yet. This falls under “Random Thoughts”. Part of my weekly review is to go through this and decide what the next action is.

You could also use the “someday/maybe” tag, but the key point is to have this in a place where it will unfailingly pop up on your radar, e.g. in your weekly review.

He also includes a tag called “Broader Focus”. Again, it doesn’t matter what you call it, but it must come up in your weekly review. Without a tag, these notes probably won’t resurface as often you need to see them. Here’s John Mayson’s explanation of this tag:

This is the 50,000 foot view of my life. I long considered this exercise to be rather silly. My goals were simple: earn more money and get kids out of house before I die. But now that I’m on the older side of 40 I’ve decided my life needs a little more meaning. Under this heading I have four subheadings:

* Goals
* Objectives
* Values
* Visions
I view goals as long projects that will benefit me in the future. Finishing this blog post is not a goal. Earning my CCNA certification is.

Objectives help me form my goals. Right now an objective is to be a very well-rounded test engineer. A goal born out of that is earning my CCNA.

Values is a list of things that are important to me. They may or may not support my goals. For instance I have placed rules on myself about Internet activity at work. No one has ever spoken to me about this. But I do see people spending more time than I think it appropriate surfing the net at work. So one set of values is what is acceptable and what can wait until I’m home on my own time. I will never claim I’m better than someone, but I see that activity as unprofessional and don’t want others to think of me what I think of them.

Visions are where I see myself in 3 to 5 years. I travel periodically to Penang, Malaysia on business. I would like to have a long-term or even an expat assignment there. That’s not actionable on my part. There’s nothing I can go do to make that happen. However I can position myself so if such an opportunity opened, I’d be the natural candidate. I define that under visions. It also reminds me why I’m doing what I’m doing.