My Current State of Notetaking


A number of people have been asking what notetaking system I’m using lately. I’ve written about it in passing like when I explained why I was no longer using DevonThink or why I didn’t renew my Agenda subscription, but I wanted to give a more concrete answer.

First things first, I’m back to primarily using Evernote for my notes and have been for quite some time.

I say primarily, because I’m still using Apple Notes for things I need to share with my other half. There’s just no way I’d be able to get him to become an Evernote user, whereas he was already using Notes on his own when I met him. (Props to him!)

If Apple decides to add more to Apple Notes down the road, I’m certainly interested in switching back to Apple Notes, but right now that list of features to add is pretty significant:

  • Tagging
  • Saved Searches
  • Note Links (Apple Notes has this, but I pretend I’m sharing a note with someone to get the link.)
  • Integration with my email client, Spark
  • A better web clipper – Evernote’s web clipper is simply miles ahead of Apple’s share extension.

With that out of the way, I also wanted to quickly update how I’m structuring Evernote because it’s changed since I last posted about my set up.

I’m still very much a fan of Tiago Forte’s P.A.R.A. system. However, my current notebook structure is much more reminiscent of my set up in other applications like Things, making it easier to mentally switch between systems.

Instead of stacks for Projects, Areas, Resources, I now have a stacks for each of the main area of my life: this blog, Home, Personal, and Work. Then, within each of those stacks, I have my notebooks for my active projects, areas, and resources.

I do still maintain an Archive stack, and within it, I have a notebook for each of the areas mentioned above. (As with before, as projects are archived, I’ll tag all the notes with the name of the project and move them into their respective area’s archive notebook.) The main reason I kept my Archive notebooks separate from my area stacks is because I do have a few areas (like my Undergraduate and Graduate School notes) that are no longer active with content I still wanted to hold on to.

Photo by JESHOOTS.COM on Unsplash


2 thoughts on “My Current State of Notetaking

  1. Jim says:

    Andrea – great ideas here. I’m an EN user as well. My question is I’m don’t like typing during a client meeting and hate handwriting my meeting notes and then transcribing them. My hope is I can start writing my notes on my iPad with my Apple Pencil. Do you know the apps needed to make this happen?

    Thanks in advance! Jim

    • Andrea says:

      Hi Jim,
      Admittedly, working in an IT department affords me the luxury being able to type on a device without judgement during meetings, so I don’t have a ton of experience in this area, but there are a number of options available. I believe Evernote’s native app has Apple Pencil support and will actually OCR handwritten notes automatically, but don’t quote me on that. I also don’t really enjoy Evernote’s handwriting engine. I tend to use Goodnotes when handwriting on my iPad, and it does have handwriting to text conversion, although you have to select the text in order to convert. Another app I’ve used in the past is Nebo.

      Hopefully one of those suits your needs, and thanks for stopping by!


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