People love to create things but struggle with organizing and putting them away. I am in this camp.
Sunrise and Sunset
There are two important concepts in data management. The first one is the “sunrise” where information is created and becomes of value to people. The second concept is the “sunset” where data is organized and sorted, archived and deleted.
In my journey of converting 5,000 Evernote notes to OneNote, I found that my sunset data was difficult to manage. I have notes in unrelated folders, poorly written titles, poorly written notes, pictures, audio and video in random places. Imagine all those folks who are using paper note solutions and then trying to recall past information without a card catalog system. This is why I am a digital note taker. Cleaning up all of these past notes has become a chore and it’s painful trying to find information.
Having a powerful search engine helps. A tagging system is also helpful but should be added at the time of the note’s creation.
Get Better at Sunsetting
If you want to avoid the pain of finding old information, try to do the following:
- Manually convert notes from one system to the next where you can organize, clarify, archive and delete old data
- Create a descriptive title to the note
- Take the time to craft the note with as much detail as possible for the “future you” who will not have the space/time context to help understanding
- Add tags to aid searching
- Make sure the note has a date/time stamp.
- Sunset the note so that it is either placed in a folder (storage) and archived or deleted. This gets rid of junk information.
- Bonus tip: sync your notes on your phone/PC/Mac and tablet to a cloud solution like Microsoft OneNote.