My whole life (almost literally) is stored in a note-taking system, and for a while it was Evernote. But then, I wrote a few months ago about how I was done with Evernote. Done I say, done! I was switching to Simplenote, for a whole variety of reasons.
When I switched, my impetus really boiled down to three things: Simplenote was simpler and faster, had better list support, and let me pin notes to the top of the list for easy access. That’s all still true, at least the latter two, but it turns out those features weren’t as important as some others.
The reason I’m back using Evernote isn’t that Simplenote isn’t great. It is. It’s just not nearly powerful enough for what I need, as it turns out. I could go on at length, but I’ll spare you – it’s really just three things that I couldn’t live without:
- Web Clipping – I really, really need to be able to clip web pages, whether it’s entire pages or just snippets, and Simplenote offers no functional way to do that. Evernote, on the other hand, does it wonderfully.
- Email Notes – Whenever I’m away from my own computer (especially when I’m on my iPad), I’m constantly emailing stuff to Evernote. Articles to read, things I need to remember, photos – Simplenote allows this, but it’s not nearly as robust as Evernote.
- Rich text – I do a lot of writing in my note-taking app, whatever it is. It’s where a lot of drafts live, as well as a lot of finished products that don’t have a place to go yet. As I write, I like to have bold or italicized words, or make lists, or change the text justification and color for no reason whatsoever. I didn’t like not being able to do that with Simplenote, and I really didn’t like how many times I forgot and email a rich document to Simplenote, and proceeded to lose all formatting.
I’m also writing this post because, to Evernote’s credit, they’ve actually fixed a lot of things I didn’t like before. (I’m taking full credit for them all being solved, so you’re welcome.) Now, if you don’t give a note a title in the mobile app, it takes the first line as the title. There’s a Favorites bar in the Mac app (the one I use most) that mimics the pinning functionality of Simplenote. All of the Evernote apps are faster, better looking, and simpler to use than ever, and more and more apps are integrating Evernote in clever ways.
My New Setup
Part of the problem I had previously with Evernote was that it was just too complex. As it turns out, that was mostly my fault. I had tons of notebooks, tons of tags, more saved searches than you could shake a stick at, and generally no idea where anything was.
This time, I’m doing it better, and it’s working. I only have two notebooks now: “Inbox,” and “Everything.” Everything starts in the Inbox, and after getting looked at once either gets deleted or goes into Everything. All my real organization is done by tags, and I don’t even have very many of those (four right now). I’m diligent about deleting notes I don’t have need for anymore, which helps an enormous amount. Mostly, I just dump everything into the Everything bucket and rely on search to find everything, and that’s working nicely.
I’m a renewed Evernote fan, and I promise not to break up with it again. For like a month, at the very least.