Tag Archives: Evernote

Dealing with Digital Clutter


Dealing with digital clutterPhoto credit: Pixabay

I spent so much of December thinking about my goals and decluttering so many aspects of my life. But I realized today, there’s one area of my life I hadn’t given much thought to: digital clutter.

I came to this realization this morning when I looked at my phone and saw this:

Mail icon

The thing is, you see, I’d cleared out my inbox maybe four or five days ago (confession: I used the handy dandy “mark all as read” button). So how did the number of unread emails climb back into the three-digit territory?

Actually, I do know how. Now it’s really just a matter of dealing with it.

Anyway, it got me thinking about all of the other digital collections I have, and the rather messy state most of them are in.


Decluttering my email will be my top priority, as I use it all the time. It’s going to be a hefty job, though, because in the past I’ve often decided to “get organized” and as a result have a gazillion labels which I probably don’t need, plus a ton of filters that are fine, only I’m probably better off unsubscribing to things rather than filtering them. I found this system particularly interesting, and will probably be incorporating some form of it with my email.


My Evernote account is another disaster area. I started off with too many notebooks, and then I read about a system that used only a few notebooks and lots of different tags, which I decided to implement. And then a little down the road I read of a different system which said to use one main notebook, the “inbox” and I thought, oh, what a truly splendid idea, so I implemented that system instead. Of course, the crux of that system is that you need to go into Evernote regularly and sort through all the stuff you’ve added. Which I obviously have not been doing. And the situation now? Everything is in my Inbox notebook but hardly anything is tagged. Plus I have tags like “book” and “books” and need to sort that kind of thing out.


I love my Pocket app. I use it all the time, so much so that Pocket sent me a nice little email at the end of the year letting me know I’d won the honour of being in their Top 5% of Pocket readers. And they even did up a nice Webpage of my stats here. But the thing about all my activity on Pocket? I have a wonderful archive of articles I’ve read – and nothing is tagged! I typically just send stuff to Pocket, and then when I’m reading, I kind of read from newest to oldest of the unread, and that’s about it. It would be nice if I at least tagged the articles in my archive …

Google Drive

The main Google Drive account I use actually isn’t so bad, mainly because I don’t have that many things in it. But I have another account which has used up almost all the space Google’s given me, probably because I used to use it to store my old iPhone photos. I’d upload them without much thought, either, so there are photos being stored that shouldn’t even be stored, such as blurred patches of ground and other camera mishaps. And I didn’t know then what I know now, that you can upload your photos to your Google+ account, and as long as they’re under a certain size, they don’t count against any of your Google Drive storage space!


I started backing up work files to Dropbox for “just in case”, but until recently I didn’t really have any particular system. I did the same with my writing files – but not all my writing files – and again, I kind of just uploaded rather haphazardly rather than using a particular, well-thought-out folder system. I have no clue why I did this, as I’m pretty good with the file system on my hard drive. But anyway, things are a real mess here. Luckily, organizing Dropbox is something that can be done through Windows Explorer, so I don’t anticipate things being too difficult. And I don’t have to tag anything, which is very nice. One very odd thing, though – I use the Carousel app to automatically save my iPhone photos to Dropbox (a necessity, because I only have 16G on my phone) but sometimes, I can’t find them on Dropbox. I’m hoping decluttering will help me solve that particular problem.

So these are my digital “problem areas” when it comes to decluttering.  How organized are you, digitally? Do you have some digital decluttering to do this year?

A Reading Commitment, and Keeping Tracking of What I’ve Read

In my last post (MORE), I wrote about how I wanted to do more reading this year.

I’ve been thinking about this a lot in the past few days. Because, just when I thought I’d be less busy, I picked up a few more deadlines and suddenly, once again, there’s a lot less time in my day to do the things I want.

And from experience, the first of my priorities to go down the drain when I get busy with deadlines is my reading.

A Reading Commitment

Last year, I got my writing vibe back by making one simple change: I committed to making my writing a priority. I wrote before I did anything else. After the first couple of weeks, it just became something that I did. I didn’t have to explain or justify or rationalize (to myself, I mean – I discovered I had a whole stash of negative self-talk about taking the time to write when I had deadlines). That’s the great thing about making something a priority.

And it worked! After years of never finishing anything, I started and finished the first draft of one of my novels in two months.

So, given my success with my writing when I made it a priority, I’ve decided I’m going to do the same with my reading.

After all, my intention in starting this blog in the first place was to help myself to read more. As Stephen King says, “If you want to be a writer, you must do two things above all others: read a lot and write a lot.” I’m back on track with the writing-a-lot – now all I have to is get my reading vibe back.

Keeping Track

Now all I have to do is try and figure out a really, really good way to keep track of everything I read this year. I’ve tried all sorts of methods – last year, it was a combination of Pinterest and Goodreads, and for a very brief space of time, an actual, physical reading notebook in which I jotted down my thoughts about what I was reading – but still, no success.

After reading this post by science fiction writer Jamie Todd Rubin that describes in part how he has a Reading notebook set up on his Evernote account, I’m toying with the idea of using Evernote to track my reading. I think it might work for me because:

  1. I usually have my phone with me, and while I do have the Evernote app on my phone, it’s even quicker to jot down the title of the book in an email and email it to my Evernote account.
  2. If I don’t have my phone with me, chances are good I’ll have something else nearby with which I can send an email to Evernote.
  3. I DON’T HAVE TO DATE ANYTHING! (Yes, I do like this point in particular. I really hate putting the date on things. I don’t know why.) Each note in Evernote automatically carries the date it was added.

I’m already keeping my to-read list on Evernote and my “things to request from the library when I have more time to read” list there as well. So why not make Evernote my ultimate reading productivity app?

It makes sense to me. I’ll let you all know how it goes.

What about you? Do you have any tips on how to make time for reading?