A tale of two things cloud.

I’m a email Gmail addict. No, I do not get hundreds of emails a day but nevertheless I end up spending a lot of time with Gmail (i.e. on gmail.com) as it’s Google that made email interesting again.

If you go back to early 2000s (or the pre-Gmail era) then you perfectly remember that you hated your inbox (whether it’s Hotmail or Yahoo Mail) – thanks to “massive” 2 MB storage space and “beautiful” pop-up and banner ads.

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Evernote and Gmail: A tale of two things cloud.

When Google launched Gmail on  1st April 2004, they reinvented email. Because, when Hotmail, Yahoo, etc. were offering a single-digit storage space Gmail offered 1,000 MB (or 1 GB) of free storage space.

Moreover it introduced several new concepts like Labels (instead of folders), Archiving (instead of deletion), powerful Search and Filter functions etc. See Gmail Ninja.

So, what’s the point?

I just wanted to say that I’ve found my “Second Inbox”. How? Because just like Gmail, Evernote is becoming more addictive than ever. If there’s a web 2.0 productivity app that’s as addictive as Gmail then it has to be Evernote (at least for me!).

That exactly is the reason why I’ve written a bunch of blog posts dedicated to Evernote — like here, here, or here. Evernote changed the way I take notes — ever since I started using it back in 2011. In fact, whenever I offer an Evernote tip (just like Gmail) to someone else it becomes “Hey, I didn’t know I could do it” kind of thing for them.

Coming back…

What the hell is “Second Inbox”?

The best thing about Gmail (or one of my favorite Gmail features) is “Archive”. In fact, Google’s own vision about Gmail was “Stop Deleting. Start Archiving.” and that’s how I find email interesting.

I started practising “Inbox Zero” when I started using Gmail. In other words, if I had emails in my Inbox then it means I’ve got work to do.

Now I find Evernote addictive. And I am constantly thinking how to make best use of it by creating my own ‘system’ of doing and organizing stuff.

Evernote is so flexible that you can use it the way you want — as a note-taker, task manager, email service, save for later, to-do list, cloud storage, planner etc. Anyhow, I use it as a note-taker only.

However, I recently found  that Evernote is not just a fantastic note-taker app but it can also be a “Second Inbox”.

I was already using Evernote (like I’m using Gmail). That is, I have a notebook called “Inbox” where I put all the ‘new’ notes, clippings, etc. and then work on it and move to a relevant “Notebook” or delete it (if it’s not something required) to achieve “Evernote Zero”.

The problem with Evernote is its “Note Count”. It annoys me. At any given point of time there are too many notes (or essentially tasks) to do. And it goes on increasing as I read/write more.

My “Evernote Inbox” remained empty most of the time but the total number of notes kept on increasing and increasing.

It’s like what are you gonna do when you have a hundred blog post ideas pending (and counting) and you are equally passionate about every single topic. And that too, when you have a problem translating thoughts to words.

When I shared this “too much notes” problem with a friend, who apparently is a garden blogger, she introduced me the Warren Buffett way of getting things done and the power of elimination.

Here is the strategy:

If you have so many things you’d like to do, make a list of the top 5-10.

Then review the list and place a checkmark next to those which can be done the easiest in the least amount of time.

Then place another check mark by those that cost the least.

Then place a star next to the ones you’d most enjoy doing.

Circle any that have two check marks and a star.

So from there, you may only have one or two things left to decide from and can start with the one that’s most cost effective and fun.

It was a protip. And as you can see, it’s all about prioritizing.

In simple words,

“F.O.C.U.S: Follow One Course Until Successful”

I was super impressed with this strategy and the next thing  I wanted to do was to create an Evernote ‘system’ to shortlist and identify such tasks (notes in this case). And I think I did it.

Here’s how:

Evernote FOCUS

  • I created a tag in Evernote called: Upcoming and then created 3 subtags called: Start, Work, and Love.
  • I tagged the top 10-15 notes (it can be a task or a blog post) that are of high priority with: “Upcoming”.
  • I assigned the tag “Start” to all the notes — within Upcoming — that can be started quickly.
  • I assigned the tag “Work” to the notes — within Upcoming — that requires least amount of work or effort.
  • I assigned the tag “Love” to all the notes — within Upcoming — that I’d enjoy the most.
  • I created a custom search filter (tag:”Start” tag:”Work” tag:”Love”) that shows all the notes tagged with: Start, Work, and Love and named it “Next”.
  • I can now FOCUS on the notes returned by the above search filter by moving them to “Inbox” (or my “Second Inbox”).

Don’t Miss: Over 71 Gmail Tips & Tricks To Make You A “Gmail Ninja”

A quick reminder:

I didn’t mean in any way that Evernote can replace your email (or Gmail).

In fact, Evernote ISN’T Gmail. But…

Here’s Why Evernote Can Be Your ‘Second’ Inbox

  • Your Evernote comes with unlimited storage.
  • You can attach anything in note.
  • You can add notes to Evernote via email.
  • You get a unique @m.evernote.com email address that can be used to receive emails.
  • You can send emails from Evernote to any other email address.
  • Your notes are all searchable.
  • You can automate Evernote workflow with IFTTT or Zapier.

Here’s Why Evernote Can’t Be Your ‘Primary’ Inbox

  • There’s a note size limit of 25 MB (for Basic — same as Gmail’s attachment size limit), 50 MB (for Plus), and 200 MB (for Premium).
  • There’s a monthly upload limit of 60 MB (for Basic), 1 GB (for Plus), and 10 GB (for Premium).
  • There’s a maximum note count limit of 100,000 (for Basic, Plus, and Premium).
  • There’s a maximum notebook count limit of 250 (for Basic, Plus, and Premium).
  • The maximum number of daily incoming emails (to an Evernote account) is 5 (for Basic) and 200 (for Plus and Premium).
  • The maximum number of daily outgoing emails (from an Evernote account) is 50 (for Basic) and 200 (for Plus and Premium).

You can go here to see all the applicable system limits of Evernote.

Don’t Miss: 11 Reasons Why I Love Dropbox — And You Should Too

Closing Thoughts

I must say that the “F.O.C.U.S” strategy did help me to prioritize things. But I’m yet to create a ‘system’ to write and publish blog posts faster (like Kevan or Belle).

So, the next challenge for me is to get things (primarily writing) done faster. Because it’s still taking me ages to compose a blog post from research, to writing, to editing, and finally to publishing.

Happy Evernoting! :)

P.S. No, no, no — Evernote didn’t pay me to write this. I just wanted to archive LeAura’s tip on this blog and that’s it. :D

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Mahesh Mohan

Agnostic, Apolitical, Bluephile, Brutally honest, Curious, Digital Creator, Finance geek, Marketing ninja, Microsoft fanatic, Multi-passionate nerd, Overthinker, Perfectionist, Workaholic.

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About Mahesh (@maheshone)

Mahesh Mohan

Agnostic, Apolitical, Bluephile, Brutally honest, Curious, Digital Creator, Finance geek, Marketing ninja, Microsoft fanatic, Multi-passionate nerd, Overthinker, Perfectionist, Workaholic.

Say hi: @maheshone

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