Evernote Tip: The ‘Inbox’ Notebook

August 2, 2009 at 3:34 pm Leave a comment

This post explains how to set up an Evernote notebook titled ‘Inbox’, and how you might use it…

What Purpose does the ‘Inbox’ Notebook Serve?

For me, the Evernote Inbox notebook is used to store notes that you (for one reason or another) don’t have the time or means to act on or do justice. In a way it acts as a drafts folder.

When and How to use your Inbox

I initially set up my inbox as a bit of an experiment, but I now find I use it frequently and would struggle without it.

There tends to be two outcomes of notes being added to my inbox:

  1. The note is expanded upon, tags added and placed into an appropriate notebook.
  2. The note is a call to action and that action is performed (eg. the note tells me I want to subscribe to a web site, so I do so when I have the chance) – these notes are deleted once actioned.

I find I add notes to my inbox when:

  • I’m unable to dedicate the time to do a note justice
  • When I’m on the iPhone and I don’t have a keyboard to do the note justice.

Acting as a Drafts Folder

My Evernote InboxAs you’ll see below, I have the Inbox notebook set as my default notebook. This means that whenever you add a note but don’t specify a notebook (eg. this is the case when adding a note via an email) it will go in to your Inbox. This is ideal as it means notes won’t find there way into other notebooks unless you’ve explicitly placed them there (the fact you’ve placed a note somewhere also implies you are happy with the note – until that happens you can consider the note a Draft).

It’s worth getting into the habit of initially creating all notes in your Inbox. Then when you’re happy with it you can move it to the appropriate notebook. I realise I’m making a note out to be a work of art, but it’s all relative. A single line note maybe all that’s required, but until you that line of text up to scratch then its ideal to keep it in your inbox.

When to Check your Inbox

Personally speaking I don’t set a set time/frequency to check my inbox. Some people might take it upon themselves to check twice daily for instance. The less Evernote feels like a chore, the better it works for me.

Setting up an Inbox Notebook

An Inbox Notebook isn’t something that comes pre-defined with Evernote. Creating one is simple though:

  • Create a new notebook titled ‘Inbox’
  • Set your Inbox notebook as your Default Notebook

That’s it! :-)

How do you use yours?

The idea of the ‘Inbox’ certainly isn’t new. In terms of how I’m using it, the nearest and earliest example of an Inbox being used this way that I’m aware of is part of Getting Things Done. No doubt it pre-dates that too.

Given that it’s quite a common concept, I’d be interested to know how you use yours?

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Entry filed under: Evernote. Tags: , , , .

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