Inside Evernote Histories Notebook

It’s been a year since I started recording my online activities into Evernote. The “Histories” notebook shows 2651 notes saved — 220 notes a month, 7 notes a day. Here is what it looks like inside this notebook.

I saved my first note on November 20, 2013. It’s a photo of a Korean artist I’ve favorited on Instagram. Looking back into the first month, I was active on Twitter. I see a lot of favorites and retweets. I should be spending most of the time reading and writing, but I discovered half of the notes are from Twitter and Tumblr.

It’s fascinating to look back at what you’ve done on an exact day. Which article did I read? What tweet did post on Twitter? What status message did I share on Facebook?

Search Favorited Mentions in Evernote

The Histories Notebook has become a valuable resources in my workflow. It has saved me a lot of trouble whenever I need to refer to tweets I’ve posted or articles I’ve read. Recently I need to search for one of the tweets I’ve favorited for Word Counter review. The only thing I remember is the author of the tweet. What I did was simple. I entered “@ctietze” into the search menu and the results shows me tweets containing the search term. That saved me the hassle to scroll through author timeline or using the advanced Twitter search which considerably requires more time compared to a few seconds I spent in Evernote.

Search for Archived Articles in Evernote

Sometimes you want to quote one of the articles you’ve read in your writing or presentation. Finding them is easy if you’ve archived them in Evernote. For example, I can search for notes containing “productivity” that are tagged with Instapaper to view articles related to productivity. With the addition of Evernote Contexts, related notes are available at the bottom of the notes, making the process of finding similar notes much faster.

This notebook also helps me keep track of the events that attracted my attention. You can remember when and where met someone, or which conferences you gave a talk.

If you’ve kept up to this paragraph, I’m sure you want to create a new notebook to keep track of what you’ve done. Name it as Histories, Records, or Journals. Here is the list of IFTTT recipes I use in my Histories Notebook to help you getting started.

Shared IFTTT Channels

The most important thing when keeping a Histories Notebook is to automate. You don’t want to spend time creating notes in this notebook. Most of the common channels are available on IFTTT so you can turn on the channels you want to track, and create more recipes for your own needs.

Twitter

I choose to save only new tweets, favorited tweets, and retweets. The point I want to make with Twitter is I want to know what I’ve said, and what kind of contents that have caught my attention. Retweets is an agreement with what the poster have shared — it’s the original way to use Twitter by spreading the message to your followers. I avoid saving direct messages and mentions as it’s made for conversation. If you find mention worth saving, just hit the favorite button to have it sent to Evernote.

Facebook

Facebook is the least used channel in the list, but some of you might use it to connect with friends. The three most shared items on Facebook are status messages, photos, and links which I’ve included in these shared recipes.

Tumblr

This is the hub where I share short posts and tips related to iOS. I follow a couple of comic artists and book authors on this site where the short form content flourish. Austin Kleon’s is one of my favorites.

Instapaper or Pocket

Whether you’re using Pocket or Instapaper, make sure to save only articles you’ve read. This is the concept I introduced in Read Later Zero: build up reading list buffer, but ruthlessly eliminate boring articles. By archiving the articles you’ve read, you can make sure that the Histories Notebook is free from unread articles.

Instagram

Photos. Favorites.

Flickr

Flipboard shows me every photos on Flickr in a beautiful grids. If I want to save the photos, I can favorite to send them to Evernote.

LinkedIn

I’ve just setup this channel today since I’ve never been active on LinkedIn. It’s useful if you share status updates to your professional connection.

iOS Contact

Remember the date you meet new people every time you save a new contact in iPhone. The benefit with this approach is you can clean up the address book from people you’re no longer contacting, keeping the list for circle of close friends and family, yet manage to keep an archive of people who you’ve contacted before in Evernote.

Histories, Not Journal

I don’t treat this notebook as a journal. Keeping a journal is a different experience to me. I might pull a quote from one of the articles I’ve read. I might tell a story with one of the photos I’ve taken. But journal is where I’m being honest with myself, a kid roaming around without parent surveillance, a character in Grand Theft Auto that rampages over the city, or a star in this expanding space. I’m naked in the journal.

Meanwhile, Histories Notebook records what I’ve said, which articles I’ve read, and where I’ve gone. It shows the taken path, and you can only see those path if you start recording them now.