Bullet Journal: Marshaling Research Info and Files

Dream Realization: Marshaling Research Info & Files. (Mandarin Duck (Asia). Snapped @ Sylvan Heights Bird Park, Scotland Neck, NC)

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TL;DR

♦️ Pub: Jan 1, 2018 | Updated: Aug 29, 2018 | Reading: 3 min. | Words: 1,283 ♦️
Any dream worthy of the label necessitates learning something new. That reality implicates research → files. Taking time now to create a friendly storage & retrieval system saves time long term.  Experience, a harsh teacher, encouraged serial tweaks to my system, resulting in the final version described in this article.

Dreams → Research → Organizing Info Files ( → Read → Implement)

Thanks to Google and its sleuthing siblings, finding relevant information presents no obstacle. The looming problem concerns creating and maintaining mechanisms for easy retrieval, not to mention ongoing awareness of the growing stash’s particulars.

Enlisting Empowering Free Aides: Preparation Phase

  1. Open an IFTTT account.
  2. Open a Google Drive (gDrive) or Dropbox account

    • Personal preference: gDrive, per easy CONTENTS searchability.
    • Create a new directory (mine: 0-new)
    • (photos? Didcha know? A search on, say, bluebird, pulls those birds into view. It ain’t a perfect search results list, but it’s good enough to provide genuine assistance.)

  3. Install the PrintFriendly bookmarklet to your favorite browsers
    • Google Chrome bookmarks sync between desktop and mobile when signed into your account. Safari syncs via iCloud. Read: goodness on our mobile devices.

1️⃣ IFTTT

IFTTT: App1 + App2 = efficiency
IFTTT: App1 + App2 = efficiency

An illustration best conveys the prowess of this vital-to-me tool.

The name of every file I save to gDrive, with date / time and folder location of saving, travels to my (free) EverNote account. Each entry appends to a single designated EverNote file. The file’s name follows a specific format, i.e. Research.2018

On the last day of each month, I change the EverNote file name:
→ Research.2018.07.

Because I research frequently, this extra step ensures the EverNote files remain manageable in terms of size.

The “applet” yielding the described result:

Google Drive: if I add a file to my 0-new directory
Evernote: then append the name, date, and time to the Research file in my EverNote InBox.

Why? I can’t add notes (without grief) to the actual files within gDrive. But I can add checkmarks, thoughts, etc directly to the precise entry within the EverNote file. It’s also easier to review that one listing vs scrounging through gDrive.

The iOS system’s keyboard text replacement feature includes my additions, such as , appearing whenever I type chk. For me, it’s quicker and more reliable than EverNote’s check-it feature.

In short, gDrive muscles searchable storage. EverNote embraces notes. Within the BuJo Daily Log reflecting the date of research, I insert a notation in the left margin, preceding the task sparking the research: gD.  This memory jogger ensures my awareness of related Google Drive files during subsequent BuJo review sessions.

2️⃣ Google Drive / gDrive

gDrive
gDrive

We all know the search elephant in any room. DropBox search instigates my LoL response, while Google satisfies. By the way, a handy cheat sheet:

→ How to Search Google Drive Like a Pro!

3️⃣ PrintFriendly Bookmarklet

PrintFriendly Bookmarklet
PrintFriendly Bookmarklet

EverNote’s annual price increases, without overall stability enhancements, triggered the death of my annual premium subscription. This  tool allowed me to finesse the Premium EverNote escape. EverNote’s free account proves adequate since my use is limited.

Scenario →  You see a web page worthy of saving. Punch the bookmarklet. During the PDF conversion, all crap on the page disappears. You’re left with the meat, with the page url visibly imprinted within the clean PDF.

I save to Google Drive, where search missions are friendly, including the contents of that bookmarklet-generated PDF file. Incidentally, at least 98% of my research missions are conducted via iPad, so no mobility hassles using this superb helpmate.

Nailing Storage Scheme Specifics

Pay attention! The wrong tool will confuse, not infuse
Pay attention! The wrong tool will confuse, not infuse

Once upon a time, I diligently saved files to perceived “relevant” folders. This led to innumerable searchFests and dang-near-bald-y’all head scratching. I lacked a way to discern what I did vs didn’t read. Lesson learned: KISS!!

A revised scheme materialized. Every file lands in the same 0-new gDrive folder. I transfer to a subject-sensitive directory only after I’ve digested the content. Result: if a file hangs out in the 0-new ‘hood, I know it’s awaiting my attention.

I also take a moment to insert a keyword at the beginning of the saved file name. Example: I researched Pinterest analytics, because my maiden visits to that screen inspired serial “duuuh“s. Each related file begins with the same  word: Pinterest. A quick tap yields an alphabetical listing, with all PINTEREST files hanging out next to each other.

Handling Special Notations

Jibun Techo Biz Mini as Bullet Journal as self-management bible
Jibun Techo Biz Mini as Bullet Journal as self-management bible

My Jibun Techo Biz Mini —the core of my bullet journal— includes (Jibun Idea) booklets tucked into its front and back covers.

The 2 front (grid) booklets = Pam’s World, notations I deem necessary for self-management, including the Daily Log. The lined booklet and another grid booklet, in the back, focus on my OnLine World.

Every note triggered by review of one or more gDrive files gets dumped into my Daily Log, using the same black 0.3mm Pilot Juice Up gel ink pen. My daily routine includes an “Admin”istrative session, including review of that Log. If an initial notation constitutes a project in disguise, I’ll iron out those steps during a planning session. Yes, a section of the Pam’s World booklets is bookmarked for hammering out project specifics.

WrapUp of my Info Organizational Scheme

  • Every handwritten note, regardless of category, moves into my bullet journal ‘hood.
  • I duplicate nothing; I tolerate no overlaps. My hardlandscape calendar reflects only real events and inescapable deadlines. My wanna-do-by‘s populate a separate calendar.
  • Every web page I want to retain: PrintFriendly → PDF → searchable gDrive.
  • IFTTT: new gDrive /0-new file append to EverNote InBox Research file.

A simple system will not morph into an approaching vampire, inducing avoidance. I know all untouched files residing  in the same gDrive’s 0-new folder. I know the bullet journal Daily Log hosts all wedded-to-paper late-breaking notes. I know project particulars hang out in the same condo. I know all unread files live in the 0-new gDrive folder. Clean. Simple. Efficient.

 


Call to Action

Goals = need to learn = research = files. There’s enough stuff out here to threaten progress. For a time, my storage system induced headaches. I now respect the fact that a storage and retrieval system must work with, as opposed to against, me. This article describes my choices.
Does your self-management scheme adequately address the issue of digital file storage / retrieval? Is is easy to maintain? Can you get your hands on what’s needed quickly?
Decide the worth of your dreams, and time. I strongly suspect the direct result will be tweaking, or creating, a friendly system.

Dream Realization: Marshaling Research Info & Files. (Mandarin Duck (Asia). Snapped @ Sylvan Heights Bird Park, Scotland Neck, NC)
Dream Realization: Marshaling Research Info & Files. (Mandarin Duck (Asia). Snapped @ Sylvan Heights Bird Park, Scotland Neck, NC)

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