Dream Realization: Marshaling Research Info and Files

Dream Realization: Marshaling Research Info and Files

TL;DR

Any dream worthy of the label necessitates learning something new. Experience, a harsh teacher, encouraged my described file saving scheme.

Estimated Reading Time: 4 minutes

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 searchability.
    • Create a new directory (mine: 0-new)
  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.

On the last day of each month, I change the EverNote file name, adding the month and year, i.e.
→ Research.2017.12

Because I research frequently, this extra step ensures the 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, time, and folder 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. I sometimes add a see xyz note in my bullet journal. But for the most part, since the files are digital, digital tools provide a better compliment for my needs.

 

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 singular tool allowed me to finesse the Premium EverNote escape. EverNote’s free account proves adequate since my use is limited.

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.

 

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!! (Keep It Simple, Stupid).

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 carries the same first word: Pinterest. A quick click of gDrive’s sort by title gathers all these files for easier eyeballing.

 

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. Three booklets present a roughly 3mm grid background. The fourth (a trimmed B6 Rayman List) instead provides narrow-lined paper.

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

  1. Every handwritten note, regardless of category, moves into my bullet journal ‘hood.
  2. 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.
  3. Every web page I want to retain: PrintFriendly → PDF → searchable gDrive.
  4. 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 reside in 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. Bonus: I conduct 99% of my online missions from my iPad; everything essential to this scheme smiles at the tablet.

 

Call to Action

Goals = need to learn = research = files. There’s enough stuff out here to threaten progress. Storage and retrieval must work with you. This article describes my choices. What are yours?

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