Evernote tip 9: Index the physical

Like a lot of people I rely on Evernote as my external brain, but my use of Evernote extends beyond the digital realm to the physical realm too.

But first, a quick quiz. Can you identify this?


No? You know what? Neither can I. But somehow this weird piece of plastic turned up in my home office one day, and I was left with a dilemma with which I am sure you too are familiar.

Throw it away?

On the one hand, I could throw it away. The thing is, if I did that, then you can be absolutely sure that within a week or so, it will turn out that that piece of plastic was absolutely vital to the functioning of a critical piece of household equipment.


“File” it?

On the other hand, I could decide to "file" it in that drawer I have. You don’t know which drawer I mean? Oh yes you do, it’s the same one you have, filled with cables for phones you no longer have, remote controls , batteries that may or may not be charged, and yes, nameless pieces of plastic.

If I decided to put it in that drawer then I can be equally sure I would never need it, and the only time I might touch it again is when I move house, although even that isn’t a sure thing. There is a fair chance it might follow me to my grave…


Evernote to the rescue

So what do I do? I choose the second option, BUT before I "file" it in that drawer or box, I also file it in Evernote by taking a photo and putting it in Evernote, and tag it to say where it is. This means that whenever I find out that I need that piece of plastic, all I need to do is scan through my "real world" notes and I can quickly and easily retrieve it.



Of course this use of Evernote isn’t restricted to anonymous pieces of plastic. I also use it to file other small objects that I can’t quite bring myself to recycle, but which I know I won’t be needing in the near future:


2 thoughts on “Evernote tip 9: Index the physical

  1. John mcLaughlin


    It’s funny because I commented to someone recently that I wish there was a way to “Scan” physical items into evernote like I scan documents — This is a pretty good compromise….


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