Evernote, I’m Home!

Why I’m Returning After a Year Apart

At the beginning of 2017, I stopped using Evernote after nine years. They had just released a complete redesign of their iOS apps, which I primarily use for college, and my pleasant, productive experience was instantly destroyed. I simply found I couldn’t use the service anymore, and while I neared 4000 notes, I started searching for replacements.

I found this article on The Verge about Bear, and I fell in love with the aesthetic (something very important to me — I need to enjoy looking at the app I use the most every day) and it seemed to have good functionality. I missed the handwriting integration (I have an iPad Pro) and even when they added sketching, it wasn’t a feasible feature for longform note-taking. So I used Bear for all my typed notes, PDF storage, and the like. And then I switched back and forth between the Apple Notes app, GoodNotes, Paper by 53, and Noteshelf 2 for my handwriting needs. I was a bit of a mess, but I couldn’t really decide on which program I liked the best, and I could no longer use Penultimate because I was no longer using Evernote. Each app offered something I really needed, but lacked something else.

I spent some time working in Notebook by ZOHO as well, which touts itself as the perfect Evernote replacement. It worked well too, but I just didn’t love using it.

Eventually, as my girlfriend’s Evernote subscription ended, she asked me to transfer her notes to the system I was uysing, so I imported all her notebooks to Bear. She hated it. She couldn’t forward her emails to it, the Bear web clipper was too simple, and the interface seemed cluttered and confusing to her. That got me thinking. Surely Evernote must have improved if someone could look at Bear, a beautifully-designed app, and see it as cluttered and confusing in comparison. So I took another look at Evernote, just over a year after having left it.

At first, it didn’t look like much had changed. It still seemed a little slow to load up, and frankly, all my notes, notebooks, and tags just frightened me (I had almost 4000 notes, remember.)

And so the purge began. Every notebook I knew wasn’t actually that important I deleted completely. Everything superfluous was killed off. I deleted almost all of my tags. It felt good.

And then I looked at my note count. I still had about 3300 notes, but that was okay. Everything suddenly felt lighter, and I could begin reintegrating Evernote into my life.

One week later, and I’m back to where I was for 9 years: wondering how on earth I ever survived without it.

The truth is a trap … you cannot get the truth by capturing it, only by its capturing you. — Søren Kierkegaard, Journals.

The truth is a trap … you cannot get the truth by capturing it, only by its capturing you. — Søren Kierkegaard, Journals.