In my previous blog post I provided an overview of Evernote and Dropbox, both of which are extremely useful cloud services. I thought the post may help people who are having difficulty differentiating between the two services as well as show you why using both is actually a pretty good idea. While I touched on some general ideas previously, I thought I’d give you a brief insight into the setup I’ve been using for the past year or so. As I said previously there is no “right” or “wrong” here – it’s what works best for you. My current setup may inspire you to try something similar, or you may you think that I’ve done it all wrong. In either case, it will push you go move one way or the other, right?
So here’s how it works, at least for me…and this will work for Windows & Mac. I have three folders where I store pretty much everything on my computer:
It is here that I save all of my larger documents. Dropbox is great for files such as PDF, Word, Excel, Music, Video, Photos…even your 1Password backup file. Some examples of “larger files” would be files like my resume, my wedding video, the e-books I’ve purchased online, documentation about my house (home inspection), files/notes from school, and my ENTIRE iPhoto Library. I should mention that I subscribe to the Dropbox Pro plan, but that’s only because I choose to keep my entire photo library (about 50GB) in the cloud. If I omitted my photo library from this plan I could easily get by with a free Dropbox account. If you do decide to go “Pro” and store you photos in the cloud, this article may help. Just don’t forget to check the size of your photo library. You don’t want to be uploading a 40GB photo library when you’re rocking a 30GB monthly plan with your Internet Service Provider. This method does take some time to setup, but knowing your photos are safe in the event of a fire or total system failure – well, that’s kind of reassuring.
This is where I store what I like to call the “scraps” of my life. Blog post ideas, instruction manuals (some of which are PDF files – that’s okay), receipts from things like home improvement projects or car repairs, web page/magazine clippings that I want to view later, business cards from various people, vacation planning, recipes…I could go on forever. The point is, these are things that would be an absolute nightmare to find if I saved them all in just a regular old folder on my computer. Just imagine, a folder full of Home Depot receipts! With Evernote I can quickly scan through things like receipts or business cards. They even provide a search feature that searches the text within your notes – even handwriting!
This is a folder that I’ve created, and it resides on my Mac only. It’s backed up of course, but it exists only on my desktop computer and the external hard drive that is attached to it. This is where I store files that are of a more personal nature. Mortgage/real estate documents, and other documents related to banking, work, income tax, health records etc.
Depending on your trust in the “cloud”, you may want to do away with the “local documents” folder. It’s entirely up to you. Have there been moments where I wished I could view a document in my local folder from work or from out of town? Yes, but they’re few and far between. It’s not that Evernote and Dropbox aren’t trustworthy, and it’s not as though their security is sub-par. It’s just that I prefer to keep more private documents off the cloud. That’s just me.
So hopefully that gives you an idea of how to better incorporate these two powerful cloud services into your life. You can see that in addition to saving you a lot of time (by making data accessible anywhere), they also provide an extra layer of redundancy that could very well save your butt the day your computer decides to lay down and die.
…And don’t kid yourself. That day is coming – you may as well prepare for it.