A few months ago, I came across this great post by Spacenexus on TheBrain and Evernote. The key paragraph was this:
The scenario in linear systems is that you can spend 1 minute tagging and linking your 8 articles and 2 papers, but at the point of retrieval, you may spend 10 minutes finding and sorting the information. That is time you need to be reviewing the information, not searching for it. If you've added another 10 items over the subsequent month to the original active thought, you can see how the linear systems can be inadequate. Being a brain user you are already familiar with this concept.
At the time, I had about 2,000 notes in Evernote and I was running into some problems with retrieval. I had used the trial TheBrain Pro Version for some business applications and I liked what I saw. I decided to take the plunge and buy the Pro license and use TheBrain for business and personal use.

For business, TheBrain has been useful. I use it to create and review various structures and projects.

For personal use, I'm finding TheBrain to be too much work with not enough payoff. Evernote, with all its flaws and limitations, is quicker and easier to use. And I'm not especially interested in integrating TheBrain with Evernote to try to get "the best of both worlds". I feel that I'll be spending too much time on recording stuff and I'll have significantly less time to do stuff.

There are several specific reasons why I'm thinking of no longer using TheBrain for personal use, and I was going to list them but I'm pretty sure that anyone reading this post is familiar with the pros and cons of each.

Just wondering if anybody has any comments about what I'm considering, besides this line by Rick Blaine and Spacenexus: "You'll regret it. Maybe not today, but soon and for the rest of your life". [wink]


Based on my own past, here are the questions I'd ask myself:

Have I made major moves like this before, more than once even?
Is there a chance that this is just something I'm doing because I'm feeling unproductive and I'm looking outward, rather than inward for the source of the problem?
If I have used [software in question] before, but decided I didn't like it, why did I decide that, and what is different now?
If I started working right now on the outcome directed project I know I need to do next, is there a chance this desire to change might just dissipate?
How would I feel if making this change was being forced upon me?
Am I spending time recording about stuff that I should be doing instead?
Seriously, if every electronic gadget associated with my present system disappeared today, would I still be able to work, and if so, what would guide me to my next task?
Do I really need to write down everything I'm going to do and have done? 

IMHO, TheBrain is just another way to look at a database. That's all any of these programs are. I'm very comfortable knowing that I can find things quickly in TB. There's nothing like it that I've found. I found Evernote's interface to be baffling from a creativity standpoint (I went all in, btw, used it for a couple of years and completed some very major projects using Evernote Business, etc). I also use OmniFocus, but the number of items I place in it has gotten pared down so much that the whole paradigm seems like overkill. If I'm on top of my work, then I really just need something that allows me to build my lists, which may simply end up in my pocket. The hierarchical structure of programs like Things, OF, ToodleDo, Evernote with checkboxes, etc., requires too much forethought for me, and I don't feel that resistance in TB.

All of TB isn't perfect (the calendar is mostly useless to me and causes crashes), but I trust it because it allows me change my structure with very little penalty when the urge strikes. That's my .02. Good luck finding something that you can settle into for the long haul. It makes the trip more pleasant. :-)

OSX 10.13 
iMac (Retina 5K, 27-inch, Late 2015)
3.3 GHz Intel Core i5
32 GB 1867 MHz DDR3
If Evernote works the way you work, has features you need that TB doesn't have, or fits better with how your mind works (a lot of people prefer lists or disparate notes to a more visual approach) then switching back to Evernote makes sense.
For example, Evernote quick capture still runs circles around TB, it has more APIs, an e-mail to, browser plug-ins, it's mobile app is better than TBs. Also, if you want to see where you were when you wrote notes EN has it.

For me, I keep wanting to like and use EN, but it doesn't stick. I find it difficult to get data out of Evernote. I find searching for thoughts much quicker in TB using instant search than Evernote, and it's Extended search is just as good. I prefer how TB shows relations and has a visual display. I would put TB's note taking ability as on par with Evernotes, and quite frankly I think they could both use improvement. Finally I like the way I can have a note, and a file and a web page in a singe thought. It can represent and include multiple things. Or I can just have a thought for a website, so I can use it as a bookmark holder. Or I can simply reference a file or an image. To me a thought has more versatility than an Evernote note (which may be entirely because I'm very used to working within and the presentation of TB).

One thing that you may consider if you find building a structure in TB to be too much overhead is perhaps you are overthinking it. I did this for years, which is why I brought it up. Everything had a category and a specific place in a structure. It got to be a pain to add a thought and get it linked. Once I got comfortable with instant search I slowly but surely gave up, so now I link things where they make sense, and don't when they don't. Not everything needs to have it's place. Often I'll add something into an Inbox thought and that is where it will stay until I find something related, or I start building out an area of research or interest. 

Ultimately I think the main thing is, find a tool that is comfortable for you to use, can grow with your usage, and that works for what you need to do. Then stick with it unless it no longer meets your needs or your use case. [smile]
macOS 10.14.5
TheBrain 10.0.51
Another thing I forgot to mention, but that I've run into when using TinderBox and Evernote, DevonThink and other hierarchical structured database managers. I have quite a bit o' stuff in TheBrain, but when I select a thought I can see related information to the topic I'm focused on, and nothing else. The related information is what I've determined is related, not "best guess based on content", which unfortunately requires more work, but fortunately (as I mentioned above) it's only work I need to do on areas that I visit often and want access to other related information.

So I find TheBrain excels at keeping a lot o' stuff, but only showing me what I want to see. I can achieve sorta the same thing using tags and folders in Evernote, DevonThink, and in Tinderbox I can hoist or create maps, but it requires just as much work to create and remember the tags or which folder something goes in, as it does to link thoughts in TheBrain. And the end result for me is more overwhelming when I'm working on an area. This is why I only use Tinderbox for focused areas.

I hope this doesn't come across as "TheBrain is the best and you should use it because of awesomeness", I mean it more as a "I've experimented with stuff and this is what I found works for me, it might help you but you may relate to or want to view information completely differently."  [smile]
macOS 10.14.5
TheBrain 10.0.51
I now use Evernote as "everyhting-box" ... i throw whatever possible in it, WebClippings, notes, files, images etc. All goes into the inbox, which i clean up constantly, and whatever seems important to me  as link or even as file (as backup) into TheBrain, where i link it with keywords, put it in bigger contexts etc. This way the brain becomes some sort of "Zettelkasten" / database of the articles and stuff thats important to me, with all its advantages, while Evernote simply stores (and makes accesible) everything.

I think Evernote & TB can be complimentary. Different tools for different things. 

Especially with the new quick template functions. 

I use Nozbe + Evernote for my planning and projects, task management. 

I do sync one TB brain with Nozbe (via GCal) - for logging my weekly & quarterly reviews into TB. 

Typical uses for Evernote: Book reviews, meeting notes, scans of paper notebooks, scans of letters, copies of important emails, photos of whiteboards, other misc stuff when out and about. Voice notes. Archive of research material that I not longer need in any other system; for when I am done with a topic of interest.  

I keep my Evernote tidy, with Notebooks and a clear tagging strategy. A free Filterize account helps tidy my tag system. Evernote is really only any good if the notes are at least tidy and tagged. I have some saved searches for generic quick finds.  

If I am building a database of information for a subject or interest (currently Autism, Human Evolution, Genomics ) I clip pages and anything into Devonthink Pro Office. I use Bookends for my reference system. 

I use the Brain to THINK - connect ideas. 

Maybe a way to look at each Evernote page (if dealt with properly) is a "super thought" too much material for one TB thought; but not organised enough to deserve separate ones. Kind of a loose archive of thoughts and ideas. 

I also use iMindMap (to make pretty mind maps for sharing or summarising a topic); Tinderbox for plotting complex issues. I have also found Zengobi's Curio good for martialing material. 

Depends on what you are trying to do. Though it is a good idea to have clearly defined roles for each tool. 


So I have used a million Notes system and still do, and Evernote was one of them. But I tend to jot down a lot of things and Evernote just became a big blot of tags and folders. Finding things in Evernote just became unruly, and I frequently spent a lot of time just organizing the notes when I was unable to find the answer I want or found way too much.

Tagging is great, but you have to remember the tags and what they are related to. 

What I went to is a program called Notebooks that just lets me throw notes in to a folder based structure in any format I want such as HTML, Mark Down, PDF, and Text and import PDF pages in to it directly. This gives me the ability to just organize by folders and tasks, but also also allows me the following process:

  • Link to the document using notebooks://show/...blah blah (Which is available on both iPad, Mac and Windows to the same file resource) (this is available in Evernote)
  • Since the files are just documents on disk it allows allows me to copy and bring them in to the brain from the same thought,
  • Since they are HTML a lot of time, I can just copy them in notes for searching. 
  • But also create some apple scripts to automate these features for me (I have example apple scripts in the forums here for working with TheBrain GUI and command lines, but since I have not migrated from PB8, I did not change them). 

The biggest reason why I mentioned it, is that as mentioned by a number of people in the thread, it is the relationship that is hard to come up with in any of the file and folder structured programs. For a while I even created links between the documents, but this was so hard.... go find document copy link, paste link, paste the other link ... it turned in to a separate maintenance job. The one thing I look from any program is the ability to have LINKS to the documents within the program, which most of my programs do. Then what I really want is the ability to import the information in to the Brain, and also put it in such a way to search it.

Just an FYI I am not associated with Notebooks in any way, but if you wanted to try the IOS version for free, I just noticed on their blog that it is free for a limited time for their 10th Anniversary (https://www.notebooksapp.com/celebrating-notebooks-10th-anniversary/)

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