Tags are more useful than you think
But I’m betting you’ve made them a mess
Want to know how to make them work for you?
Tags seem to promise a solution but often don’t deliver.
One thought process often goes like this:
> “I want to remember this”
> “Here’s a number of things that come to mind about this”
> “I’ll write those as tags so I might see them later if I think of those”
And so, a sea of tags grows with every iteration of this same approach. Eventually, there are so many that they grow rather useless.
It can be very easy to throw tags at a file, hoping that one day, you’ll pick up that file magically by some search you are doing. Tagging without thought is like thinking you’ve kept something, but have really just thrown into an ever growing ocean. We just hope the ideas will wash ashore at the right time, even if we don’t really know what that right time is.
Still, tags can be very useful, so long as we build the other end of an **organizational bridge**.
To do so, deliberately consider where it would be helpful to see that tag or file.
One way would be to create link to a tag for where it would be helpful.
For example, I have a very deliberate path for my newsletters.
In DEVONthink, where I keep my drafts, I create a tag called “Newsletter idea”. Any time I have an idea for a newsletter or think that one of my notes might be useful for a newsletter, I tag it newsletter idea.
While this is already helpful as it has a dedicated use, we can take it further.
I now use the Copy as Link function:
![Copy Item Link in DEVONthink](x-devonthink-item://3CE085AF-690A-4D4D-9873-51628C502E58)
And paste that into a weekly repeating task in OmniFocus:
![Newsletter repeating task](x-devonthink-item://DE64971D-F282-49EC-BB85-B9717F83247E)
Now, since I know I visit my lists of tasks daily, I have a rapid way to pull up those thoughts when and where I’m ready to develop them. In this way, I have a direct handle to ideas whenever I’m ready for them.
It’s far too easy to just throw tags at something.
Instead, think of how and where it connects and create a bridge there.