Years ago, there was a web service called CloudMagic that searched for a user’s files in nearly all of his/her online accounts. For example, if I forgot where I stored a particular document, I could use CloudMagic to search for it in Dropbox, Evernote, Gmail, etc.
(CloudMagic has since pivoted into an email app.)
As someone who finds it near-impossible to just choose one place to store my ideas and files, I tend to have my data spread over many places: Evernote, Dropbox, Google Drive, iCloud Drive, locally on my Mac, other siloed apps. And often I just can’t remember where I put something (digitally, at least–my keys are always with my wallet).
So I decided to keep a “where” file. I have a markdown file that lives on one of my password-protected subdomains so that I can view it on the web. (I am using Fastmail to store my file, and I use markdeep to automatically render the markdown file into HTML.)
Each area of concern has its own subheader, followed by bullet points containing locations of various pieces of data. A simple example: sometimes I tag an article about
cholesterol in Pinboard, and other times I webclip a selection into Evernote or just journal about that aspect of my health into Evernote, and tag the entry with
cholesterol. As far as I know, this is a comprehensive list of any place on the web where I would have documented or saved articles about the topic. I may not necessarily remember if I clipped an article to Evernote or just saved it to Pinboard, but I can be confident that these are the only two places where I would find stuff about cholesterol.
Depending on the topic, sometimes I include the URL of an email folder in Fastmail, or the path to a directory on my Mac. If I know the location of a specific file that I will frequent, I will note it as such–e.g., “xyz.opml lives at
It’s far from a perfect system. For brain dumps, I fluctuate between Drafts for iOS, Evernote, and Apple’s Notes app. God knows where I would have entered any specific piece of information, and I don’t expect Siri to reliably find it for me. Sometimes I don’t even know the search query I would use; I may just be thinking, “I know so-and-so told me the name of a band.” But for the important stuff, I find my “where” file to make my life easier.
What’s your system?