Jump to content

Welcome! You're currently a Guest.

If you'd like to join in the Discussion, or access additional features in our forums, please sign in with your Evernote Account here. Have an Evernote Account but forgot your password? Reset it! Don't have an account yet? Create One! You'll need to set your Display Name before your first post.

Photo
Productivity

Using Evernote for GTD

gtd

  • Please log in to reply
58 replies to this topic

#1 MKeithley

MKeithley

  • Pip
  • Title: Member
  • Group: Members
  • 6 posts

Posted 25 October 2011 - 09:38 PM

I use Evernote to implement GTD. The first thing you need to do is to set up 11 notebooks in Evernote which will be the basis for your trusted system. In Evernote create the following notebooks:
  • - Unprocessed – the default folder where unprocessed items will go (make sure to add the – )
  • Agendas – lists of things to discuss with individuals
  • Areas of Focus – lists of big picture items that are your “North Star” to guide you
  • Calls – list of the calls you need to make
  • Errands – list of next actions you need to do outside of your home or office
  • Home – list of next actions you have to physically do at home
  • Next Actions – list of the next action you need to do in order to drive your projects towards “done”
  • Projects – list of desired outcomes that require more than one action to complete
  • Reference – list of items that you want to keep for future reference
  • Someday/Maybe – list of ideas that you’d like to work on someday, but not committing to right now
  • Waiting For – list of items that you have delegated or are waiting for someone else to do
    something
Check out my blog GTD for CIOs at www.gtdforcios.com to see how I use Evernote to implement GTD.

How are you using Evernote for GTD?

#2 Bob Walsh

Bob Walsh

  • Pip
  • Title: Member
  • Group: Members
  • 10 posts

Posted 26 October 2011 - 09:22 PM

The problem I have with transposing GTD onto EN is the more notebooks, the more of my time spent on moving notes between those notebooks. Have a look at this great post: http://ruudhein.com/evernote-gtd
===
Is your startup stuck? Get moving again with a MicroConsult with Bob Walsh.

#3 davidward

davidward

  • PipPip
  • Title: Alliance Lackey
  • Group: Members
  • 77 posts

Posted 26 October 2011 - 09:53 PM

Yep, I had the same issues and now use tags instead of notebooks for GTD:
  • !!Today
  • !Next
  • Projects (Empty tag; active projects are nested)
  • @Errands
  • @Read/Review
  • @Someday/Maybe (includes inactive projects and a few special categories, i.e, book ideas)
  • @Waiting
  • Reference (empty; nested tags for anything not actionable)
One default notebook ("Inbox") and one Notebook ("My Notes") for everything once it has been processed.

#4 Gary O

Gary O

  • Pip
  • Title: Member
  • Group: Members
  • 3 posts

Posted 26 October 2011 - 10:51 PM

I used your categories; however, I used them as tags, not notebooks. I have only two notebooks, one for Inbox and one for everything else. I empty the Inbox notebook every day, assigning tag(s) to each note. I desire to break away from the "paper-folder system" mentality that I've used. I've have not reach a satisfactory result with the "paper-folder" system.. i'm thinking tags will give much more powerful and flexible system that works better with my thinking, body and tasks. Using the suggested categories as notebooks seems like reverting to the physical "paper-folder" system. The tag approach is a better fit across my three platforms of iPhone, iPad and destop computers. I've had to do some special prefixing of the tags on the desktop so the tags will show up in logical order on my iPhone, allowing me quick access to any tag on my iPhone. The default notebook allows quick entry of any info/ideas during day on my iPhone. One two-hour stretch while feeding and working with the horses, I enter 10 tasks into my iPhone which shows up in my Inbox on my desktop. Then, I process the Inbox on my desktop as it is lot easier to read and enter information. I'm experimenting with tag words in "physical (moving, sitting)" and "energy (hi, low)" as my body requires periodic movement at 68 yrs to function pain free.. The tags allow me to quickly change to another task. I somewhat follow and used ideas from David Ward, Ruud Hein, Bobby Travis, and Daniel Gold articles/entries.

#5 GrumpyMonkey

GrumpyMonkey

  • Title: 不機嫌な猿
  • Group: Evernote Evangelist
  • 10,217 posts

Posted 26 October 2011 - 11:16 PM

the first thing i'd do is delete all of those notebooks :)
as others said, use tags, save time, and get stuff done :)

#6 gtuckerkellogg

gtuckerkellogg

  • PipPipPip
  • Title: Bushwhacker
  • Group: Members
  • 133 posts

Posted 27 October 2011 - 12:36 PM

I use notebooks in a completely different way for GTD. I have notebook stacks for the organizing categories describe best in Making it All Work: inbox, incubating, outcomes, reference, and support. Not everything about GTD is actions. Filing and organization is part of it. So notes move through the process, from inbox, to support, and eventually to reference, where they stay. My tags include tags for areas of focus: family, work, finances, etc. I keep the Action lists elsewhere (Appigo's ToDo app, to be precise) because I find it more convenient than evernote for concentrating on actions alone. But all support material goes into evernote, and the actions get a Note Link. I use the same "area of focus" tags in the ToDo app.

So in ToDo, I can restrict my search to Context:@Computer, AoF:Work" and be completely focused on work I can do at the computer. In Evernote, I restrict to "stack:_support tag:_work", and I have all the support materials at hand.

The distinction between support and reference is VERY important to this way of working.

I have to say, I'm completely with GrumpyMonkey on reducing the number of notebooks.

#7 MKeithley

MKeithley

  • Pip
  • Title: Member
  • Group: Members
  • 6 posts

Posted 28 October 2011 - 04:54 PM

Fascinating feedback from everyone. I suppose each of us needs to use trial and error to see what works best for how we work and implement GTD. I initially started out using tags and got carried away with them to the point where they were distracting me. It took too long for me to figure out which tag or tags to assign to a note. This is similar to having an elaborate system of folders in email and filing them in the appropriate folder. I abandoned both systems to create a less is more approach.

For email I only have one folder called "Archive." My inbox represents unprocessed emails and then as I process them I 1) delete them, 2) use the 2-minute rule, 3) send them to Evernote. Then if I think I may want the original email for some reason like CYA or to reply to the original or whatever I put it in my Archive folder. Then I use the email program's search capability to find things. All ACTIONABLE items are sitting in my "- Unprocessed" folder in Evernote waiting to be processed.

I used to try to assign tags at that time and it really bogged me down. Similarly to capturing ideas or "stuff" on the go. Now I just click on FastEver type the stuff in and click on save and it end up in my "- Unprocessed" notebook. No tagging, no thinking, just the minimal effort to capture the "stuff" into my trusted system.

I do have a few tags that I use for special situations but have really tried to minimize their use.

#8 jmayson

jmayson

  • Pip
  • Title: Member
  • Group: Members
  • 36 posts

Posted 30 October 2011 - 09:25 PM

My GTD implementation has been a moving target. Here are three blog posts I wrote on the topic. If I have some downtime at the end of the year I'm going to revisit this. What happened is I came up with the system and have had to tweak it here and there to make it work for me.

http://blog.johnmays...s-your-gtd.html
http://blog.johnmays...d-evernote.html
http://blog.johnmays...een-tagged.html
John Mayson - Austin, Texas, USA - http://johnmayson.com
Using Evernote for Mac & Android

#9 jmayson

jmayson

  • Pip
  • Title: Member
  • Group: Members
  • 36 posts

Posted 30 October 2011 - 09:29 PM

Fascinating feedback from everyone. I suppose each of us needs to use trial and error to see what works best for how we work and implement GTD. I initially started out using tags and got carried away with them to the point where they were distracting me. It took too long for me to figure out which tag or tags to assign to a note. This is similar to having an elaborate system of folders in email and filing them in the appropriate folder. I abandoned both systems to create a less is more approach.


Everyone is different and I do stray somewhat from the David Allen ideal. What happened to me when I first adopted this was I got carried with the system and wasn't getting anything done because I was too focused on doing everything the David Allen way. I finally had to bend and following his ideas without getting too bogged down if I was doing it right or wrong.


I do have a few tags that I use for special situations but have really tried to minimize their use.


Another mistake I made with Evernote was going tag happy. Today only about 1/3 of my notes even have tags. I only use them when I need to group a concept that isn't easily grouped with a search.
John Mayson - Austin, Texas, USA - http://johnmayson.com
Using Evernote for Mac & Android

#10 sjrixon

sjrixon

  • Pip
  • Title: Member
  • Group: Members
  • 26 posts

Posted 01 November 2011 - 05:56 PM

I started with tags and found the same thing.. The search is so powerful that you don't need it!

A couple of key tags. I have one called 'weekly' for my weekly meetings.. It allows me to quick see them all together and make sure they are all up to date.

I also use an external todo manager.. Toodledo.. It's much better for controlling the lists.. I do love the check boxes in Evernote, but I normally use them to manage other people :)

#11 Joshua Zerkel

Joshua Zerkel

  • Title: Member
  • Group: Evernote Ambassador
  • 39 posts

Posted 04 November 2011 - 06:55 PM

Everyone, keep in mind that GTD is a great system, but like all systems, in order for it to work best for each person you should customize it to meet your needs. If you like using notebooks, go for it; if you're more of a tagger, try that method instead. Don't feel like you need to use every category in GTD if they don't make sense for you or for how you work. I've been working in the productivity and organizing realm for a long time, and I have yet to find an "off the shelf" system that works for everyone out of the box.
Joshua Zerkel, CPO®
Evernote Productivity Ambassador
Founder & Productivity Strategist
www.CustomLivingSolutions.com

#12 Tracey Smith

Tracey Smith

  • Pip
  • Title: Member
  • Group: Members
  • 16 posts

Posted 05 November 2011 - 12:17 AM

Can anyone give me an explanation how to set up and apply tags to my notes and notebooks. I looked it up in the help section and the help on it is NO HELP...just confusing. Sounds like a great idea and I've already got quite a bit of stuff in my EN account I'd like to organize but just not sure how to set up and apply the tags.

Sorry...thanks for helping a newbie!

Tracey Smith
"Be Careful what you ask for, you just might get it"
http://traceysmith311.tumblr.com/

 


#13 Tracey Smith

Tracey Smith

  • Pip
  • Title: Member
  • Group: Members
  • 16 posts

Posted 05 November 2011 - 02:05 AM

Ok I figured out the tags thing but have a new question I need help with now.

I want to set up the "inbox" notebook that everything intially drops into like someone on here suggested...made the notebook but don't know how to set up everything to go there.

I agree with the other posters about reducing the number of notebooks so would like to do that as much as possible...starting with an inbox for all new notes and emails to drop into until I have processed them...can anyone tell me how to do this?

Thanks! I'm still a newbie and LOVING this tool...just trying to figure out how to best utilize it.

Tracey Smith
"Be Careful what you ask for, you just might get it"
http://traceysmith311.tumblr.com/

 


#14 davidward

davidward

  • PipPip
  • Title: Alliance Lackey
  • Group: Members
  • 77 posts

Posted 05 November 2011 - 03:57 PM

Tracey,

When you set up a new notebook, there is an option (check box) to make it your "default" notebook.



Ok I figured out the tags thing but have a new question I need help with now.


I want to set up the "inbox" notebook that everything intially drops into like someone on here suggested...made the notebook but don't know how to set up everything to go there.

I agree with the other posters about reducing the number of notebooks so would like to do that as much as possible...starting with an inbox for all new notes and emails to drop into until I have processed them...can anyone tell me how to do this?

Thanks! I'm still a newbie and LOVING this tool...just trying to figure out how to best utilize it.



#15 Joshua Zerkel

Joshua Zerkel

  • Title: Member
  • Group: Evernote Ambassador
  • 39 posts

Posted 10 November 2011 - 02:11 AM

Tracey,

When helping clients with Evernote, I generally have them rename the default notebook to "-Inbox" - that way it always appears at the top of the list. Seems to help most folks that I work with keep track of where their new stuff goes.
Joshua Zerkel, CPO®
Evernote Productivity Ambassador
Founder & Productivity Strategist
www.CustomLivingSolutions.com

#16 braintoniq

braintoniq

  • Pip
  • Title: Member
  • Group: Members
  • 26 posts

Posted 11 November 2011 - 07:10 PM

Mkeithley, at my company, we've been using the GTD/Evernote comination for the past 8 months. We teach it to our staff, too. We're so into it, we decided to put it down on paper and videos so others use it. We just launched it today, it's www.TheSecretWeapon.org

A lot of help videos, which might be helpful to those new to the GTD/Evernote combo.
________________________________
passionate userBoulder, Colorado
The Secret Weapon - the free GTD & Evernote combo.

#17 danielegold

danielegold

  • PipPip
  • Title: Alliance Lackey
  • Group: Members
  • 70 posts

Posted 12 November 2011 - 12:46 PM

Hi Everyone - I 'm sorry I'm late to adding in my feedback to this post! I very much agree with David, jmayson & Joshua. GTD is amazingly personal. Of all the marvelous feedback from my readers of my book on Evernote + GTD, the one thing that stays fairly consistent is that everyone's workflow is different. Everyone's idea as to how to setup Evernote + GTD together is unique ... and that's the beauty of Evernote. I've helped folks create anything from a skeleton to a complete mimic of my system based off of what I've done in my book. And that again is the beauty of Evernote.

I liken Evernote to a blank canvas for a painter. Each of us has the same colors in our palette, but our work product will be slightly different. In fact, the funny thing about the GTD book, as I've noted many times before, is that he just tells us to use a "trusted system" and then leaves it to all of us to figure out how to apply the principles and philosophies in our own way. That is the biggest reason why we have a completely over-saturated and over-monetized GTD app space.

If I can offer up any wisdom at all is this: do what feels right to you. Do what you believe is right. Because one man's trash is another man's treasure trove. Remember, the ultimate goal here everyone is the "doing" and not the "tinkering" or "hacking" of systems. Pick up some ideas from these forums, make some changes, and be productive!

Cheers!


 

Daniel Gold
DEG Consulting
daniel@degconsulting.net
Author of Evernote: The Unofficial Guide ... sold in the Trunk!

Join the conversation on Facebook, Twitter, and Google+!
Co-host of the new podcast, The Productive Life Show!


#18 bjorke

bjorke

  • Pip
  • Title: Member
  • Group: Members
  • 1 posts

Posted 25 November 2011 - 08:59 PM

...for it to work best for each person you should customize it to meet your needs.

That.

I've found, for myself, that I need to have dates attached to tasks or they just slip off the radar - especially given that, like many people, I'm not the only one writing items into my task lists! I have both personal lists and calendars and corporate ones crossing departments - some behind firewalls. Merely marking things "today" can be a real chore when definitions of urgency and importance are constantly in flux - maintenance effort grows unduly. Instead I use Google-Calendar tasks for task items (easily dragged-around between calendar dates without having to do any typing) and have been migrating "support" notes into Evernote based on specific projects (or project domains). Google's web interface won't hot-link Evernote URLs, but the mobile clients link them just fine. I used to keep those notes in, of all places, a mix of moleskines and my gmail contacts list... this is a bit cleaner.

#19 danielegold

danielegold

  • PipPip
  • Title: Alliance Lackey
  • Group: Members
  • 70 posts

Posted 26 November 2011 - 01:21 PM

...for it to work best for each person you should customize it to meet your needs.

That.

I've found, for myself, that I need to have dates attached to tasks or they just slip off the radar - especially given that, like many people, I'm not the only one writing items into my task lists! I have both personal lists and calendars and corporate ones crossing departments - some behind firewalls. Merely marking things "today" can be a real chore when definitions of urgency and importance are constantly in flux - maintenance effort grows unduly. Instead I use Google-Calendar tasks for task items (easily dragged-around between calendar dates without having to do any typing) and have been migrating "support" notes into Evernote based on specific projects (or project domains). Google's web interface won't hot-link Evernote URLs, but the mobile clients link them just fine. I used to keep those notes in, of all places, a mix of moleskines and my gmail contacts list... this is a bit cleaner.


I completely agree with you. The calendar is for appointments with actions with specific due dates and times. Everything else goes in Evernote. That said, I like the idea of creating some other referenceable tags such as "This Week", "Next Week", "This Month". There's definitely maintenace here, but I can see that being possibly easier than having so much in a Today tag. The other school of thought of course is that one would only put in their Today tag 3 to 5 next actions that must absolutely get done during the day. This is a great post, let's keep the ideas coming! Cheers!


 

Daniel Gold
DEG Consulting
daniel@degconsulting.net
Author of Evernote: The Unofficial Guide ... sold in the Trunk!

Join the conversation on Facebook, Twitter, and Google+!
Co-host of the new podcast, The Productive Life Show!


#20 MKeithley

MKeithley

  • Pip
  • Title: Member
  • Group: Members
  • 6 posts

Posted 28 November 2011 - 12:02 AM

I concur that each person's workflow is unique and there is no "one size fits all" version of using Evernote for GTD. In my opinion that is what makes Evernote the perfect solution for implementing GTD. It allows each of us to implement GTDin the way that best suits our lifestyle. It is a blank page that allows us to configure it to fit how we work and live. The best part of it is no mater what device we use we can access Evernote and it is always available to us. This is especially important to the capture phase. Is your tool is not immediately available to you in a frictionless way it will not work long term. That is why I think so many people revert to analog paper-based systems. with Evernote, it is always available to users an I believe this is the big differentiator verses other digital systems.

Please check out my posts for how I implement GTD on Evernote www.gtdforcos.com





1 user(s) are reading this topic

0 members, 1 guests, 0 anonymous users

Clip to Evernote