I just read this article: http://lifehacker.co...s-is-how-i-work and I have to take exception to Phil's own comment:
What's your favorite to-do list manager?
You know, I don't actually have one. I use Evernote, which isn't particularly great for to-dos yet.Yet.
I finally put my finger on why Evernote is such a phenomenal to-do list manager, at least the way I use it:
Instead of a list of things to do with no context, Evernote gives you all the information you need to complete the task right there, if you use it right.
Based on some concepts of GTD, and experience, here is how I keep myself organised in Evernote:
- All e-mails that need me to think about them for longer than 30s go into my default Evernote "Incoming" notebook (via redirect to evernote address - redirect puts less junk in the headers).
- If I have to remember something not associated with email, I add a short note (in Incoming) with the item in the title right there and then, usually on my iPhone. For example: "document grand unified field theory breakthrough". That's it - then forget about it.
- Religiously check the saved search "Incoming", which shows everything I haven't filed yet.
- File everything as one or more of the following tags: Now, Next, Later, Pending, Fixed Date, or if it is not something I need to do, put it in the "Notes" notebook.
- Retitle notes tagged "Fixed Date" to start with yyyy.mm.dd
- Keep two windows open on my Mac desktop all the time:
- Card View, sorted by last updated, descending, showing Now, Next, Pending or search results (shortcut keys cmd-1 through cmd-9 are great for navigating 9 shortcuts)
- List view showing "Fixed Date", sorted by title (puts the dates in the right order)
- Work through "Now", and move things up from "Next".
- Check "Later" when I'm bored being productive.
- Check "Pending" often. "Pending" is usually also tagged with someone's name and is often also a "Fixed Date". Move to "Now" or "Next" when I can do something on it.
The real beauty of this is that most of the information for each action is right there in the note, because they mostly come from emails. In other cases, I expand the note manually while I'm working on it, sometimes with checkboxes, links to other notes, external materials, etc.
When I'm done, tag the note "Completed". If I ever want a log of when I did something, "Completed" sorted by date does the trick. I've noticed that notes tend to move roughly like this:
Incoming -> Next -> Now -> Completed
or Incoming -> Pending -> Completed
or Incoming -> Fixed Date & Pending -> Now -> Completed
The two key ideas that make this work are:
Don't think about things I have to do while I am doing one of those things.
Keep the information (or a link to it) I need to do each thing right there in the note.
There are many improvements that could be made to Evernote, but for managing to-do lists as above, there are only a couple of features that I would say I really need:
Shortcut keys for sorting (title, created, updated, ascending, descending)
Moving around the UI with the TAB key
Email links (mail://... to link back to a message in my email client when it is time to answer)