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Creating Notes for Future Next Actions (GTD)

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I love Evernote - it's awesome. I use it on my iphone, and the desktop version on my imacs at home and work.

I also enjoy GTD and employ a modified GTD system. I have Notebooks labeled "Next Actions", "Waiting For" and "Reference". Everytime I have to do any specific next action to accomplish a project, I drop a note in Next Actions. If someone owes me a reply to an email, or a payment, or whatever, I drop a note in Waiting For. Pretty much anything else that is not a next action, or a waiting for, goes in Reference. I've attached a picture of my Notebooks folders (as you can see, I currently have zero next actions because I am so awesome at getting things done).post-99873-0-52501600-1344041692_thumb.p

If I have something that needs to be done on a specific date, then I put that on my calendar instead of in Evernote.

Ok, so here's the thought - what about stuff that is a next action, and that doesn't have to be done on a particular date, but that cannot be done earlier than a date in the future.

Example - I have to reconcile my quickbooks accounting software on a monthly basis. I just finished reconciling for July, and sometime on or after Sept 1 I will need to reconcile again in August. I could create a Next Action now that says "Sept 1 - Reconcile Quickbooks", but then I will have that note cluttering up my Next Actions until September.

I'd love to be able to do the following - create a note now titled "Sept 1 - Reconcile Quickbooks" but be able to tag it somehow so that it's creation is delayed until Sept. 1 - or so it stays hidden until Sept 1, and then only on that date, it pops into existence into my Next Actions notebook.

Has anyone figured out a hack to be able to do this? Or is this a feature others would like to see officially created?


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  • Level 5*

Hi. Welcome to the forums. This is probably not the answer you are looking for, but what I do is create a daily journal each day and title it YYMMDD so that when I sort them by title, they all appear in chronological order. I post-date them (a date in the future) so that things I have to do in the future go towards the top. If I don't have a note for a day, then I have nothing planned (rare). If I had your issue, I could put a message to myself on September 1 to begin reconciling, and just copy / paste that forward each day until it gets done.

I don't know if any of that made sense. I have written it up on my website if you want to read more with some screenshots (http://www.princeton.edu/~cmayo/evernote-organization.html). Other users change the "created" attribute for notes in order to achieve a similar effect.

Of course, the other alternative is to use any number of great third-party Evernote integrations.

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Hey Chris, that's an interesting system you have there. Any third-party evernote integrations in particular you recommend?

I have not used any of them myself, but if you plug the names of some into the forum search you'll probably find some comments by other users. See the Evernote Trunk for a few GTD-oriented integrations.


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I'm for changing the created date to a future time - plus some creative naming in case the notes get re-sorted in one listing or another. Meetings and travel forinstance now get a "xxx - YYYYMMDD - HHMM - <Postcode> (zip)" prefix as well as a created date change so they show up in my default 'creation date' list in descending order of activity. I find the 'yyyymmdd - postcode' string is a nice unique tag so I can link all the fall-out from a given visit back to the main information about that trip - and as long as I can remember the date, typing the yyyymm string pulls up few enough suggestions I can find that tag again easily when I need it.

You could adapt the approach and have Next Action notes with created dates for the next few months, and slot your tasks in the appropriate note for review when that note comes up..

Or you could use a nice third party email utility followup.cc and email your note to 1month@followup.cc, or 30september@followup.cc (there's a complete range of options from now to months...). You won't see a reminder email until you need to complete your task, and then you can leave it in your inbox for a few days or snooze the reminder until you can get round to it.

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I'm happy to help out. There's two great options for you. In particular, I like to use FollowUpThen.com. The reason I like FUT is because I can e-mail a note right out of Evernote to FUT in this format Sept11@followupthen.com or 8amSept11@folloupthen.com. You get to pick the time/date format. Then, on September 11 at 8am, you'll receive an e-mail from FUT with your note! Voila! I've also added the Evernote Copy Note link (evernote:///__________) and put it in the body of the FUT e-mail so that when I receive the e-mail, you can click the link and go right over to Evernote! Reilly Sweetland who's the developer of FUT is awesome and always quick to respond. Oh and you can also integrate FUT with your Google Calendar for an added extra dose of productivity!!!

Failing that idea, I love combining both Chris' and Lauren Rothisberger's together and processing my next actions each and every day to determine what will go into my Today list. Take a look at this super amazing post by Lauren (AKA "Get Geeky") that talks about the Daily Portfolio: http://getmegeeky.com/2012/07/25/master-lifes-juggling-act-maximize-daily-productivity-with-evernote-gtd-and-a-daily-portfolio/.


I hope that helps!

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I use date tags for this kind of situation. Be warned that I don't adhere to strict orthodox GTD, but here are some examples.

I have a collection of monthly tasks to do at work, so those all have a #monthly tag as well as a tag for the actual date they should be done, like #2012-09-01.

Likewise I have weekly tasks and biweekly tasks, which are tagged with #weekly or #biweekly and also the day of the week they are to be done, like #monday -- then also the actual date, #2012-08-13 or whatever.

The key to this, I suppose, is that my real active "next action" list consists of items tagged !today. At the beginning of each day, I click the tag for the current date, select all, add the !today tag, and then delete today's date tag from the sidebar. This lets the date tags act like a tickler file -- my reminder about my wife's birthday is date-tagged 30 days in advance.

A collection of saved searches (Today at Work, Today at Home, Today Online, etc.) provides me with lists of the things I should be working on. Anything not meeting those criteria is hidden unless I want to go looking for it.

I admit that this method is inspired by The Secret Weapon -- I have nested tags for contexts (@Work, @Home, @Waiting For, @[name] for agendas), dates (prefixed with # as above), projects (prefixed with .), actions (!urgent, !important, !project for "needs planning", etc.), and other topics (food, wine, Evernote, recipe, address, etc.). I have separate notebooks for Inbox, Active, Completed, Reference, and Someday.

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  • 9 months later...


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Input your notes about some location but only to remember about the note after you left the place?
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Hi, thanks for the interest! We love to but as we are currently a software house of 1 part timer, it is difficult to try and venture into the other platforms. Do help us gather the interest as we need to gauge the market and devote our effort into it.


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