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Feature Request: Re-orderable Lists

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Please give us the ability to reorder lists via drag and drop and let them keep their indenting and formatting. I love this product but hate it when I have to update a todo list or any kind of list. I'm a premium user and it is well worth the price but I would really like to see this feature. If a comparable note manager came along with this ability I would take a long hard look at switching.

 

Thank you.

Dave.

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This is essential to making EN the only productivity tool you need. A simple outliner to be used within notes, with optional checkboxes, collapsible levels, and drag-and-drop would do it. Without this feature, how can we actively manage? By having such a feature in EN, you might not need anything else. For fields that require (well-designed), special-purpose applications, such as academic research with apps like Mendeley, integration with EN could be readily effected via RESTful APIs.

So, I've spent several weeks looking for other apps that do this simple outlining and that integrate with EN. They all either make their product primary, so you have to do everything through their app, or they put silly restrictions on how you organize your EN notes. For example, one requires that every todo checkbox item be in a separate note. That makes it impossible to realistically do a work breakdown structure that includes subtasks. The one app that looks the most promising is Swipes, but it's not ready and it's been in development forever. It's approach is to find notes with checkboxes and just extract those. Then it will, they say, keep just checkbox items in sync without touching the rest of the note the checkbox is in. That would be brilliant.

But this is ridiculous. Without being able to use EN for active task management, it is just a repository for reference materials. But even that won't be easy to maintain if I have to keep manually linking reference notes with an outside todo manager.

There is a new kid on the block - Notebook (Mac, iOS, & Android so far) - which explicitly intends to be a replacement for EN, and it has actual todo functionality. Sync isn't finished between all platforms, but it's in active development. Also, you can sign up for the beta tests of their migration tool.

Apparently there is a mechanism to use an EN widget on Android for your EN todo items, which I'm going to try next. But it, too, puts requirements on how you organize your todos - they all have to be in the same notebook. Since I use tags instead of notebooks for my GTD organization, maybe I can make this work. Here's the description: http://www.girlxoxo.com/organizing-a-to-do-list-with-evernote-app-and-widget-digital-lifehack/

Evernote: Please. How hard would it be to create a simple outliner? It could even be a Java add-on. Maybe use something open source. I have almost finished reorganizing everything in and around EN, but that won't be sustainable without actual todo functionality. Thanks for reading.

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9 minutes ago, PaoloAltobas said:

This is essential to making EN the only productivity tool you need.

I have a variety of productivity requirements - outlining is just one of the features
I don't expect Evernote to be my only productivity tool

>>So, I've spent several weeks looking for other apps that do this simple outlining and that integrate with EN.

I have no problem using dedicated apps and attaching the files to Evernote
The office/iworks attachments integrate very well

>>How hard would it be to create a simple outliner?

A feature that works accross all platforms, and is functional with the base html
Just my opinion, but very hard

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Thank you for responding. Agree about HTML. If necessary, a portable Java-based add-on might work. I don't have time to pursue it, unfortunately. I also agree that attachments work easily, generally. For projects that require Mendeley, for example, tighter integration would make it so much easier, but that's not essential for me at the moment.

But, back to my main problem: I'm working on multiple projects. How do you handle your projects' next actions?

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36 minutes ago, PaoloAltobas said:

But, back to my main problem: I'm working on multiple projects. How do you handle your projects' next actions

I'm happy with my task management in Evernote
I don't rely in the check box

  1. A separate note for every task
  2. In project review,
    - I pull all my tasks together using a project tag
    - I review my tasks in a title sequence list.  
       I assign a prefix (+) to move the Next Action note to the top  of the list
  3. For current task list, I have a shortcut to a saved search
    This is based on start date (reminder) and a !Now tag

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2 hours ago, PaoloAltobas said:

But, back to my main problem: I'm working on multiple projects. How do you handle your projects' next actions?

Per @DTLow, tags and reminders and saved searches..

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DTLow & csihilling. Thank you for your guidance and suggestions. An update.

Swipes reached out to me on Twitter (@PaulHindes) and said, "The integration to Evernote is activated on mobile and you can see and manage the tasks via the web & Mac app." I got through the mobile integration. It is cool that they extract just checkboxes from notes tagged "swipes", but the subtask items lose their indentation. So, there's no way to collapse/expand. There's also no way to reorder.

I also tried the widget approach mentioned in my original message. It does make it easier to get to a page of structured checkbox items. But it still doesn't solve the problem of having an actual work breakdown structure, with collapse/expand, drag and drop reordering, etc.

I have 691 tasks, total, across all my non-archived projects. They are in a work breakdown structure, imported from a now-deceased app. Of course, some are Someday/Maybe and, of the others, not all are being worked on at the same time. If I put each task of just my current projects into a separate note: 

  1. How do I maintain the initial work breakdown structure?
  2. How do I reorder items?
  3. Is there a way to collapse/expand to keep things intellectually manageable while still being able to see the big picture?

Thank you very much.

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21 minutes ago, PaoloAltobas said:
  • How do I maintain the initial work breakdown structure?

Not completely clear on the initial work breakdown structure

I do a periodic project review
- my tasks are all tied together using a project tag
- I use a tag to indicate a time frame for the tasks (Now, Soon, Later, Someday...)

I have a search shortcut to to list my Current Tasks
I also have a !Soon shortcut so I can quickly move tasks to my Current list

>>How do I reorder items?

My process is to use "title" sequence and assign a prefix to the note titles
- moves the note to the top of the list; I use this for my project master note
+ is next in the sequence; I use this for my tasks, ++ for my next-actions
Ω for the bottom of the list

>>Is there a way to collapse/expand to keep things intellectually manageable while still being able to see the big picture?

The only place I use collapse/expand is within a wp document (word/pages)
and the tag list on my Mac

I can emulate an outline structure within notes by using a link to sub-notes

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EN does not provide an expand/collapse structure, nor is it specifically designed for project management per se.  There are other tools that are built for just that task.  However, if you are like me and want all your stuff in one place, you can create a manageable task management system that works well.  You do have to think in terms of how you want to access your tasks, which in essence are just notes in EN.  Some notes may have multiple actions but it is best if they have but one.  If you want to use EN for this I would suggest you take a look at The Secret Weapon website.  It isn't the bible for sure, but it will give you some ideas which you can then tailor to your use case.  In the end you may find EN is not the tool for you, but it may also work.

1 hour ago, PaoloAltobas said:
  1. How do I maintain the initial work breakdown structure?
  2. How do I reorder items?
  3. Is there a way to collapse/expand to keep things intellectually manageable while still being able to see the big picture?

1. I use tags, reminders and saved searches.  Tags are used for high priority as well as non date specific tasks.  Reminders are used for date specific tasks.  Dates trump tags.  I then view the my work breakdown structure by looking at !1-Now for high priority items and a saved searches for Today, Late, Tomorrow, Next 7, etc. for date items.  I do this in Side List View with the left panel closed for quick access and more real estate for the note.  In this way I am only looking at the notes I need to at any time.

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2.  On a nightly basis I reorder and merge any new tasks using my version of a TSW tag hierarchy, (!1-Now, !2-Next, !3-Soon, !4-Later, !5-Someday, !6-Waiting, !7-Read).  

3.  Nope.  That's where the saved searches and tag specific searches come into play.  To get a work break down like I think you are wanting, you may have to add a tag for the major effort.  I'm not sure this would be much fun in EN since you might end up duplicating a bunch of effort priority tagging more notes than you might want.  But if you are assuming all the child tasks have the same priority as the parent you can create a process to do that.

Again, if you are looking for a hard core project management system, EN may not be the tool for you.  The above helps me keep track of things in any case.  FWIW.

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Thank you. 

Sorry about "work breakdown structure." It's just Project Management Institute jargon for what you're probably already doing. Iterate higher level tasks down to granular components. The sequence of top level tasks in a project are the major steps. Often we work backwards from the deliverable to the requirements. Because there's continual feedback, tasks and sequence can change frequently, especially if there are just 1-3 people on a project. 

So, I appreciate your approach but the overhead is too high for what I'm trying to do. I'll keep looking and report back if I find something that works. One of the great things about EN is that it doesn't impose a way of doing things. That's why I'm trying to stay away from the project management tools that "integrate" with EN. You have to do things their way.

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Thank you, csihilling. I'm grateful for the detail and I have been doing something similar. I will look at the website you link to. I agree, EN may not be the right tool. Problem is, I'm in it pretty deep and all real project management tools are designed for businesses - that's where the money is - and not for small groups or projects. So those tools' overhead is even worse than EN's. Really, all we want is a simple, cross-platform, collapse/expand, drag/drop outliner that can have permanent links to notes.

I am very grateful for your input. I'll report back if I find anything interesting.

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11 minutes ago, PaoloAltobas said:

Thank you, csihilling. I'm grateful for the detail and I have been doing something similar. I will look at the website you link to. I agree, EN may not be the right tool. Problem is, I'm in it pretty deep and all real project management tools are designed for businesses - that's where the money is - and not for small groups or projects. So those tools' overhead is even worse than EN's. Really, all we want is a simple, cross-platform, collapse/expand, drag/drop outliner that can have permanent links to notes.

I am very grateful for your input. I'll report back if I find anything interesting.

You are welcome.  

This may be another dead end, but there is a app called Wunderlist.  It is cross-platform, you can collapse/expand, drag and drop, share with others and it is very easy to use.  You can add links to EN notes in a text area.  It is is more of a simple task manager but with some nice bells and whistles.  It may or may not be too simple for your needs.    :)

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33 minutes ago, PaoloAltobas said:

Often we work backwards from the deliverable to the requirements.

I think we're talking about serious project management software for this
I've used MS Project, where the tasks are linked in begin/start order etc, and a date change ripples through all the tasks

You definitely won't find this in Evernote
I would still copy my tasks in Evernote for my personal task management

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