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darioangelo

Evernote my preferred GTD App

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The book; "Getting Things Done" by David Allen has not only motivated many to become better organised,  it has also sparked a raft of task management applications, some  which integrate with Evernote. 

David Allens book was inspired in the way it succinctly expressed a natural workflow, which if applied with diligence can lead to high creativity and productivity.

I say “natural” because most productive people tend to have approaches that include GTD principles.

Task management applications, some of which leverage off this GTD process flow and the ever increasing focus towards productivity all jostle for supremacy as the best new shiny solution.

Developers hence take on an unenviable challenge, as they try and cater for consumers all with varying needs; from a simple to do list to a system resembling a project management system.

Often the result is an app with an incredible UI, that tries to serve many masters. 

In addition, these task management apps take on a dynamic that resembles a gaming experience, which only reduces productivity by the obsession and complication that it creates.

For me, Evernote, which I like to think of as my second brain, is the obvious go to system. 

With my background in project management, I also recognise that teams need to collaborate effectively, in realtime, with granularity and have access to contextual data.

Some of the approaches that I have studied (including one known as " The Secret Weapon" or "TSW") make extensive use of tagging.

To me this adds complication and drives unnatural ways of connecting our brains to information. 

The link that follows is to a considered blog on the subject: 

Evernote and the Brain

My task management approach is based on David Allen's GTD philosophy and uses Evernote’s built in  task management functionality in concert with another app for projects that may need to be done collaboratively with others or that need a tactical framework.

In summary;

- I use “GTD” to prefix my notebooks and stacks to highlight a call for energy and action. 

- I review my GTD notebooks regularly but no less than once daily.

I harness Evernote’s powerful capture capability to deal with inflows which come via many pathways.

For email; 

- I use Outlook, which integrates well with Evernote, I direct an email, (and even tag it) to a specific GTD notebook or reference notebook (Spark email is also very good in this regard). Outlook provides the added capability of linking an Evernote reminder to the Outlook calendar.

Alternatively, by using the Cronofy Evernote connector, reminders can be sent to any calendar. With Fantastical for example upcoming actions can be highlighted via the summary view. 

- My GTD notebooks are in my Evernote shortcuts for easy access and to give prominence.

- My stacks/notebooks are numerically prefixed to ensure the appropriate hierarchy.

- I limit my tagging for people, or standing meeting names, so that when I turn up my agendas notebook for example, I can quickly attend to the matter at hand and have all the contextual information right there.

- For projects, I integrate my Evernote system with Smartsheet (gantt and kanban) http://bit.ly/2CZrGzq

My stacks and notebooks:

000. GTD Inbox (default Notebook)
100. GTD Next Actions (stack) 
  110. Office, 
  120. Home,
  130. Anywhere,
  140. Agenda,
  150. Phone
  160. Online 
   170. Errands
200. GTD Waiting for
300. GTD Projects (stack) 
400. GTD Someday/maybe
500. GTD Read/Review

I hope that this helps.

Dario A 

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2 hours ago, darioangelo said:

My stacks and notebooks:
   000. GTD Inbox (default Notebook) ... 500. GTD Read/Review

All my data is stored in Evernote, including action items.
I'm interested in methods for getting things done.

I'm not enthused with implementing such overhead.
Also not Stack/Notebooks - this seems more suited to Tags.  My notebook use is for other purposes (shared/offline/local/default)

For my task management, the key points are

  1. Any note may be actionable; I identify this with tag:!Actionable
    I also have tags !Urgent and !Important for priortization (Eisenhower Matrix)
    A project tag (!Project-aaaaaa) for project related notes
  2. I store the start date using the Reminder feature.  It also stores the completion date/status.
  3. I use searches to generate different task views (project, due date, completed, ...)
    My current task list is generated by search  reminderOrder:* -reminderTime:day+1 -reminderDoneTime:*
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Nice system!  I'm also always interested in organisational processes.

IIRC DA also says in his GTD posts that users should take on board as much or as little of the system as they need.  I went for a 'keep it simple' line myself,  and crossed it with the Eisenhower categories of urgent / important to deliver four main tags. Now, soon, sometime and whenever (I don't have anyone to whom I could delegate stuff,  so remainder tasks have to wait until I'm really really bored with the current job,  or I actually have free time). 

("Now" is actually a tag NOW! because that's my current tasks in one list.)

I also use Reminder dates,  so for example a link to a note tagged <NOW!> OR with a reminder date of today or earlier turns up on a 'dashboard' - a Table of Contents note automatically updated from a search - which is also titled Now.  I have a dashboard of dashboards,  a link to which is saved on my desktop and home pages,  so I can jump to,  and around,  any of my saved ToC's from any device.  My management effort is restricted to a short(ish) list of tags,  and applying or changing reminder dates.

The auto-update mechanisation is provided by Filterize,  which is a paid-for product if you want to get really fancy,  but has a usable free option.  I also use filterize to keep a number of constantly updated searches,  so if I want to find a recipe,  ideas for a road trip,  or a scanned user guide,  I can check the appropriate note listing.  (This gets around any limit on saved searches,  the difficulty of finding a saved search if you have dozens listed,  and any system delays in executing an on-demand search if -like me- you have a huge database!)

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8 hours ago, gazumped said:

a note tagged <NOW!> OR with a reminder date of today or earlier turns up on a 'dashboard'
auto-update mechanisation is provided by Filterize,

I dropped using the <Now> tag, and just use start date

Dashboards are a good idea; and Filterize is a great automation tool
I use my daily journal note for this, updated with scripting on my Mac

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2 hours ago, DTLow said:

I use my daily journal note for this, updated with scripting on my Mac

Us pore Windoze users have to do what we can within the limitations of the OS! (and don't mention updates...)

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On 4/6/2019 at 3:33 AM, darioangelo said:

For projects, I integrate my Evernote system with Smartsheet (gantt and kanban).

Could you provide more details on this integration.
I see the benefit of reviewing my task list in a gantt chart view.

>>Check out http://bit.ly/2CZrGzq

Thanks, I decided to just use a spreadsheet chart1054387432_ScreenShot2019-04-07at23_01_19.png.38f92387e685f93feb143a0d77615f46.png

Details at https://www.officetimeline.com/make-gantt-chart/numbers-for-mac

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9 hours ago, DTLow said:
  1. I use searches to generate different task views (project, due date, completed, ...)
    My current task list is generated by search  reminderOrder:* -reminderTime:day+1 -reminderDoneTime:*

When I first read this and implemented (i.e. stole) it, it changed the way I use Evernote. Really like Android's widget displaying that (dynamic) saved search = my todo list. Thanks for the input!

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I tried GTD/TSW but eventually morphed away from it, though I still use it to manage backlog.  I determined I am best at getting things done using dates and location/context makes no difference to me. 

So anything that is date specific or is on the front burner so to speak gets a reminder date.  Periodically I go to the GTD/TSW stack and add dates to those notes as need be.  All of my tasks/todo's are in EN.  I use saved searches to focus effort.  

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4 hours ago, DTLow said:

Could you provide more details on this integration.

I see the benefit of reviewing my task list in a gantt chart view.

Check out http://bit.ly/2CZrGzq

I hope that helps.

Good luck :) 

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On 4/6/2019 at 3:33 AM, darioangelo said:

Outlook provides the added capability of linking an Evernote reminder to the Outlook calendar.

Alternatively, by using the Cronofy Evernote connector, reminders can be sent to any calendar.

I'm interested in comments on reminders being listed in the calendar.

I tried the Cronofy integration but it sync's every reminder to the calendar.  I only need calendar entries for event based reminders

I use a script to transfer selected reminders to Apple Calendar. 

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Hello DTLow,

I would simply add a Reminder (ie activate the clock icon) without adding a date/time. In this way you will see the item as a reminder when viewing the "all notes" option in your EN side bar -(in reminders mode), and it will not appear as a calendar event. 

I should add that in the EN viewing panel you have the opportunity to mark the reminder as done. It is also a very good synopsis of all event based or non event based reminders. 

For me at least, EN does the job elegantly particularly when paired with Smartsheet for team endeavours.

Cheers, 

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On 4/9/2019 at 12:41 AM, darioangelo said:

I would simply add a Reminder (ie activate the clock icon) without adding a date/time.

These are my "do-whenever" tasks
The note is tagged as !Actionable, reminder is set with no date

>>In this way you will see the item as a reminder when viewing the "all notes" option in your EN side bar -(in reminders mode),

I view my tasks in a dashboard note
As you can see in the screenshot, I divide the list into 5 priorities (searches)
The bottom category has no start date (reminder date)1736178897_ScreenShot2019-04-10at07_17_21.png.4fcc87e30453573065f053864e806c02.png

>>and it will not appear as a calendar event. 

Back to my original point; I do not want to see a dated reminder in my calendar unless it's an actual event

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I tried TSW as well and it seemed so much work to just remember all the tags and moving parts. It was hard for me to visualize the moving parts in the tags and notebooks. I use Trello with the Evernote power up which allows me to attach notes to those cards. I can then prioritize cards into lists and move them a little more dynamically for my brain. 

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I know this thread is a bit old, but my question is how do you complete tasks?   I've found that any GTD based system always involves a lot of removing of tags once a task is complete otherwise the task/note keeps showing up.   I know you could just delete the task/note, but that doesn't seem right to me - I like a record of what I've done.

 

How do you manage the "task completion process?"

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21 minutes ago, gatorbrit said:

I know this thread is a bit old, but my question is how do you complete tasks?   I've found that any GTD based system always involves a lot of removing of tags once a task is complete otherwise the task/note keeps showing up.   I know you could just delete the task/note, but that doesn't seem right to me - I like a record of what I've done.

 

How do you manage the "task completion process?"

Hi.  There will be a range of different opinions here,  but it depends a lot on how you operate the underlying prioritisation and progress streams.  I have a 'control panel' note for projects that have several tasks,  and single notes for quick reminders.  I add a COMPLETED 'stamp' to task titles as they're finished.  There will also be check boxes that have been ticked off at various stages.  Searches for keywords / checkboxes plus date ranges will show me a history if I need one.

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10 hours ago, gatorbrit said:

How do you manage the "task completion process?"

My GTD organization makes use of Evernote's Reminder feature
- this stores Start Date and Completion Date/Status
- the search for completed task notes is   reminderDoneTime:*
- my current task list is generated by search  
  reminderOrder:* -reminderTime:day+1 -reminderDoneTime:*   
  (all reminders, exclude future dated, exclude completed)

My task completion process is to mark the reminder as done1794308678_ScreenShot2019-12-02at7_39_33AM.png.4bbf9b548cc49afbea8e04676bf631b1.png

As per @gazumped, I add "Completed yyyy/mm/dd" to the task title
I use a script (Mac) that does both functions,
also handles recurring reminders

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1 hour ago, gatorbrit said:

How do you manage the "task completion process?"

At one point I used the TSW system, similar to GTD.  To close tasks I would remove the action tag from the note (!1-Today for example) and add _Completed yyyy.mm.dd to the note via a PhraseExpress hotkey.  The notebook and any other tags stayed the same.  So a two step process.  The reason for the _ in the added text was for searching.  A  _Comp* search would return all completed tasks.

Today I mostly use the reminder function of EN in conjunction with saved searches.  When a task is done I mark the reminder as done.    Again the notebook and other tags stay the same.  A one step process.  Adding -reminderdonetime:* to a search keeps completed tasks from the search results, searching for reminderdonetime:* returns all completed tasks.  The search remindertime:day -remindertime:day+1 -reminderdonetime:* returns anything due to day.  I have saved searches for Late, Yesterday, Tomorrow, Next 7, and more.

I still use the _Completed yyyy.mm.dd hotkey a bit.  I have a few tags preceded by ! for things not so important but that I wanna-do.  Might be viewed as whatever future task bucket one might use in GTD/;TSW, but not quite.  So when I complete one of those I add the _Comp... text to the note.  A search for tag:!* -_comp* returns all my open wanna-dos.

Nothing wrong with GTD/TSW, it just didn't fit me for whatever reason.  I guess I'm more date driven than task driven, if that makes any sense.  FWIW.

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Very interesting.  I think I need to learn more about the syntax for the reminder searches.

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Quick follow on question.  By using reminders, you are setting a due date for all tasks - correct?  

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11 minutes ago, gatorbrit said:

Quick follow on question.  By using reminders, you are setting a due date for all tasks - correct?  

DOH!  I just realized I can add a reminder with no date.  This is basically just special tag.   Never realized this!

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3 hours ago, gatorbrit said:

DOH!  I just realized I can add a reminder with no date.  This is basically just special tag.   Never realized this!

Correct; I use a reminder with no date for active "Next Action" tasks that have no specific start date   
This ensures the task appears on my current task list

>>syntax for the reminder searches

There are three reminder fields; reminderOrder, reminderTime, reminderDoneTime

Search syntax is documented at https://help.evernote.com/hc/en-us/articles/208313828    
and http://dev.evernote.com/doc/articles/search_grammar.php

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2 hours ago, gatorbrit said:

Quick follow on question.  By using reminders, you are setting a due date for all tasks - correct?  

Typically.  I could use a reminder only (no date) for by wanna do's, but I prefer a tag.  A search to find not dated reminders is reminderorder:* -reminderdonetime:* -remindertime:*.

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9 hours ago, CalS said:

my wanna do's, but I prefer a tag

Likewise, I use a tag Project: GTD-Someday/Maybe

Part of my workflow - I assign Project tags to task/project notes    
Usually actual projects, but this GTD concept got my attention  
(I Intend to split Someday/Maybe into 3 categories Someday, Maybe, Soon)

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Well, yes, this is my favorite GTD-tag: Someday/Maybe/Tomorrow/Never ... 😂

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3 hours ago, PinkElephant said:

Well, yes, this is my favorite GTD-tag: Someday/Maybe/Tomorrow/Never ... 😂

I have a <whenever> tag that has an implied ¯\_(ツ)_/¯

B)

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3 hours ago, gazumped said:

I have a <whenever> tag that has an implied ¯\_(ツ)_/¯

B)

For @jefito's benefit.

Shrug.jpg.3360ebcfcdd1bffac8323c7b8cf2da9a.jpg

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4 minutes ago, Dave-in-Decatur said:

you people are actually Getting Things Done ...

Occasionally...  and thanks for the implied and very shared compliment :) 

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On 12/3/2019 at 1:48 AM, DTLow said:

Likewise, I use a tag Project: GTD-Someday/Maybe

This is what I call 'namespacing' your tag. Instead of multiple tags Project, GTD and Someday/Maybe -- perhaps in a tag hierarchy (parent tag Project: child tag GTD grandchild tag Someday/Maybe) -- you use a single tag Project: GTD-Someday/Maybe. I use namespacing too, but perhaps my way is more efficient.

Since there will be lots of projects, there will be lots of tags beginning with Project. That suggests when you are trying to tag a note, you'll type Proj in the tag field and get a bunch of matches. You'll have to scroll, or type more, to get the one you want. That is why I use a special character (the dot) instead of the word Project to namespace my tags. Usually the project names are different enough that just typing the special character plus the first letter or two is enough.

In my case, all tags are GTD related so I don't have to include that word. But if I had to distinguish between GTD project tags and non-GTD project tags (or non-project GTD tags?), I would namespace each tag with a different special character.

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1 hour ago, John in Michigan USA said:

perhaps in a tag hierarchy (parent tag Project: child tag GTD grandchild tag Someday/Maybe)

I actually do use the hierarchy feature on my Mac, but it's only available on select menus, on select platforms     
I replicate the hierarchy in the tag names   
For example:   !Project          
                                   !Project: GTD    
                                            !Project:GTD-Someday/Maybe           
                                   !Project: N/A
                                   !Project:aaaaaaaaaa     
                                   !Project:bbbbbbbbbb

>>That suggests when you are trying to tag a note, you'll type Proj in the tag field and get a bunch of matches. You'll have to scroll, or type more, to get the one you want. 

That's one of the objectives; it makes it easy to locate my project tags

>>That is why I use a special character (the dot) instead of the word Project ... I would namespace each tag with a different special character.

It works the same way, except I don't have to remember the shortcut (. = Project)     
Actually I do use tag prefix characters, but only for ?Who, !What, @Where, .When

>>In my case, all tags are GTD related

I have over 300 tags.  Only a few are GTD related     
I also have a set of !Actionable tags which I group in their own class    
Example:     !Actionable  
                           !ActionablePriority    
                                  !ActionablePriority-Important     
                                  !ActionablePriority-Urgent
                           !ActionableRecurring    
                                   !ActionableRecurring-Month1    
                           !ActionableStaus   
                                   !ActionableStaus-Pending

 

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