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MKeithley

productivity Using Evernote for GTD

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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?

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.johnmayson.com/2011/09/setting-up-evernote-as-your-gtd.html

http://blog.johnmayson.com/2011/09/paper-and-evernote.html

http://blog.johnmayson.com/2011/09/its-all-been-tagged.html

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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.

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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 :)

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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.

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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!

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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!

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...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.

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...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!

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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

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I stopped using Evernote for GTD, because I find OmniFocus way more powerfull task manager. Only problem of OmniFocus is that it is platform dependent, so it doesn't make it the best system for everyone.

I found that tags are bringing a lot to the table, way more than contexts in GTD apps, simply, because you can tag freely and you can put several tags on single action task at once.

The lacking part of it, is that you have "checkboxes" that you need to create manually, which can be a drag, and that actually let me to not using the checkboxes at all. Instead every single note, represented a task. I found it to tedious to use checklists, especially, since it was a drag looking for a keyboard shortcut, and no ability to add checkboxes on mobile. Or completely lacking the ability to add checkboxes on mobile.

There are many strenghts of Evernote for GTD, and I miss a bunch of them. I still love global shortcut for "search". And Evernote's search is one of it's highest strengths.

If you stick to Evernote as your main GTD platform, you won't make mistake. I am quite certain it's not the top notch platform for it, but it does a good job at it!

---------------

Update: Daniel Gold's ebook on Evernote GTD is valuable resource in helping you implement GTD strategies inside Evernote, I wrote a review about it, and encourage you to check it out.

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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.

To clarify - GTD is an approach to productivity and not in itself a system. A GTD system refers to a specific implementation that might include tools like Evernote - though it could also include pen and paper. This is a subtle, but important distinction.

I completely agree that there's no "off the shelf" system that works for everyone. In my case, my GTD system consists of OmniFocus for keeping track of tasks and projects and Evernote and folders synced through Dropbox are used for project support information. My system also includes a filing cabinet with actual folders and paper…though most of the paper that comes into my life ends up getting scanned and stored in either Evernote or Dropbox.

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I'm new to GTD but I've been using tags to implement my lists.

What I would find helpful is if I could build on top of tags.

My inbox in EN is "any untagged note". When I complete a task I clear the various GTD tags (@context, area, !next or ~waiting) and tag it #done (any tag will do -- just so it doesn't show up in my untagged inbox.

If I move a task from !next to ~waiting, I usually clear the @context tag too so when I look at @pc I don't see waiting tasks. This is tedious ...

alternatively I could use queries but that is also tedious. Currently I view lists simply by looking at a single tag.

Also, while I love evernote, I also wish it had a bit of an note edit audit trail so I could look back and reconstruct a timeline of events associated with a note by looking at its audit trail. I am clearly getting by without this now but it would be nice to have. Currently I occassionally insert dates into notes next to sentences or paragraphs to account for the lack of timestamped edit audit trail.

All in all, EN is pretty cool. It would be great if siri (or something else) could provide quicker access to note creation and capture methods (photo or audio notes).

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Evernote is about my third candidate to find a "trusted system" for implementing GTD (after Outlook and OmniFocus -- GTD with OmniFocus was a complete failure because I need information and tasks in the same system, OF manages actions well, but not the information that belongs to or is needed to carry out the actions).

To me, it's natural to first of all dump all information into Evernote (inbox). Actions may be a byproduct of this information. That's why I track actions with the very same "information" notes most of the time. I don't branch out separate "action/project" notes, unless several very different and/or complex actionables stem from the same original note (this may be the case with the minutes of a big meeting, for example).

I try to do as little formal GTD as possible, only as much as needed. As a consequence, I don't always use tags other than context.

I use very few notebooks and do everything with tags (I'm even in the "all notebooks" view most of the time).

I don't spread GTD-"projects" out into individual "action" notes. About 95% of the time, it's not worth the trouble. I use the contents of a note to keep track of the next action(s), what/who I might be waiting for, and the action history with dates (very useful).

Notebooks:

_Inbox (default)

Work

Personal

Tag hierarchy:

Context:

@@MIT (1-2 most important task(s) for the day)

@Desk

@[boss's name]

@Home

@Read

@WaitingForSomeone (Work)

@WaitingForSomeone (Personal)

_Someday/Maybe

ScheduledInCalendar (when I have sth scheduled and cannot do sth about it right now, I replace the @context tag with this one)

Done (when sth is done, I replace the @context tag with this one)

IsAProject (just as a quick way to find the more complex multi-action notes)

Tickler:

01-January

...

12-December

Kind of communication/Information:

Received

Sent

Receipt

[spouse's name] (things I'm doing/archiving in behalf of my spouse)

Reference (used for stuff I copied from somewhere else)

Self (stuff I made up myself)

Categorization:

… some subject matter tags like financial, hobby, etc.

Structure within notes (fictitious example):

Note Title: Find Bla tool solution --> schedule requirements/demo session [this is the next action which I copy from the note body]

Note Tags: @Desk, @@MIT

Note Contents:

- schedule requirements/demo session

- Elicit requirements (moscow)

- Compare tool candidates with requirements --> shortlist

- make cost/tradeoff chart for shortlist

- confront req src with shortlist (demo)

- let boss choose with req favorite (& shortlist, cost/tradeoff chart)

… pilot?

… implementation & documentation (schedule?)

---------------------Done 11-12

- Get >=2 requirements sources from [xx]

--> John Doe, Jane Doe (on holiday from 20-12-2011

---------------------Done 9-12-2011

- Longlist tool candidates with technical stakeholders (constraints).

--------------------------------------

[initial note/idea/description/mail/blurb, fleshed out with information from a little initial analysis or research. Pursued physical outcome of the whole thing stands here.

As actionables can come out anywhere, this is mostly the "original" note. When I have actionables in regular (new) notes, I mark them with exclamation marks as first character in the line, and tag them with appropriate contexts later, when I clean up my inbox.]

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I agree using Siri to add to Evernote would be awesome. I have tried the work around hacks but they are not effective enough. I know Apple has not added a API for developers to tap into yet but the thought of using Siri to add notes to my GTD Trusted System seems like the perfect solution.

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I use very few notebooks and do everything with tags (I'm even in the "all notebooks" view most of the time).

Tickler:

01-January

...

12-December

Interesting format - thanks for sharing.

How does your Tickler with months work?

- Are they tags?

- Do you assign them based on the expected due date and change to the actual completion date?

- Or if it is a tag, do you remove it once the task is completed?

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I use very few notebooks and do everything with tags (I'm even in the "all notebooks" view most of the time).

Tickler:

01-January

...

12-December

Interesting format - thanks for sharing.

How does your Tickler with months work?

- Are they tags?

- Do you assign them based on the expected due date and change to the actual completion date?

- Or if it is a tag, do you remove it once the task is completed?

They are sub-tags under the "Tickler" tag. I only use them to remind me when I want to look at a note again, so they don't strictly indicate due dates. It helps me unclutter my other more immediate @contexts from things that I can't or don't want to do something with right now. Typical examples are doing the taxes in february, get winter tires on my car in november, review our expenses (quarterly), ... stuff which isn't relevant right now, but for which I don't want to schedule a concrete calendar item.

When the month in question starts, I select the tag, go through its items, remove the 01/02/..-tag and assign proper @contexts instead.

Of course, circumstances may change, so some notes may end up in the trash or the _Someday/Maybe tag.

I just need to be careful not to misuse the month tags to defer things (and defer them again, and again). That's not what they're for.

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I highly recommend minimizing the number of separate notebooks in Evernote, and focusing on using tags to separate your notes, at least as far as GTD is concerned. Theoretically, you could use Evernote for GTD by using only one notebook. The main benefit here is that any item can have any number of tags, but only one notebook.

Lets say you need to have a face to face conversation with a co-worker about an issue. You can enter that in Evernote and tag it with @office, and Next Action. Then you can sort on those tags to pull up that information. You could also tag int with the co-workers name, say, Bob, and then you sort on Bob's name and pull up everything you need to talk to Bob about. You can also tag it with a project name if it has to do with, so it would show up in a list of items related to that project, regardless of what context it is in. You couldn't do all of this if you put items in separate folders.

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Hi Everyone

If you like GTD and you like Evernote, then RUN DON'T WALK to check out The Secret Weapon.

I am a long time lover of GTD and EN, and when I found TSW - 2-3 months ago - I had it implemented in around 3 hours.

I moved all my current notes into a new notebook which I called: "Filing". Then I implemented GTD using the exact Secret Weapon method.

Its just stunning.

It's not only effective, it's a joy to use - which means that you use it!

Highly recommended. It is so easy to implement and to maintain.

Try it!

Malc

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I'm new to EN and I was initially excited about it. Now.....not so much. I'm a lawyer and need to keep my files in chrono order and in specific sections such as Attorney Correspondence, Client Correspondence, Pleadings, etc.....

I find that, if my sec'y is filing docs into EN, she has to manually type the date of each and every scrap of paper to keep it in chrono order. For example if she's filing 3 letters on Wed, 3 more on Thurs and then finds a 4th letter from Wed, how does she insert it in the correct chrono order without having to type in the date everytime? It's crucial to keep things in chrono order in my practice bc of settlement negotiations and offers going back and forth. It seems easier at this point to just print out the letter and put the physical copy in a physical file.

Am I missing something?

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I'm new to EN and I was initially excited about it. Now.....not so much. I'm a lawyer and need to keep my files in chrono order and in specific sections such as Attorney Correspondence, Client Correspondence, Pleadings, etc.....

I find that, if my sec'y is filing docs into EN, she has to manually type the date of each and every scrap of paper to keep it in chrono order. For example if she's filing 3 letters on Wed, 3 more on Thurs and then finds a 4th letter from Wed, how does she insert it in the correct chrono order without having to type in the date everytime? It's crucial to keep things in chrono order in my practice bc of settlement negotiations and offers going back and forth. It seems easier at this point to just print out the letter and put the physical copy in a physical file.

Am I missing something?

Hi. Welcome to the forums. There is no way to manually sort items into any particular order, so you have to rely on attributes like the title, created date, updated date, etc. to sort properly. There are two methods that I use (http://www.princeton.edu/~cmayo/evernote-organization.html):

(1) I title all notes with YYMMDD + keywords. You have already said that you would prefer not to do this, but it is a pretty painless process, and makes it easy to sort by title, which automatically arranges everything in chronological order.

(2) I use note links to order notes. Basically, you just open a note into a separate window, drag all of the notes you want to link to it into the note, and then arrange them as you see fit.

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Thank you, Grumpy.

Yes, the process of dating everything with MM/DD/YY sounds painless to me, but not my sec'y.

I believe it is more efficient, at this point, to stick with paper files.

Thanks so much for your insight.

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Hi Malc,

Glad to hear our TSW system is working for you. It's why we put the time and resources into putting up that site and the training videos. "The Secret Weapon" works so well for our company and employees, we wanted to share it with others.

Again, thanks for the acknowledgement.

Scott

Hi Everyone

If you like GTD and you like Evernote, then RUN DON'T WALK to check out The Secret Weapon.

I am a long time lover of GTD and EN, and when I found TSW - 2-3 months ago - I had it implemented in around 3 hours.

I moved all my current notes into a new notebook which I called: "Filing". Then I implemented GTD using the exact Secret Weapon method.

Its just stunning.

It's not only effective, it's a joy to use - which means that you use it!

Highly recommended. It is so easy to implement and to maintain.

Try it!

Malc

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Hi Everyone

If you like GTD and you like Evernote, then RUN DON'T WALK to check out The Secret Weapon.

I am a long time lover of GTD and EN, and when I found TSW - 2-3 months ago - I had it implemented in around 3 hours.

I moved all my current notes into a new notebook which I called: "Filing". Then I implemented GTD using the exact Secret Weapon method.

Its just stunning.

It's not only effective, it's a joy to use - which means that you use it!

Highly recommended. It is so easy to implement and to maintain.

Try it!

Malc

I agree, finally put all my current notes in "My Notes" and will get to them and basically started from ground zero with TSW.

I do have a processing question not just for you but anyone...

I get my stuff in my "Inbox" (call it that vs action pending) and I tag and now I work on it, etc, but maybe not through working on it, and want to keep it in my "This Week" etc... so what notebook do i move it to? It's not completed, it's not "cabinet", its still in forefront and active but it is cluttering up my inbox.... Thoughts?

BTW - i did change my "next" "waiting" "soon" to the following tags that match my workflow to "1-Today" "2-This Week" "3-Next Week" "4-This Month" "Someday" - this somewhat mimics what I used to do on paper with a planner pad....

Thx.

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Update: Also wanted to add that I take notes from meetings and have a "notes" tag - but where do I put them? Completed notebook? Seems like would work if I had a "notes" notebook....

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Update: Also wanted to add that I take notes from meetings and have a "notes" tag - but where do I put them? Completed notebook? Seems like would work if I had a "notes" notebook....

I actually have a "Meeting Notes" notebook - it's been invaluable for me. If I had a meeting - in person, phone, Skype, etc. - the notes just live in that notebook. I don't have to think as to where the notes may be - they're always in "Meeting Notes." This is also handy as a go-to spot if you use something like Meshin Calendar to link up your notes to your schedule.

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I have been using Livescribe's new Sky WiFi pen with Evernote and it is awesome for my Evernote-based GTD system.

The Sky pen is an actual ink pen with some kind of optics that captures what you write on the page and sends it to your Evernote account wirelessly. This gives me the natural feel and precision of writing on paper with the advantages of viewing, sharing and saving handwritten notes in Evernote. And Evernote's OCR allows notes to be searched.

Is anyone else using this amazing tool?

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I have been using Livescribe's new Sky WiFi pen with Evernote and it is awesome for my Evernote-based GTD system.

The Sky pen is an actual ink pen with some kind of optics that captures what you write on the page and sends it to your Evernote account wirelessly. This gives me the natural feel and precision of writing on paper with the advantages of viewing, sharing and saving handwritten notes in Evernote. And Evernote's OCR allows notes to be searched.

Is anyone else using this amazing tool?

Sounds like a great tool. I simply scan notes with my scansnap or take a photo of it and add it to Evernote. Its not as fancy, requires a couple of steps more to get it into evernote, but gets the job done :-)

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Oh by the way for my GTD needs... I also use less notebooks and try to organize my notes with tags extensively. I wanted speed to organize notes while creating them, so I organize my tags using numbers and special chars. For example

  • “:” defines for Type of stuff
  • “@” concerns Tasks (I will elaborate on that in a future post).
  • “1″ defines Department
  • “2″ defines Role
  • “3″ defines Project
  • “4″ defines System
  • “5″ defines Technology

This way when creating a note, I click on the tag section press 1 to 5 and i get dropdowns to organize my note. All done within seconds.

I wrote a couple of posts on this at

http://gieglas.com/382-getting-organized-with-evernote-gtd-methodology/

http://gieglas.com/425-getting-organized-with-evernote-gtd-task-management/

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I have been using Livescribe's new Sky WiFi pen with Evernote and it is awesome for my Evernote-based GTD system.

The Sky pen is an actual ink pen with some kind of optics that captures what you write on the page and sends it to your Evernote account wirelessly. This gives me the natural feel and precision of writing on paper with the advantages of viewing, sharing and saving handwritten notes in Evernote. And Evernote's OCR allows notes to be searched.

Is anyone else using this amazing tool?

Yes, bought it on launch and now it is syncing properly with ios, I find it invaluable.

Had a meeting last week of 90 minutes. Took notes and recorded the whole thing. Very useful to go back to!

Regards

Chris

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I'm Karol - the elder one on the photo ;-) I'm new here, but am an Evernote Premium user since couple of months.

As I'm also a huge fun of David Allen GTD. So I was trying to run the Evernote GTD style. But finally I gave up.

I have also a small IT company with 2 frieds of mine. So we decided to develop something that would be the GTD Solution for Evernote. It's almost ready. Should be available on iPad this year, iPhone and Android beginning of 2013.

If you want some more info - check here: www.everdo.it On Monday we will update the page, so that there are more details. You want to know more now - email me - karol@ft-point.com

Regards,

Karol

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I use Evernote as my portable brain, and I use primarily tags for organization. "Inbox" and "Reference" are my two primary folders - anything actionable goes into the inbox, and everything else (manuals, recipes, etc.) goes into the Reference folder. I have a handful of shared folders in use, as well.

The thing that finally made it work as a GTD system for me is a nifty little app called Zendone. It syncs with your default Evernote folder (where anything potentially actionable goes), and everything you put into that folder shows up in your Zendone inbox. From there, Zendone allows you to process each item, where you can turn it into an action, archive it to a selected folder, delete it, etc. You can add due dates, and it syncs with Google Calendar. It's currently in free beta, and they have an iPhone app out, with an Android version coming soon. Hooray!! :)

Anyway. HIGHLY recommended, and greatly simplifies the whole process!

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The problem with Zendone is that it is not truly bidirectional. You can mess things up if you start editing and creating tasks in EN and then viewing them in ZD. This seems to be an issue with several apps that overlay EN - you get forced to use only that app - rather than EN directly as well. I think everdo.it also has this draw back.

That said, if you stick with ZD and don't "look under the hood" at EN then you are probably fine.

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@gatobrit

Would you like to join the beta - tests for iPhone and v1.1 for iPad? You could see for yourself how EverDo.it manages this issue.

As you probably know the start of EverDo.it was... yes, not the best. Next week we will have the first update that will fix the bugs that are annoying and - to some extent - make the use of EverDo.it impossible.

But we don't give up and keep developing. The roadmap for next features is almost ready.

So if anyone is interested, just let me know - kstojek@onemln.com

BR,

Karol

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@gatobrit

Would you like to join the beta - tests for iPhone and v1.1 for iPad? You could see for yourself how EverDo.it manages this issue.

As you probably know the start of EverDo.it was... yes, not the best. Next week we will have the first update that will fix the bugs that are annoying and - to some extent - make the use of EverDo.it impossible.

But we don't give up and keep developing. The roadmap for next features is almost ready.

So if anyone is interested, just let me know - kstojek@onemln.com

BR,

Karol

Yes I would be delighted to beta test. Send me a message as to how I sign up.

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Hi there !

 

   I'm french, and I've discovered GTD a few weeks ago. Before trying to apply it, I was looking for a unified solution for all those to-do's. Then I discovered Evernote, and many ways to organize Notebooks and tags, including the famous "The Secret Weapon" that has been indicated sooner.

 

   As many others, I believe that both GTD and Evernote are tools, that has to be configured for the convenience of each user. And I also believe that the more suggestions can be found, the more ideas for tuning there will be !

 

   So here is my own organization, as it is now. I really appreciated TSW, but I thought that if each note has to be set with a ".When" tag, and only one, why use tag ? So I began to tune TSW my own way, to this result :

 

Notebooks :

 

@Inbox                        (default notebook, where all my new notes go)

Actions pending (a notebook pile) :

!NOW                (actions I have to do today)

1 - Daily             (actions that I have to do daily)

2 - Tickler          (actions with a date ; all of them start with YYYY-MM-DD + keywords)

3 - This week     (actions that have to be done first)

4 - Next week     (actions that have to be done next)

5 - ASAP            (actions that have to be done later)

6 - Someday      (actions that I might do one day, but not for now)

7 - Waiting         (actions that are waiting for somebody else to act)

Done                  (actions that are done)

Active Projets               (each note in this notebook is a checklist with the different steps of the project)

Notes/References (another notebook pile) :

(notes are saved here with one notebook by theme, alphabetically ordered, eventually splitted to avoid too many notes in one notebook, so I have a Contacts  Work notebook, a Contacts - Girls notebook, etc.)

 

Tags :

 

   My tags are TSW-inspired : What, Where, Who, and associated sub-tags. I use different symbols for each type : @ for the Where tags, + for the Who tags, - for the What tags.

 

   I use tags mostly on my Androïd phone, because it's much way easier to navigate through, but I use mostly notebooks on my computers and for review

 

Daily, I review my actions pending, and move notes from one to another Actions notebooks if appropriate.

 

Weekly, I review all my notebooks but Notes/Reference, create new items, and organize them.

 

Hope it gave you some ideas :)

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Awesome update to Evernote with the ability to "tag" things with a reminder time and receive an email day of to remind. Also creates a "checklist" with all the reminders for the day that can be checked off. Significant enhancement for my possible use of Evernote for GTD. I have been waiting for reminders in Evernote to close the loop on many items of my GTD system. This is especially true for the "Waiting For" notebook and the "Projects Delegated" Notebooks.

 

Thank you Evernote!

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Awesome update to Evernote with the ability to "tag" things with a reminder time and receive an email day of to remind. Also creates a "checklist" with all the reminders for the day that can be checked off. Significant enhancement for my possible use of Evernote for GTD. I have been waiting for reminders in Evernote to close the loop on many items of my GTD system. This is especially true for the "Waiting For" notebook and the "Projects Delegated" Notebooks.

 

Thank you Evernote!

Saw update but didn't see where you could do this... 

Where?  How??  Lol

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Awesome update to Evernote with the ability to "tag" things with a reminder time and receive an email day of to remind. Also creates a "checklist" with all the reminders for the day that can be checked off. Significant enhancement for my possible use of Evernote for GTD. I have been waiting for reminders in Evernote to close the loop on many items of my GTD system. This is especially true for the "Waiting For" notebook and the "Projects Delegated" Notebooks.

 

Thank you Evernote!

Saw update but didn't see where you could do this... 

Where?  How??  Lol

 

In SmartGTD ;-) 

 

BTW - anyone interested in beta - testing the web version of our app? Before you decide, please join us on a G+ hangout (click) to see if it's worth. Starts tomorrow at 8 PM CET. Next hangouts approaching :-)

 

Karol

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the first thing i'd do is delete all of those notebooks :)

as others said, use tags, save time, and get stuff done :)

 

On the contrary, I think that the use of notebooks is usefull, in GTD. You have anyway to choose a notebook. Why not choose a proper notebook, instead of adding status tag? And when reviewing, drag&drop is easier then editing tags.

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the first thing i'd do is delete all of those notebooks :)

as others said, use tags, save time, and get stuff done :)

 

On the contrary, I think that the use of notebooks is usefull, in GTD. You have anyway to choose a notebook. Why not choose a proper notebook, instead of adding status tag? And when reviewing, drag&drop is easier then editing tags.

Everyone has their own system, and I'd recommend you do whatever works for you! As a somewhat lazy GTD kind of guy, I tend to like things to be as simple as possible. For me, at least, tags are a lot easier to manipulate than notebooks. And using no tags at all is even easier! If it doesn't fit your workflow or situation, though, then by all means, use more notebooks.

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After much experimentation, I realized that for me Evernote was not ideal as a task manager. It is designed to do everything, when I need something faster, simpler, and more focused for task management.

 

I've helped a lot of people get set up with a basic GTD system, so I created an online course on using Evernote to implement GTD-based workflows on Skillshare:

 

Would love to get feedback/reactions from all of you on the content.

Edited by GrumpyMonkey
Spam removed.

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I think using Evernote as the only system for GTD can quickly become overwhelming. Personally, I like to keep things separate. For example, I use OmniFocus for tasks only (ie. things I have to do), Evernote for all reference material, Pocket for articles I want to read (but don't have to read, those do go into OmniFocus), and I keep ideas for projects, blog articles, etc. in a notebook in Evernote. That way the things I must do and cannot loose track of are all in OmniFocus with a link to the Evernote note where any reference material is. I explain how I use OmniFocus and Evernote together here if you're interested.

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I think using Evernote as the only system for GTD can quickly become overwhelming. Personally, I like to keep things separate.

 

I used to be this way, thinking it'd be information overload to have everything in one system. But for me, after months and months of trying to find a system that works between Evernote for storage/reference and a task app for actionable items, I've found it -- keeping it all in Evernote. That way, I have one inbox I ever have to worry about, and that alone has made my life much simpler. I dump any and everything into my !Inbox, sort it at least once a day, oftentimes more, and rest assured I've got it all in an app I trust. Tasks go to the Actions notebook with active tasks getting a Reminder and someday/maybe being tagged as such, and reference material goes to my Notes notebook (or one of the shared folders I've got for work), and tag it with location, person, and subject contexts, and the tag for the item's project if it's not just a one-off task. Dumbing it down to the bare bones has immensely sped up my process, and left me more time to work. I can then use the flexibility of the tags to sort my items however I please. I'm not limited by what the task management app allows me to do, because I made my own system. That's the beauty of Evernote - it really is what you make it.

 

Every task management app I've tried has had some flaw that's stopped me from continuing its use (OmniFocus = limit to one context and Apple only, Wunderlist = buggy, Todoist = inability to use Project as a search function, Things = Apple only, Nozbe, Nirvana, Zendone... I've tried them all). Having only one inbox to worry about and the ability to make the system my own has put Evernote above everything I've tried thus far.

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I've tried by Zendone and also GQueues (configured for GTD - no link to Evernote) but I think I'm going back to straight Evernote.

 

The way I have is set up is to have the tags with sub-tags (only sub-tags in how they look on Windows Evernote) as follows:

 

_Context

   @Computer

   @Home

   @Work

   @Outing

      @(Specific Places I go to regularly)

   @Phone

 

_Projects

   .Project1

   .Project2

   .Etc

   Archived Projects

 

_Time

   <10                           --- I use this one to track tasks that are more than 2 minutes but that I can get done in less than 10 minutes - nice when I have a quick break to be able to find something appropriate. I could probably also create 'Tickler' timescales in here as well but I haven't found those to be useful yet.

 

Then I have notebooks specifically for my tasks:

 

Tasks (notebook stack)

   !Focus                      --- This is a bit of a work around - I like to have an idea of what my higher priority ones are and I think it's better to have a notebook as I don't want to have to add/remove a tag, I can just drop the note/task into this folder from wherever it is.

   !Next Actions

   Sometime/Maybe

   Renovations             --- This is a specific one for me - we have a lot of house renovations to do but no money with which to do them - it's kind of a "Sometime/Maybe" but wanted them separate. They could also just be tagged with a '.Renovations' project but I found they tended to clutter up my other tasks and it may be several years before I can tackle them.

 

 

I use my Google Calendar for tasks with a specific date in mind. I use Reminders on Tasks that are either linked to those events or are things I *might* go to but don't want to clutter my calendar with.

 

I'm still playing and refining, these are the big positives and negatives I've found with 'vanilla' Evernote over other task lists or task lists that attempt to integrate with Evernote.

 

Pros:

 - Only one set of tags to maintain.

 - Nice integration with all my gadgets (I have some clever shortcuts set up on my phone to keep everything very easy to review/add)

 - Confidence in my data sync/security

 - Good integration with things like Evernote Clipper

 

Cons:

 - Still feel the 'focus' idea needs refining - I don't subscribe to reviewing my tasks every day/every month - I should only be looking at them twice (or possibly three times tops) - once to add them, possibly once to refine their categorisation/tags and once when I do the task and get rid of it. Having to move them between a 'Next Actions' pile and 'Focus' pile is an unnecessary step but I'm still working on how to do that better.

 - The data-hoarder in me feels a bit unhappy with deleting my tasks when I've done them but archiving them leaves them appearing in searches and if you have a reminder on them there's a two-step process to remove the reminder and then archive - not happy with that either. For the moment, I just don't empty my trash and if/when I do decide to empty it, I can always search using the @ symbol and then archive them then.

 

Happy to talk through the things I've done on my Android phone to make access to my 'Tasks' very easy if someone is interested..

 

Cheers

Vicky

 

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Hi,

 

I am Jorge, from the Zendone team.

 

I wanted to add that Zendone lets you attach existing Evernote notes to actions. We have supported that for a while by pasting Evernote links, but since a few months ago we also offer a nice explorer that lets you browse and search your notes when attaching them without leaving the app.

 

In general, Zendone's vision is that Evernote is the best tool for collecting, archiving and finding notes. So we work seamlessly with notes that are created with Evernote or any other app that integrates with Evernote. In fact, you can create actions in Zendone without opening zendone at all

 

evernote_notes_browser.png

 

The problem with Zendone is that it is not truly bidirectional. You can mess things up if you start editing and creating tasks in EN and then viewing them in ZD. This seems to be an issue with several apps that overlay EN - you get forced to use only that app - rather than EN directly as well. I think everdo.it also has this draw back.

That said, if you stick with ZD and don't "look under the hood" at EN then you are probably fine.

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Hi Jorge, 

 

this is a nice feature. Quite similar to our "reference" feature in SmartTM. Using SmartTM you can attach existing notes to tasks and / or projects. 

 

Cheers, 

 

Karol

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