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Uncle Bob

How evernote could be my ultimate to-do list

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I use evernote in every meeting I attend, and that is a massive part of my job. One feature idea that would be HUGE: the ability to identify a line as a "to-do" item and then have a smart note of some sort that would collect every item tagged as a to-do from all the myriad of notes that I have. 

 

Here's the scenario: I'm in a meeting, taking notes as necessary. Sometimes there are action items. After the meeting, I have to take time to move those items somewhere where they won't be lost as I move on the next meeting and next topic. If I could go one place and see everything I'd identified as action items, it would be a huge time saver. 

 

Thanks,

UB

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I use evernote in every meeting I attend, and that is a massive part of my job. One feature idea that would be HUGE: the ability to identify a line as a "to-do" item and then have a smart note of some sort that would collect every item tagged as a to-do from all the myriad of notes that I have.

Here's the scenario: I'm in a meeting, taking notes as necessary. Sometimes there are action items. After the meeting, I have to take time to move those items somewhere where they won't be lost as I move on the next meeting and next topic. If I could go one place and see everything I'd identified as action items, it would be a huge time saver.

Thanks,

UB

It's an interesting idea, but I can't see EN implementing it.

I could see one of our more clever users writing scripts for it.

Perhaps a note tagged as Actionable, with several checkboxes -> processed to create separate to-do notes.

And another script to consolidate to-do notes into a master note.

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Floating a quick "[ ]" in course of typing the note would create a 'to do' item for that line.  Uncompleted to-dos can be searched for along with meeting dates / topics etc - I would imagine you could find and copy those items easily enough if required...

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Uncle Bob

I have a question about taking notes in meetings.

Can you explain the benefits of using Evernote.

Other than filing, I'm thinking there are much better apps out there that I would use on an iPad.

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Filing / Sharing / Searching / access from multiple devices / setting reminders / developing detailed project notes or notebooks arising from a meeting...

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>>taking notes in meetings. Other than filing, I'm thinking there are much better apps out there that I would use on an iPad.

Yes, there are resons for filing notes in Evernote, and it is my choice tool.

But I was more interested in the actual note taking process. I'm thinking it would involve some typing, sketching, taking some photos.

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Hey, Uncle Bob. Here is an idea to consider. 

 

When you're in a meeting taking notes, put the "To Do" items in a single common Evernote Note where you want to put all your "To Do" items.

 

If you are working with Evernote on a desktop (a least on Windows), you can have more that one Note open at the same time. Switching from one Note to another isn't any harder than clicking at another point in a single open Note.

 

I recognize that handheld device versions of Evernote don't allow more than one Note to be open at a time, but consider if frequently opening and closing Notes during a meeting is less effort than moving "To Do" items after the meeting is over. - - - I'll bet it might be. You said, "Sometimes there are action items". That doesn't sound like "almost every time" or that there are many, many, action items in any one meeting.

 

The concept is to put information in the Note where you want it the first time you encounter the information. Don't make it a practice of putting it in one place and then move it to another place at a later time. Not only is it additional effort, such information transfers are subject to error. - - - - Putting "To Do" items on the same page as other notes about what transpired at the meeting is merely a convenient convention / practice that originated in a paper-based world. 

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Floating a quick "[ ]" in course of typing the note would create a 'to do' item for that line.  Uncompleted to-dos can be searched for along with meeting dates / topics etc - I would imagine you could find and copy those items easily enough if required...

 

This is actually a really good simple suggestion! I'm going to give it a try.

 

Thanks!

 

UB

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Hey, Uncle Bob. Here is an idea to consider. 

 

When you're in a meeting taking notes, put the "To Do" items in a single common Evernote Note where you want to put all your "To Do" items.

 

If you are working with Evernote on a desktop (a least on Windows), you can have more that one Note open at the same time. Switching from one Note to another isn't any harder than clicking at another point in a single open Note.

 

I recognize that handheld device versions of Evernote don't allow more than one Note to be open at a time, but consider if frequently opening and closing Notes during a meeting is less effort than moving "To Do" items after the meeting is over. - - - I'll bet it might be. You said, "Sometimes there are action items". That doesn't sound like "almost every time" or that there are many, many, action items in any one meeting.

 

The concept is to put information in the Note where you want it the first time you encounter the information. Don't make it a practice of putting it in one place and then move it to another place at a later time. Not only is it additional effort, such information transfers are subject to error. - - - - Putting "To Do" items on the same page as other notes about what transpired at the meeting is merely a convenient convention / practice that originated in a paper-based world. 

 

Evernote is open on my ipad in virtually every meeting. The reason is that it doesn't put a screen between us, it's down on the table, and I spend as little time looking at it and interacting with it as possible. So switching notes "in the moment" is not really feasible. Also, the note that is open usually involves information I need for the meeting, as well as notes I'm taking etc. I can't have evernote become a distraction, it has to be a silent partner...

 

UB

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>>taking notes in meetings. Other than filing, I'm thinking there are much better apps out there that I would use on an iPad.

Yes, there are resons for filing notes in Evernote, and it is my choice tool.

But I was more interested in the actual note taking process. I'm thinking it would involve some typing, sketching, taking some photos.

 

I have about a dozen recurring meetings every week, and then any number of less frequent meetings. So for each of my direct reports I have a note that I use to keep things in that I need to talk with them about. I have copies of prior communication that might have issues that need to be referenced or addressed in that note as well. I use evernote as an informal agenda for those meetings, and many times I'll write down something I agree to do for them. The worst of all possible outcomes is to open that note a week later and find I have something I said I would do that's sitting there unaddressed. 

 

I can also find in a single meeting any number of things that need to be addressed with other people and/or groups. Other things need to be placed on an agenda for a different meeting etc. 

 

So for the most part i have one note open during a meeting, unless I am getting information or looking up documents and such that I store in evernote. 

 

The reason I use evernote is that it's on my ipad, my iphone and my computer. I use the ipad in meetings, but sometimes all I have available is my phone, and I can still access my notes to look things up or add agenda items or record the details of a conversation. I never use my phone in a meeting because it's too intrusive (you can type on an ipad without staring down at it like you would a phone). 

 

Then I can access all of my information at my desk, but I mostly use the desktop client as a way to add bigger items (policy manuals for example) to evernote, as well as moving information around as the desktop is vastly more efficient than either of the mobile apps.

 

UB

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@UB,

 

I have a meeting note for each report in the format Status Meeting - personname - yyyy.mm.dd tagged with personname and !2-Next (a TSW tag) if it has any follow ups.  I tag any other notes that I want to reference with that person with the person tag and !2-Next.  For example the search Tag:=Smith Tag:!2-Next will return any notes to be discussed with Smith including the last meeting note if it still has the !2-Next tag on it.  And the search Tag:!2-Next intitle:"Status Meeting" returns any status meetings with open items. 

 

The iPad is not the friendliest for switching among notes, but I find if I use the above search I have a manageable number of notes upon which to work and I can easily scroll back to the base meeting note (at the top since I use created date as the sort).  Minimal amount of looking down time.  FWIW.

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UB, OK, I am 0 for 1.

 

After reading the additional detail you provided in the above post, I think what you need is a relational database app. The bad news is I don't think there is one that will run on all your computers.

 

So, let me offer another approach with Evernote. (What I describe below would take some setup (and catch-up). Don't let that deter you from trying it out and determining whether it will be of any help.)

 

Change from putting "To Do" items in the body of Notes. Instead, make each "To Do" item its own Evernote Note. The Title of the Note is a short description of the "To Do". Make sure it starts with a verb (e.g. Build, Read, Buy).

 

The body of the "To Do" Note could include: (1) any detail needed to describe the "To Do" item, (2) relevant reference information and supporting material, and/or (3) links to other Notes. 

 

Now, here is the key. Use Tags to filter the list down to a set of Notes that you want to deal with at a particular point in time. I see possibly 3 different kinds of Tags that you may want to assign to each "To Do" Note. They are:

  • Person/Group Tag. This would be the person or group of people you want to address the "To Do" item with. Examples are: Self, NieceWendy, and NephewTom. You can, of course, give a Note 2 or more Person/Group Tags.
  • ProjectID Tag - You may want to see a list of all "To Do" items for a specific project, regardless of which Person/Group the item is Tagged to. - - - Doing this implies that you have given each of your projects a ProjectID, which is a good idea by itself. (It would likely be a good idea to assign a ProjectID Tag to each of your "Meeting" Notes.)
  • Status Tag - A simple scheme for this Tag would be to have 2 possible values like "Open" and "Closed". There are many other, more elaborate schemes. I leave it to you to determine what scheme makes the most sense to you.

Two other types of Tags come to mind, but they probably would have less value to you. They are:

  • Priority Tag - This would be some set of values that indicate either the importance of the "To Do" item or the sequence in which it is to be addressed, relative to other items.
  • ToDo Tag - You, no doubt, have a lot of Notes that are not "To Do" items. If you want to see all the "To Do" items and only the "To Do" items, then use a Tag to mark each one and filter then when needed.

 

There is something else you can do to make this approach effective. That is, create some Evernote "ShortCuts" that will filter the list of "To Do" items down to ones that you commonly use.

 

That is likely my best shot (idea) for your application.

 

I hope you feel that some variation of the approach I laid out above is helpful.

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I use standard checkboxes in my meeting notes for ToDos.  I have mostly moved my ToDo list out to Wunderlist, and use Task Clone to find those checkboxes and move them to Wunderlist.   But I also have 2 saved searches I keep in my sidebar.  

1 - To Complete (week)

2 - To Complete (month)

These searches look for notes that have "CONTAINS: Incomplete to-dos" & "Updated Since: last week" (or month)

Then, I scan through these on a regular basis to see notes with items I have not completed yet.  It's not one consolidated list, but it works for what I use it for.  

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I use Evernote for everything in my business and personal life.

In my business a Note is created when an enquiry comes in by phone or email. Within that Note there will be at least one 'tick box'

As well as a 'tick box' for each task, I always have a final 'tick box' to say the whole Note has been completed.

In a meeting each task that I have to complete has a 'tick box'. With the same final 'tick box' to say everything has been completed.

Notes that have not been completed stay in my Notebook entitled 'Diary - 2015'. By using a date code followed by company name and persons name I can easily see the date a note was created meaning how old it is. For example:

151218 - SWI - Chris Grew

Once all 'tick boxes' have been completed within a Note, that Note will be moved to the Notebook 'Diary - 2015 Completed'

On average I create 15 - 30 new Notes per day. With a total in excess of 20K

Regards

 

Chris

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