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thestones

Evernote for case management

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I am learning so much from this group and appreciate all the thoughtful posts.  Here is a puzzle I am struggling to solve:  At the office, I am part of a team that has multiple cases running at once. We use Evernote to track case history.  However, we struggle with task lists.  We keep task lists at the case level, but then lose track of the big picture -- which case has current priority, what can we move to a lower priority while waiting, etc.  
 How can we most efficiently track tasks (to do / doing / done) while also tracking status at the case level?

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Hi.  I like to keep things as simple as possible,  so my priorities are dealt with in a third-party app,  while notes and histories are in Evernote.  Each project has a Table of Contents page linking to all notes created or linked to the activity,  and the link to that ToC page is included in the third-party app which manages time and progress.  Many to-do apps now include multiple user access and team management tools.  Evernote will never have anything to match the sophistication of those features,  but it does excel on storage and retrieval. 

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3 hours ago, thestones said:

How can we most efficiently track tasks (to do / doing / done) while also tracking status at the case level?

Like @gazumped, I'd probably be looking at alternative dedicated software; this seems too important to be compromised with the limitations of Evernote.  

If you want to proceed with Evernote, there are methods to implement efficiency

>>we struggle with task lists.  We keep task lists at the case level, but then lose track of the big picture -- which case has current priority, what can we move to a lower priority while waiting, etc.  

I assume you've implemented a tagging system.  
- Each case having a tag so all the task are linked together
- Using ?who tags to identify peope assigned to tasks
- Something from GTD and TSW, when now/soon/later/someday tags to indicate priority

I also use reminder<>calendar to keep track of due dates.

I also use a master note to summarize my projects; its more usefull that a simple list generated by a search of notes.
More than a table of contents, it's structured in a readable form and has links to the tasks (I just do a mass copy/paste of the links after a search)
I assume you have a periodic review of cases. and assign tasks and priorities.  This would be useful for that

Another GTD concept.  Don't get sidetracked by the list of many tasks.  
- Identify the Next Action.  
- After a task is completed, identify the Next Action.
Assign the next action a priority (when tag) so it doesn't get overlooked

 

 

3 hours ago, thestones said:

 

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If you want to continue to keep your tasks in EN one way could be to create a note for each task and tag all those notes with something like !Task.  Then add tags for Case, Priority, and whatever else.  Add a few saved searches and you should be able to review your work fairly easily.  But as others have said, there may be software more specific to your needs.  This would let you keep all your stuff in EN if that is your intent though.  FWIW.

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11 hours ago, thestones said:

How can we most efficiently track tasks (to do / doing / done) while also tracking status at the case level?

You may want to consider tools like IQTell, which does a great job of:

  1. Tight integration with Evernote 
  2. Project/Task/Action management
  3. Integrating your calendar and email with the above

IQTell has Actions and Sub-Actions.  The main Action could be your Case, and the sub-actions your Tasks

Or, you could use Projects and Actions in the same manner.

 

IAC, each of these has a Priority field, and also allows you to delegate the Project/Action/Sub-Action to others.

You can use EN Notes for recording details, status reports, research, really anything related and attach the Note to the Project/Action/Sub-Action.

 

It is also very easy to create a IQTell Project or Action from Evernote just by assigning a user-defined tag to the Note.

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You're looking at Kanban 101, which is not the easiest in Evernote. I recommend WorkFlowy for simple outlining. You need a drag-and-drop tool to push and pull tasks in typical Kanban fashion. You need an outliner that can give you Kanban within Kanban within Kanban. It can be done in Evernote, but the implementation is a bit clunky. WorkFlowy can be a brilliant compliment to Evernote. It will give you the bigger picture you need and anywhere in between. I haven't found a better tool that will help you "Visualize your workflow" and "Limit your Work in Progress". 

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@thestones - The way I interpret your post is that you want (1) a way to prioritize cases and (2) you want a way to prioritize tasks within cases. My suggestions are along the lines of what @csihilling  mentioned above. That is:

For Cases - Create a master Evernote Note for each case. In the body of the Note, include whatever meta data about the case that is important. Give each case Note 2 tags. One Tag marks it as a case Note. The second Tag defines its priority. (Create a standard list of values for priorities before hand. There are many ways to do this.) Use the "List" view in EN to select all the case master Notes and modify their priorities as is appropriate.

For Tasks - Each task would be an EN Note. Again, the body of the Note would include whatever information is helpful to perform the task. Each task Note would have 3 Tags: One that defines it as a "task" Note. A second that defines what case it belongs to, A third Tag that defines its priority. Again, Use the "List" view in EN to select all the tasks Notes for a specific case and modify their priorities as is appropriate.

As usual, saving some "Searches" and adding them to the "Shortcuts" list will speed up the process of narrowing the EN Notes on the "List" view to the desired ones that need attention.

As a variation, you can put all the Notes for a given case into its own Notebook.

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