I’ve been searching for a few days for a simple way to integrate the features of Evernote with my GTD system. I stress simple because I don’twant a lot of clicks or shortcuts to make it work. I want to be able to empty my head in seconds and not lose my thought trying to figure out how to place it in my inbox. In the vein of “keep it as simple as possible, but no simpler”, this is what I’ve come up with:
The Phases of GTD:
Collect > Process > Organize > Review > Do
I have been using Evernote as one of my capture tools recently. I set it up with 3 and only 3 Notebooks. Simple. My default is INBOX. This is where all my incoming notes, emails, photos etc go. This is my collection bucket and is completely unprocessed. I get this INBOX to zero daily most of the time.
My 2nd Notebook is NEXT ACTIONS. As I process my INBOX I will tag the notes with the appropriate @CONTEXT. Currently I have settled on the following tags:
.PROJECTS = List of all my projects. This is a tickler or placeholder for the project and might contain some thoughts or mindmaps in the body.
@AGENDAS = Contains a note for each person I regularly need to discuss things with. In the body are the specific ticklers or items I want to talk with them next time I see them.
@ANYWHERE = Items that I can do anywhere. I don’t need a computer or phone or a specific person to accomplish these.
@CALLS = Specific calls that I need to make
@COMPUTER = Things I can only do while at a computer
@ERRANDS = Things I need to get while I am out and about, like supplies at Home Depot or Staples for example.
@HOME = Things I need to do at home like change the HVAC filter or clean the fish tank.
@READ/REVIEW = Items that I have clipped or emailed myself that I want to read at some point. Things might be articles from my Google Reader, a website or specific URL that I want to review later on
@WAITING FOR = I will clip or email myself tracking info for Amazon shipments etc.
@WORK = Things that I need to do at work. You never know when you might have an incredible idea about that certain project for that specific client while you are say running errands or just hanging out in a hammock.
Basically anything in my NEXT ACTIONS notebook are things that are undone and can be sorted by the CONTEXT that I am in.
My 3rd and final notebook is REFERENCE. Not everything that ends in my INBOX is ACTIONABLE. Sometimes it is just something cool that I emailed myself or a PDF that I want ubiquitous access to (I’ve installed the desktop client on my work and home laptops, as well as my Blackberry Storm). Items in the reference folder are tagged with categories that succinctly summarizes it and makes it additionally easy to find.
My current tags are:
FAMILY/PERSONAL – includes things like copies of birth certificates etc
GOAL SETTING – documents and workbooks for my goals
GTD – articles and documents about PDF
HEALTH & FITNESS – articles about health, workout routines, etc
PICTURES – Pictures of things like whiteboard brainstorms
RECIPES - Recipes that I’ve seen on FOOD NETWORK or otherwise would like to try or try again.
SOMEDAY/MAYBE – the infamous Someday I might do this.
TRAVEL – Places I’d like to travel, or information about a specific place like RESTAURANTS TO CHECKOUT WHILE IN ALBUQUERQUE
The Review phase is pretty simple from the desktop or web client. Simply click the context you are in and BLAMMO! there you have a list of things that you can do right now.
There is probably not a lot of DOING happening inside of Evernote, however, as part of this phase I determine if the action that I completed should be deleted or archived in the REFERENCE notebook. I will untag it from the @CONTEXT and tag it with one of the tags from the ORGANIZE phase. Honestly, most actions don’t get moved to REFERENCE. Some of the more complex projects that I would like to refer back to move to the REFERENCE notebook.
A pair of tips that I have found very helpful. I love the ability to email stuff to my Evernote account. However, the unique email address that is assigned is too hard to remember. So I created another GMAIL account that looks like: email@example.com and then created a filter to forward emails from my personal and work email addresses to the unique evernote address. It is then marked as read and moved to the archive. If somebody else were to email something to that inbox, it won’t get forwarded since the filter is only for my emails.
And for my multi-function printer, I pointed all scanned items to be saved in to the newly created directory: MY DOCUMENTS\EVERNOTE. I then took Evernote Windows Client and set that folder to automatically import to my INBOX. To do that: TOOLS > ACCOUNT PROPERTIES > FILE IMPORT and then point to your directory. It is also easy to DRAG ‘N DROP files in to that folder for quick and easy importing to Evernote.
Check Out The Definitive Guide of Evernote Essentials
The Book That Inspires The Evernote Team:
“Wow! Thanks for this book. I’ve been fascinated by MyLifeBits for years; it’s certainly inspired our thinking at Evernote.”
-Phil Libin, CEO, Evernote
Youtube Explanation (1m 4s): http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=MVU3eGIAiqw
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