Using Evernote as a task management system
August 4, 2014 | 10:38 am
By Juli Monroe
Last year Joanna wrote an excellent guide to Evernote, and I’ve been a fan for years. I recently read Evernote for Dummies, through Scribd, and, although I didn’t learn much new from the book, it did inspire me to use Evernote in a new (to me) way.
I’ve been telling clients for years that Evernote can be used as a complete task management system, but I never used it that way myself, preferring my much-loved Pocket Informant app. Well, when I say “much loved,” I do mean that in the past tense. I wasn’t crazy about the changes in the latest update, so I was primed to find something new. I set up a system in Evernote, and I’ve been using it for two weeks now. I’m loving it!
If you know Evernote, you know everything is focused around the Note. Evernote allows you to add check boxes to notes, which is one of the reasons it’s perfect for task management. Here’s my note containing tasks for today.
Looks like I’m almost done with my tasks which must be done today. One of the things I’m loving about Evernote and couldn’t quite get to work in Pocket Informant is minimizing the “due today” list. My work does involved certain tasks which must be done on a daily basis, so I can’t avoid the situation, but all the task management apps I’ve used have too much focus on “what to do today” with less-good methods of focusing on “tasks that need to be done but don’t absolutely have to be done on a particular date.”
Using Evernote, I have notes for Monday through Friday, and I try to keep those notes limited to tasks which are time sensitive to those particular days. For everything else, I have the “Week Ending…” note.
As you can see, I’d scheduled this article to be done this week. Looks like I’ll manage that.
What I’ve been doing each day is burning through the daily list and then moving to the Week Ending list. For the last two weeks, it’s been working well. I’ve cleared several tasks which had been hanging around for a while.
I have two other notes, a Someday and On Particular Date. Someday is just that. They need to be done, but there’s no specific due date. On Particular Date, however, contains tasks which will end up on future Daily notes.
I’ve been making liberal use of Evernote reminders as well. When an email comes in which I need to deal with later, I forward it to my Evernote email and make it a reminder. When I find articles I want to use as future blog posts or as reference, I add reminders to them as well.
One last part of the process. Because many of my tasks duplicate from week to week, at the end of each day, I copy the Daily task note, rename it for next week, uncheck the recurring tasks and delete the non-recurring ones. This means that, by Friday, I have my next week already laid out. I do something similar Friday afternoon with my “Week Ending” note, including adding a few “Someday” tasks to it.
It’s not a perfect system, and I’m sure I’ll tweak it as I go along, but so far it’s working well. Anyone else use Evernote as a task manager? Please share your tips. I’d love to get more ideas!