Saturday, January 18, 2014

GTD + Evernote

I'm going to start a series of posts on my experience with Evernote (EN)and the Getting Things Done (GTD) system by David Allen.  It has been a bit of a journey of discovery for me, so maybe what I have learned will help someone else.

To begin, I have been a fan a GTD for many years.  While I admit that I have been a bit on again/off again with the entire system, personal work flow has been tied to the GTD workflow for many years.  The two-minute rule and "Do it, Delegate it, Defer it" have helped me keep my e-mail inbox at zero.

A couple of months ago I started a new job and decided that it was also time to get re-engaged fully with GTD.   The good thing is that GDT is not dependent on any software or system.  You can make it work with an inbox, a few folders and a note pad.  However, some of us like to geek it up a bit.

About a year ago I tried Evernote and it just didn't seem to be the application that I needed.   I was looking for a better system than the "Notes" app on my iPhone.  It just looked overly complicated.

The idea to give Evernote another try came from listening to a podcast call "Beyond the To Do List" Many of the people he interviewed on the show were using EN and GTD so I decided to give it another try.

Now that I have used it for a couple of months I have to say that I rank it as one of my go-to apps.  The key for me to making GTD work is the ability to get an idea/thought/problem/task out of my head and into the "system".   David Allen is a big fan of a small pad of paper and a pen.  However, that never seemed to work for me and I kept lugging things around in my brain.  

The best thing about EN is that I can do a brain dump almost anywhere.  It has a quick interface in the iPhone/iPad app to type a quick note.  You can also e-mail a note to yourself.  This comes in handy when I'm emptying my e-mail inbox.  If an e-mail needs action, I simply send it to my EN inbox for processing.  But wait, that is not all.  The cool factor of EN for the iPhone is the camera interface.  I can take a picture and it sends it to my in-box.  I don't use this feature very much, but when I do it is great.  For example, taking a picture of the white board after a meeting and having it filed with the rest of the project notes.  

The next few posts will show how I set up and am using EN to make GTD work for me.

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