The Small Design Studio with Big (Green) Plans
As everyone knows, I’m obsessed with productivity systems and techniques. I’m even writing this article using the [intlink id="1033" type="post" target="_blank"]Pomodoro Technique[/intlink].
I also use Evernote extensively with the Getting Things Done productivity system by David Allen. I even suggested it in this review of [intlink id="797" type="post" target="_blank"]GTD for Designers[/intlink].
What I didn’t do was create an entire video series about the system I used. I really should have, because now it’s out there.
That’s right, now there’s an entire guide on how to effectively and efficiently use Evernote with the GTD system. It’s called The Secret Weapon.
I don’t know whether I should be pissed or thrilled that this happened before I published it myself.
I do know that the system introduced here is simply brilliant for organizing my life.
Before, I was stuck using various “Notebooks” in Evernote to sort everything. I also used a daily to-do list to organize my giant “Next Actionable Steps” lists. It was a bit intimidating sometimes.
Fortunately, TSW has introduced me to the super-power of tagging within Evernote. It’s brilliant. Now I have a powerful tag structure that determines when, where, who, and what a task is for – and a few clicks sorts every task within seconds.
This article wouldn’t really be complete with a little bit of a review on the system. I can’t criticize much, but I’ll try.
Yes, that was a very short “Cons” list, and they’re really just minor irritations that I shouldn’t complain about because the new system is so much more organized than the old one.
But I can address (part of) the second down-side on that short list.
There’s a very good way to get your Gmail messages into Evernote to work with the TSW system. It’s called ifttt.com.
Just sign up for a (free) account, use this ifttt task, and star the emails that you want to send to Evernote. You may have to let your emails sit in your inbox for just a few minutes (15 minutes at the most), but it’s much easier than copy/pasting all of your emails into Evernote just because you use Gmail.
You can also get the Evernote Web Clipper for Thunderbird. There’s no reason you should be stuck with Outlook.
Unfortunately, the newest version of Thunderbird doesn’t support the Evernote Web Clipper unless you get an extra addon to disable the compatibility check. You can download this Thunderbird plugin to take care of that issue.
Note: I can’t get this Thunderbird hack to work on Windows 7, but it does work on OSX. If anybody has a suggestion, please let me know in the comments.
The Secret Weapon is a great addition to the GTD system. There’s really no reason not to use it. My minor quibbles aren’t an inconvenience at all when I compare how easy it is to the way I was doing things before.
If the Evernote developers would add tag-sorting functionality to OSX and Mobile versions of Evernote and fix the compatibility issues with the Web Clipper in Thunderbird, it would be absolutely perfect for me. It’s close enough already.
Since it’s so easy to implement and use, even unorganized artists and designers (like I used to be) can easily keep track of everything they need to do, whether it’s at home, work, or out on the town.
Just give it a shot and let me know how you like it in the comments. Oh, and if you’re already familiar with GTD, you might want to skip the intro.