Here is just a quick tip for users of the Mac version of Evernote (version 5.0 and above): they added two shortcut keys that have been on my wishlist for years.
Control – Command + M = Move a note to a notebook of choice. Pressing this key combo will give you a list of notebooks to choose from. There is also a small search box. So if you want to move a note to the General Reference notebook just start typing “Ge” in the search box and the General Reference notebook will be selected. Hit enter and the note will be moved to that notebook.
Command + J = Go to notebook. Brilliant for quick navigation to your notebooks. Even shared notebooks are included in the popup that shows up when you press this key combination. In this case the search box is also available.
Especially processing all new notes in the Default Notebook (In GTD terminology the Inbox) is much easier this way.
Just try it out and let me know if it works for you!
Some people think of Evernote as your external brain and in a sense this is true. Over the course of the last 4 years I have learned to use Evernote in more ways. It is far more than my external brain.
Getting Things Done setup
I have written on this blog about setting up Evernote for GTD. I still use it the same way as I did four years ago. In the GTD and Evernote users group I am still advocating using notebooks over tags for the different list in GTD. Also contexts have separate notebooks in my setup.
Others like Ruud Hein and The Secret Weapon are using a tag based system. My initial reason not going for this approach was the buggy implementation of tags in earlier versions of Evernote. And allthough those times are behind us I still kept away from tags for my GTD setup. The new reason for this is that I use tags as a way of implementing a rock solid A-Z reference file system in Evernote.
Filing is a problem
In my home office I do have a reference file system that is setup as David Allen describes in his book Getting Things Done, The Art of Stress-Free Productivuty. For those of you that have the book at hand: check page 96 evv. Ever since I started using GTD I have experienced the many great benefits of having a filing system that just works. I have one simple A-Z indexed set of folders. I can add new folders in under one minute and adding papers to existing folders is even quicker. I have a labeler within arm reach and plenty of fresh folders. Administrative tasks are done in a fraction of the time because everything is in place and easy accessible. I cannot imagine that I have lived without this simple setup. Filing is a problem for a lot of people.
In my own experience and in coaching people I have found that handling the digital realm is even a bigger struggle for a lot of people. Digital information tends to spread around hard drives, email programs and cloud services. And even though computers have strong searching capabilities the stress factor of not knowing where everything is bothers people. It did bother me.
Evernote as your digital archiving system
And in comes Evernote. I use the tag system in Evernote as my A-Z reference file archive. I can easily add physical paper to Evernote with my ScanSnap scanner, add all kinds of documents, emails, tweets, basically all digital info that enters my life. And is worth keeping. I use a tag as a hard copy file folder. And I already have many, many tags.
How to setup Evernote as your GTD system? Start here: Evernote and GTD Part 1
How can I help you using Evernote even better for GTD? Post your comments below….
It has been a while since I started using Evernote as my primary tool for doing GTD. For those of you that just now stumbled upon this blog here is a link to the page where you can find all previous posts on Evernote and GTD.
Since upgrading to the premium version I find myself mailing in more and more documents for projects and it is just great to be able to have all the current files for a project in one place.
With the new iPhone version typing text notes is greatly enhanced because I can now use the landscape keyboard. I still miss a good list view on the iPhone app but the landscape mode makes it already better to navigate and use.
I have had some issues with Evernote. Errors with very large pdf files and errors with mailing documents to my Evernote account. Because these issues were messing with me wanting to have complete trust in the system I contacted Evernote support. They rock. In both cases they understood the problem and provided a good solution.
One of the things that amazes me is that as far as I know the guys at Evernote didn’t know GTD when they originally developed Evernote. It is so funny to see that in my case Evernote turns out to be the perfect GTD app that supports all the importants aspects of GTD. It enables me to keep things under control and have the right perspective on all things in my current reality, both personal and professional.
If you have any question about Evernote and GTD please leave a comment and I’d be happy to answer them. If you have found a great way to use Evernote for your GTD setup, please share them!
This is a post in a series on GTD with Evernote:
Part 1: Evernote and GTD
Part 2: Collecting
Part 3: Collecting with the iPhone
Part 4: Tags, Saved Searches and Premium
Part 5: Revisited