Monday, August 31, 2009

Resuming the blog, I will start a series of "How I use ..." articles. I usually find these kind of posts valuable because it gives some insights about software usage thus having a new perspective and also improve the workflow on it.


In this post, I will briefly describe how I use Evernote and how it can help you out.


I signed up Evernote more than a year ago but only started using it on a daily basis around two months ago. All started when I needed a way to organize small pieces of information at work. For about two years, I switched from application to application going thru TXT files organized in folders, a small app called Keynote and even a personal local wiki using www.tiddlywiki.com.


One day, the idea came, why not use Evernote since I already had a free account and no more than 3-5 unused notes on it. The plus side of using it is that it is fast, simple and syncs your information to make it available everywhere. On the negative side is it's limitations on the editor like creating tables and formatting options.


With this in mind, I started looking for posts like this to see how people use Evernote and found a great way to manage documentation and also a workflow for GTD (getting things done) either personally and at work.
The structure for my notebooks became:


#Carlosedp  - Personal notes
1. Inbox      - All created projects go to this notebook until I start working on them
2. To Do     - The tasks inside this notebook have actions to be done by me
3. Followup  - These tasks are in a "wait" state or a "followup" state where I have no personal action on
4. Docs       - Here I store all information and references for daily usage like system documentation
5. Archive    - The finished tasks go to this notebook



I also recently created a notebook to store the drafts and posted articles here.
What is great in Evernote is that all notes are synchronized to the server so if I need to check something about a project or want to finish a blog post at home or at work, it just works either using a client for your platform of choice or the great web interface.




For each incoming task/project, I create a template like this:



##Project/task name - Code
Description of the task/project


Premises:
  • AAAAAA
  • BBBBBBB
Scope:
  • AAAAAA
  • BBBBBBB
Negative Scope:
  • AAAAAA
  • BBBBBBB
To-Do:
  • Item 1
    • Item 2
  • Item 3

Having it this way, it is easy to add new information and check each step when it is finished. Also the search functionality is great, wow I just wonder if the monthly 40MB of transfer of the free account will be enough or if I will need to sign up for an upgraded account.


Using Evernote this way made me way more productive and keeps the information handy all the time. If you have tips to improve this workflow or have another suggestion I will be glad to consider.


Disclaimer: This post is not sponsored in any way by Evernote and expresses my own opinions on all matters.

2 comments:

LaSombra said...

Great article!
I'll think about doing the same.

Ben said...

I like your approach. I've been using Evernote for reference material archiving and everyday task management via GTD for a while now. I started out with a notebook oriented implementation like you have, but eventually migrated to a tag-oriented mechanism. Check out my system here:

http://examinehealth.com/personal-productivity/69-gtd-and-evernote.html

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