Tag Archives: GTD

Evernote for Task Management

evernote_logo_center_4c-lrgOn Friday I mentioned my latest endeavor, Project Reboot, and how I was going to start digging into starting today.

To be honest I started a bit early – one can’t complete a project unless you know what needs to be done to do that I needed a tool to track it all.

Up until now I’ve been using the todo.txt setup that Gina Trapani first mentioned on Lifehacker. The tool has evolved a bit since then and now has both Android and iPhone clients and is being actively developed. It is a great tool and I can say nothing but good things about it.

Unfortunately for me, I started to notice a bit of friction with using the tool. This is nothing against the tool, just the way my workflow has begun to develop and change, and if the tool causes friction you won’t use it so I started to look for a replacement.

Enter Evernote.

I’ve been singing the praises of Evernote for quite a while now and I use it for a number of things but never really looked to it to handle my to do or task list. So when I took a few minutes and looked at it I saw it definitely had the potential.

  • It’s available on my desktop and mobile platforms and I can access it from the web if I’m on a machine that it isn’t installed on.
  • It’s got check boxes to I can easily mark things done.
  • I have the ability to group all the tasks for a project in a single note

Looks like a winner to me.

So I’ve begun to track things in my Evernote system. I have a master note that contains a list of all stand alone tasks and project that need to be completed. For those items that are projects the task item is a note link to the note that contains information about the project (which could include links to other notes) and the list of tasks that needs to be completed.

For those that are followers of the Getting Things Done (GTD) system this does allow for an easy weekly review of outstanding projects. A global search for notes that have unfinished tasks in them give a listing of all the projects and the master task list all on one screen.

I’ve only begun to work with this system but so far it seems to be fitting my style of work and as it’s a tool I already have open most of the day and am familiar with so it makes it that much easier to use.

That’s one small step for Project Reboot, next up my social media networks.

What do you use for task management?

Don’t mess with my todo app!

todotxt_logo_2012I’ve never understood the reason why folks have to mess with a tool and try to turn it into something that it’s not. Take the “to do” app for example.

At it’s heart the todo app or list is just a listing of those items that you need to accomplish. Nothing could be simpler or cleaner when it comes to productivity – it goes on the list and you cross if off when it’s done.

So why is it that every time a solid option comes along to manage your todo list there’s a group that wants to “improve it,” by adding what I would consider just a bunch of unneeded bells and whistles to it?

They want to add things like,

  • Due dates
  • Reminders
  • Location awareness (for the mobile versions)

Folks, those items shouldn’t be part of the tool you use to manage your list.

If the item as a due date, put it on your calendar.
If you need a reminder to do it, put it on your calendar.
Location awareness? I don’t need my phone to go off as I drive by the store to remind me to stop. I made a list of things I need to pick up – it’s why I’m there in the first place.

I’ve been that person that had to have every bell and whistle in the tool and after spending more hours than I can count I always come back to the mantra, “keep it simple stupid.”

Keep it simple and the tool will do the work you need it to do.

Do you like all the add-ons or do you like to keep it simple? Why not sound off in the comments.

Image from Todotxt.com

Help I’ve fallen and I need to get up!

It happens to everyone, you set a goal, lay out a plan, line up your task list . . . .

And then fall off the wagon before you even get to the first turn on the road.

I know it’s a bit early for a mid-year check in but I figured the time was right as I recently noticed I haven’t posted in some time. So let’s dive in an look at the three main goals I set for this blog back in my post – Do you have any 2011 targets?.

1. Post once a week.

Yeah right. I just got through mentioning that I haven’t posted in some time and looking back at my RSS feed for this blog it would appear that I’m batting about 25% on week’s with a post – that won’t cut it, I need to improve on this.

I have been collecting ideas over the weeks but haven’t sat down to grow the ideas into a full postings which means it’s either motivation or time that’s impacting this. While I can plead the case for time we all know that ‘lack of time’ is really an excuse so I need to find a way to motivate myself to write more and be more consistent.

2. Tweet once a day

This one I’ve done a bit better with, I’ve tweeted on about 73% of days this year (110 out of 151) with some of those days having multiple tweets. While I have been missing my goal I am doing better that I have in the past but I need to raise that tweeting average a bit.

In order to do that I’m going to adding some javascript to my blog. I’ve been tracking my tweets using dontbreakthechain.com and they have a script that will post the last four weeks of my ‘chain’ in a box over in my sidebar so that everyone can see if I’m keeping it up. So, please check back regularly and call me on it if I break my chain.

3. Double my RSS Readership

Okay, let’s be honest here, posting is down, tweets are off the mark and I haven’t done any real marketing of the blog – there’s no way this has been increasing. Alright, maybe an extra subscriber or two but nothing to write home about. We’ll just have to wait and see where this goes as I feel that if I get the first two on track this goal will be obtainable.

I guess it’s time for me to roll up my sleeves and get back to work. If anyone has any suggestions on how I can improve any of the above please feel free to sound off in the comments.

Do you have any 2011 targets?

You can’t hit a target if you don’t know what it is.

It’s a common saying, one that’s overused at this time of year, when everyone is setting goals. Personal goals, work goals, financial goals, the list has more items on it that you can possibly count – so did you set any goals for 2011?

More importantly, did you set any for 2010 and how’d you do?

I set very few goals for 2010, which I mentioned in my post, Looking back to Look Ahead, but the question is how did I do?

1. Start a 365 day project

This I did start but later decided to stop short of completion, As I mentioned previously you have to be true to yourself and this project while interesting at the onset was not really something that fit who I am or what I wanted to do so it was called off. Now, I know that some would see this as a failure but in actuality this was a big win, how you may ask? One thing that a lot of folks need to understand is that a goal should not be viewed as something set in stone, you need to be constantly evaluating it as you move forward to see if it is still a goal you should have – if it doesn’t fit, change it or delete it which is what I did here.

2. Posting Frequency

The goal was to post more often, which I did do initially but then slacked off later and eventually took a couple of months off. This is a case of having a vague goal, I wanted to post more frequently (I took nearly all of 2009 off) but didn’t set a target, more of a direction. I’d rate this a near-hit, I posted more but not consistently.

3. Stop tweaking

This was a complete miss. I still spent a lot of time tweaking but not nearly as much as I have in the past. The biggest change I made to stop the tweaking was to settle into a simple and clean template (I use the same on my other blog) and didn’t go messing with it. I’ve come to realize that all the tweaking in the world won’t make this a better blog or make me a better writer – writing will.

4. Grow my twitter following

Another miss, as there was no real target. I didn’t put a number on it so how would I know if I hit it? In point of fact I lost followers over the year, not a bad thing but this was one of those goals that just didn’t make sense.

On the whole I don’t think I did so well with my 2010 goals. In point of fact, they really weren’t goals but more of direction pointing and wishful thinking.

Let’s see if I can do better with my 2011 goals.

1. Post once a week

This is a goal I set on my other blog, of Dice and Dragons, and I feel it is a good goal to set here as well.

2. Tweet once a day

In 2010 I said I wanted to increase my Twitter following – a goal that had no plan, no focus and no target. This year while I would like to see my following grow I need to focus on what I’m putting out on the wire and stop worrying about the numbers.

3. Double my RSS readership

This is actually a goal for both of my blogs and in both cases I believe that if I post regular with good content and respond to those that leave comments the readership will grow. Obviously I’ll be looking at other ways to increase the readership during the year and if I find ones that are successful I’ll be sure to pass them along.

That’s it, I’m only going to set three goals here. Why? I’ve found over the years, both personally and professionally, the more goals you set the more likely you are to miss the mark on them, better to stay with a smaller set and focus on them.

So, did you set any 2011 goals? While not share them in the comments below.

Waiting for my copy – 9 Steps to Work Less and Do More

Stever Robbins new book – Get-It-Done Guy’s 9 Steps to Work Less and Do More is do to be released tomorrow, September 14th and it looks to be a good read.

I’ve taken a look at the opening chapters on their website getitdoneguynews.com and I’m looking forward to reading Step 3:Conquer your technology, Step 5:Stay organized, and Step 7: Optimize!

I have a review copy on the way and once it arrives I’ll dig in and let you all know what I think – in the mean time check out the their website getitdoneguynews.com and you can pre-order a copy of the book over at Amazon.