Evernote helps lawyers get organized and get things done–part 2

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Last week, I wrote about how I use Evernote to organize information. I love having all my information in one place and being able to access that information from anywhere. I also use evernote as a productivity tool, that is, to create and manage tasks and projects.

I’ve tried many other productivity tools–web apps, iPhone apps, desktop apps, even a paper based system. Each has its merits and shortcomings, features and functionalities. Some, I quickly abandoned, either because they had too many features and I got lost in their complexities, or they had too few and I couldn’t do what I wanted. I spent a long time using Toodledo, a powerful web app that syncs to many other applications. I liked it and still recommend it but I moved on because the clunkiness of the web app’s UI impaired its functionality and because Tooldledo doesn’t strictly adhere to  the “Getting Things Done” (“gtd”) methodology that I use.

One app that does follow the gtd approach is Nirvana, and I also used that for a long time. It has one of the best UI’s I’ve seen and isn’t tied to any one platform like some gtd apps for Mac (e.g., Omnifocus and Things). Nirvana will be coming out of beta “soon” and I will definitely consider it again. For now, I’m using Evernote.

Yes, evernote is a note management app, not a task management app, so why I am using it for tasks?

  • I already have all my notes in Evernote and use it daily to manage information; I like the simplicity of having everything in one application;
  • I can easily customize Evernote to suit the gtd methodology;
  • Not only is Evernote platform agnostic, it has an open API and encourages third party developers to create applications that integrate with Evernote, further increasing its functionality. As evernote continues to develop, I can see it playing an even larger role in helping me manage my life.

Evernote does have it’s limitations with respect to task management. For example, while it handles the past quite well, with fields for “Date Created” and “Date Updated,” it doesn’t have a simple way to manage future dates. (If you have an iPhone, Egretlist allows you to use Evernote to manage future tasks–but you have to use the app to do so. Also, one of the finalists in the Evernote developer’s competition has a promising app that seems to have worked around this issue.)

Evernote promises to add a “Due Date” field and this will give users and developers many more options. Until then, there are workarounds. I’ll show mine–a “tickler” system I use with Evernote and my calendar–as well as the rest of my Evernote set up and work flow for getting things done in the next post in this series.
Read part 3 of this series, or go back to part 1.

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