Getting things done the way that works best for you

I just read an article about the four different personality types or thinkers and how we each go about getting things done. We make our lists differently and approach them differently.

Structural thinkers create a traditional to-do list every day and check things off as they do them. They take an organized, linear approach to managing their tasks.

Analytical thinkers consider the value of what they might do, and how much time it will take to do it.

Social thinkers seek input from others and consider how different tasks relate to everything else they might do

Conceptual thinkers don’t keep a traditional to-do list; they use an intuitive approach to getting things done

I don’t know how accurate these four types are or which group I fall into. Trying to figure it out made my head hurt. The author acknowledges that we might be a combination of types, and I’m sure that’s true for me.

My approach varies. It depends on the project, how I’m feeling that day, deadlines, and what I feel drawn to do. Some days, I work through a list and cross things off. Other days, I don’t look at anything, I just go with the flow.

I have a very large list of tasks and projects and someday/maybes, in Evernote, and each has one or more GTD tags that identify and prioritize the task or project. But to be honest, once I’ve assigned those tags to my tasks, I don’t refer to them every day.

I do what’s on my calendar. I do anything I’ve tagged as an “MIT” (most important task). The rest? I usually know what’s “next”.

I get things out of my head and off of scraps of paper and into my “trusted system”. It’s all there for me, in Evernote, so nothing will be lost or forgotten. I can search and find things, by tag, or I can browse. And yet, strangely, I usually don’t. I just know what I’m going to do.

But then my work life is a lot less complicated today than in years past. If I were still practicing, I would undoubtedly have a more structured approach to my day.

I think the big takeaway is that we are all different and we have to do what works best for us. We can use a complicated system, or no system. We can analyze and prioritize, or we can trust our gut. We can manage our lives with GTD, Franklin Covey, Kanban, or Eisenhower, or we can grab a pen and jot down a few things we want to do today.

Use what works best for you, even if it’s just your calendar and a post-it note.

My modified GTD system is detailed in my Evernote for Lawyers ebook

Post Google calendar events to Evernote with KanMeet extension for Chrome

In Evernote for Lawyers I wrote about how I use Evernote with my calendar, specifically, to track future events and tickler items. Until Evernote comes out with a native solution, I use a manual workaround–posting “note links” on my calendar that allow me to call up the note that corresponds to the calendared event.

I said I expected we would see various third party tools for coordinating calendars with Evernote. I’ve tried Tusk Tools, a Windows app, and Zendone, a web and iOS app. Both connect your Google calendars to your Evernote account, and do this well.

Yesterday, I discovered KanMeet, an extension for Chrome. It does not offer two way synchronization between calendar and Evernote, but simply sends newly created calendar events to Evernote as a new note. Not a perfect solution, but what it does it does well.

When you install the extension, it adds an option to the new event creation page to “Post to Evernote.” Events are sent to your designated Evernote notebook when you click, “Create Event,” or “Save.”

After installing the extension and restarting my browser, I created a new event, filled in the details, and saved. A new note appeared in my default Evernote notebook with the details of the event. I can then add additional details, documents, checklists, or anything else that might be needed for the appointment or event.

Very handy.

But because KanMeet does not offer two-way synchronization, on the day of the event, you have to find the note manually. Here are three ways I can think of for making this easier:

  1. You can record the “creation date” of the note (the date you created the event) in the details section of the event. Then, you can search for the note in Evernote by creation date, with or without additional key words.
  2. A second method is to add an “Event” tag to the note and click on that tag to find all of your event-related notes. They will, however, be listed in the order you created them, not the order of the event date, so you would also want to use key words or other tags in your search. Alternatively, you can put all event-related notes in an Event notebook.
  3. The most accurate way to find the note is to paste the Evernote “note link” into the details section of the event detail on your calendar. This is what I currently do. On the day of the event, that link will call up the corresponding note. However, the note link is not clickable (Google’s limitation) and you have to copy/paste the link into a new browser window to launch the Evernote note. It’s a clumsy extra step but it works. (NB: on iOS, the note link is clickable in the calendar apps I’ve tried.)

Despite its limitations, KanMeet works well and does save time. Until Evernote provides us with another option, such as the long awaited “Due Date” field which will allow us to add future dates to notes and sort by those dates, this allows me to quickly create notes from calendared events.

To use KanMeet, you must use Google Calendar and Chrome. You can find it in the Chrome store.

Have you found other ways to coordinate your calendar with Evernote? Please share in the comments.

Evernote for Lawyers: A Guide to Getting Organized & Increasing Productivity is available here.