In in the post from late last year I went through a description of my setup. At that time I was using Onenote and Filofax to manage main pillars of Getting Things Done. Since then things have changed quite drastically.
The biggest game changer for me was purchase of an android smart-phone. As this is one of the few things that we carry everywhere with us. It was no brainer that I would use it as one of the key elements of my GTD setup.
I’ve looked at number of applications for task management that are available on the PC and Android platform and decided to settle on Rememeber the Milk (RTM).
The setup I’m using is very simple. I decided to stick with basics and use just a handful of lists. At this moment I have following lists: Next Actons, Projects, Errands, Inbox, Somday, Blog.
I’ve experimented with various scenarios of using combinations of tags, lists and location. Although having these features can be useful it was not necessary for me. Using those caused my system to become too complex.
Also I deliberately don’t use contexts because I try to limit no of things on my lists. The main idea is to put only those actions that I really want to complete in coming week or two.
It would be great if RTM would allow to better link actions with the projects. It’s not a deal breaker for me as most of my projects are simple and I can easy think of any actions. However If a project is more complex I would create a note in Evernote and list all the actions milestones etc.
Project support, Reference, Storage.
In previous setup the main repository of reference material was Onenote now I’ve replaced it with Evernote.
Why I’ve chosen Evernote over Onenote? Mainly because of the syncing with Android phone and ability to use it anywhere. For me it’s perfect capture tool. I can get any type of information there text, images, audio, even files. It’s always in sync once. I’ve captured something on my phone it’s available on my computer in seconds. I don’t need transfer any data, make sure I connect computer etc. All the syncing happens over the air.
Android client makes capture anytime and anywhere a breeze. It may not be as advanced as the iPhone version but it does the job of capturing very well. I hope that over time new functionality will arrive and match the capabilities existing on other clients. In addition to that I really like the overall integration with Android system. Basically any item that can be shared can also be send to Evernote. This way I can capture tweets, links to pages, emails directly form the smartphone and send them straight to Evernote. Not fiddling with copy paste etc.
The main purpose of Evernote is to be a single point of reference for all my information needs. At the moment I’m using just 4 notebooks.
Inbox – As I mentioned above I use Evernote on my smartphone but I also on my desktop and in Firefox so any time anything pops into my head it gets captured and send to this notebook. Then every 2-3 days I review the content of this notebook and make a decision about each of the items. I stick with three choices: save it for later, do it, delete it.
GTD – This folder has dual purpose. First it serves as place to go to for all my current work. It will contain things like project plans, outlines, drafts etc. Second main purpose is to support my GTD implementation. I will store there my someday/maybe, checklists, agendas etc.
Blogging – This notebook is dedicated to blogging. All the post ideas, ideas for changes on the blog, tips, design changes, cool templates, articles related to blogging and writing all end up here.
Reference – this is catch all notebook. Everything that I want to keep record of end in there, online receipts, productivity tips, business ideas, various thoughts, observations, lessons learned, logs etc.
For the moment this Evernote setup seems to be working very well for me but no information is useful if you don’t use it or can’t find it. Every piece of information in Evernote can be tagged however I’ve decided to use only a very limited number of tags just to separate some key categories. I would use @someday or PostIdea tag just to make sure that those types of notes can be easily retrieved. As for the rest I rely o search. This way I don’t clog the tag view and there is no problem with selecting the most appropriate tag.
I’ve listened workflow episode with Merlin Mann and decided to stick with his advise that only things that are likely to be used in the future deserve tag, if you use consistent names than any search query will find exact what you want. So asking simple question "do I need this information handy?" helps me to decide whether to use tags or not.
Despite proliferation off electronic tools paper has still place in my setup. I think aiming to be completely paperless cannot be achieved unless your are willing to sacrifice some of the productivity and creativity that paper can provide.
Paper works well for me it’s fast, easy to use, readily available. I like to outline on paper, doodle, draw sketches etc. Although I don’t see it as permanent organisation or storage tool it’s great for conveying ideas fast. To put it simply Paper helps with thinking. Any attempts to go completely paperless were not practical. Trying to cut paper out was like cutting the branch you’re sitting on.
This is my current setup. It works really well as the combination of smartphone, desktop and cloud applications provides me with everything I need everywhere I need it.
What’s your setup? Do you rely on online application or prefer software that sits on your computer?