This week I wanted to look at using Evernote for projects. This will be short description of how i use Evernote for my projects. While setting up a project you can go wild and try to use every possible technique to breakdown tasks, time lines, resources etc. Although such approach can be useful and very insightful (see one example) I tend to try keep things as simple as possible and limit the amount of overhead.
When I’m starting a new project I use 5 stages of the GTD planning model as a planning guide. I’ve created a template in PhraseExpress (text expansion tool) so when I’m ready to start I hit right key combination and high level outline of each step appears in the note. Then I start working on a project one stage at a time.
Once I have my stages clarified and different elements sorted I assign relevant tags. At the moment I’m using Evernote as a project support tool. This means I will list relevant actions and steps I need to take to move the project but I will not track individual actions in Evernote. Since I use Remember the Milk for managing actions all project related actions are moved there. But if you are interested in using Evernote only please read excellent Evernote e-book by Daniel Gold.
There are two primary tags which I assign to a project note. First is a !!Project tag second is a @Current or @Closed tags. This way I can track my open or closed project lists with a saved search instead of to navigating through myriad of notes.
If a project is particularly large, especially if it includes a lot of notes and other supporting documentation, I would create a notebook for that purpose. This way it’s easy to keep all related information in a single location. Once the project is done I assign a specific project tag to all notes in that folder, move them to Reference notebook and delete the project notebook. I’m trying to limit the amount of notebooks I maintain and if I ever need to refer to some documentation I can always find it using relevant tag and search box.
Additional two features of Evernote that may come handy for anyone managing project are tables and checkboxes. These two can be quite useful for keeping track of progress of the different stages of a project.
Evernote is not a project management solution so trying to fit a large scale commercial project with hundreds of dependencies may not be the best choice. However for many home and small business user it can be exactly what you need.