How i Organize My Evernote Notebooks (with GTD)

Evernote, for the past couple of years, has been the “mother-of-all-apps” that i’ve been running my life with. It’s not hard to see why: Evernote provides a native app (free) on almost all the devices you own (or will likely own in the future), synchronise its content across all these different platforms, and it’s dead simple to get started.

My usage of Evernote has evolved beyond it just being a note taking service. Because of its many API ‘hooks’, it can easily receive information & data of all sorts from all sorts of sources. Emails, pictures, other web services like Facebook, Twitter (via services like IFTTT), even hardware devices like the Fujitsu ScanSnap. Evernote has more or less, became my extended brain.

One of my latest experiments with Evernote is to use Evernote as a task manager to integrate into my GTD workflow. I’ve been trying a few setups, spending quite a few dollars (ahem) buying different apps and services, and i’m glad to say that i’m pretty close to what i describe as¬†productivity¬†nirvana.

GTD, or short for Getting Things Done, is the “work-life management” methodology designed by David Allen. Basically it is a set of steps designed to help, as the name implies, people get things done. I won’t go into detail describing the concepts of GTD and explaining the terminologies, instead you should checkout David’s book. I just wanted to share how my setup looks like, and perhaps you can share with me yours and we can compare notes (pun intended, heh).

Here’s a glance at my setup on Evernote:

On my shortcuts list:


And my Notebooks:


Some explanation:

As you can see, i’ve got the GTD system somewhat set up. The @Inbox notebooks holds all inbound notes for sorting later. Some of these notes will be processed and translated into next action items, which will then go into the +Next Action Notebook. More complicated items will be planned as a project, and filed into the +Project notebook. For items that i am deferring / or waiting for someone else to respond before i can take action, they go into the +Waiting For notebook with a Reminder set.

Different context tags are set as Saved Searches (@Anywhere, @Home, @Office etc..). I find it easier to search and categorise my next actions that way, instead of dividing each note into its own notebook respectively. I collect all next action items into the +Next Action notebook and tag accordingly. That way i get to keep my notebook count down.

Obviously there’s much more to dig into, but i’ll leave that for future posts. Let me know what you think!

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