There are two subjects when it comes to becoming successful with GTD (Getting Things Done).
- Trusted tools
Often people try to overcome the lack of discipline with tools. It is very easy to look for new to-do, list handler and action list applications. Now that there are more devices, you end up looking for applications for all your devices. At the end of the day, you have to have a versatile and flexible tool that is not too sophisticated and complex. The more things the application can do, the more attention it will take from you. Instead of actually doing things, you will spend time on the actual tool.
More features requires more time on the tool rather than the actual task.
Once you have worked with implementing GTD, you will find that the problem of being unorganized with 50 emails remaining in your inbox is really not a tool problem, rather lack of discipline. I have evaluated way too many GTD tools and have come up with one simple conclusion. The tools need to be SIMPLE with very few features. The more features, the more you get yourself tangled in different ways of doing things. One of my favorite mistakes is that I try to be so clever that I continuously come up with different filing systems, tagging and categorizing.
The single most important feature is the SEARCH box
I evaluated EverNote (www.evernote.com) as a note taking tool and discovered that it is the best tool for GTD. It encourages you to be disciplined with your information gathering and filing and NOTHING ELSE!
Here are the features that I encourage you to use/evaluate:
- Download EverNote, it is free and has a super easy user interface
- It lets you tag the info with drop-down list so you don’t keep creating new tags because you forgot your old ones
- It lets you create notebooks and even nested notebooks.
- It is available for all platforms, iPad, iPhones, blackberries, androids etc etc No reason for missing information gathering.
- Lets you take pictures and OCRs them for you to search. Incredibly powerful!! My favorite feature is to take pictures of the whiteboards during the meeting.
- You can save your searches, which basically gets to be an advanced category/tag/keyword holder.
- You can share notebooks with other people. At work, I have shared all my meeting and office-meeting notes with everyone at work.
- Quick catching things is really good, web-plugins, screen captures … you name it.
- Also, you can send e-mails to your EverNote account and it will appear in a designated inbox.
There is some stuff that can be improved; you cannot e-mail using your native e-mail client, no reminder feature, the formatting is very simple, shortcut keys could be more and similar in all OS’es etc etc …
Here is a couple of suggestions on how you can use Evernote.
- Ron’s Evernote tips, lots of cool small tips, a must read for non-experienced evernote users.
- Tips for GTD user:
For organizing your notes with a sense of time and future here is a quick way of organizing it:
As you cannot have two notebooks with the same name you have to use a prefix for the different dates under each month.
All in all, it is important to have a simple product with few features. The more time you spend on tools the less you spend them on your tasks.
I also use GTD on Evernote althought i built the notebooks to parallel the GTD task hierarchy
I’m out of league here. Too much brain power on diplsay!