My Ideal Task Manager

I have the memory span of a gnat. This is why I use Evernote. Most information leaves my brain within 30 seconds of entering, so if it doesn’t get written down, there’s a very good chance I’ll forget it. For that same reason, whenever I come across something that requires action on my part, I need to add it to a “To Do” list. Many times, especially for work, I have a lot of information that is associated with a task. For this reason, it makes sense for my Evernote notes to be linked in some way to my task list. I don’t necessarily want to use Evernote as a task list, but I want the information stored there to enhance a separate task list. Doit.IM is probably my favorite task manager–it has just enough of the GTD system to fit my workflow. Projects and Contexts are really all I need. The only problem is that there is no Evernote integration. Podio has a way to link Evernote notes to tasks, but it’s far more than a task manager. I’m not a programmer, but I thought I’d throw out my ideal workflow just in case there is an ambitious developer reading this blog.

Requirements

  1. Must be cross-platform
    1. Mac, Web, iPhone, iPad (The web requirement would work if a native Mac client doesn’t exist.)
  2. Task list must have the ability to easily link an Evernote note to a task
  3. Must allow for multiple projects
  4. Must allow for multiple contexts
  5. Must allow for tags
  6. Must allow for repeating tasks (custom repeating intervals is a big plus)
  7. Having start and end dates for tasks would be a plus
  8. Setting multiple alerts/reminders is a plus
  9. Setting location-based reminders would be a plus

Workflow

  1. Task creation
    1. Two methods of entry
      1. Any notes added to a specific Evernote notebook trigger the creation of a task. There should be a link in the task to allow me to open the associated Evernote note.
      2. Any tasks added to the task list app should create a corresponding note in the specified Evernote notebook (with a link to that note.)
    2. Tags in the Evernote note should define Contexts and Projects. (Prefix with @ for Contexts, and # for Projects.)
    3. Evernote tags not containing the prefixes should appear as additional tags on the task.
    4. For tasks entered in the task app, Contexts and Projects should create appropriate tags in the Evernote note.
    5. Sync must happen automatically.
  2. Tasks
    1. Different views should exist.
      1. By Context
      2. By Project
      3. By Date
      4. By Tag
    2. Different sort options should exist
      1. Sort by due date
      2. Sort by start date
      3. Sort by Context
      4. Sort by Project
      5. Sort by Tag
  3. Task finalizing
    1. When a task is finished, it is manually checked off in the task app.
    2. Once checked off, it is moved to a “Completed” list in the task app, and the corresponding note is moved to a “To Do Archive” notebook in Evernote.

Current Workflow

  1. Tasks that start in Evernote
    1. Request comes in via email.
      1. Email is forwarded to default Evernote notebook.
    2. Request comes in via phone call.
      1. Evernote note is created with details about phone call.
    3. Applescript creates an entry in the Apple Reminders app with a link back to the Evernote note. Note is then tagged with “reminder” and moved to the “ToDo” notebook.
      1. In Reminders, I set alert dates/times, and assign to a Context list.
      2. When a task is finished, it is checked off in Reminders, and the Evernote note is manually moved to a “ToDo Archive” notebook.
  2. Tasks that start in task manager
    1. Quick thoughts that need to be followed up on
    2. Recurring tasks
    3. These tasks are not currently added to Evernote at all

5 thoughts on “My Ideal Task Manager

  1. Trying to do the same thing here. I’m really disorganised and have the same memory span as the aforemention specy divided by two.
    Trying to use doit.im properly and evernote for remembering. Tried Awesome Notes, but I prefer doit.im GTD process…
    I’ll try to follow your experiments here.
    thanks
    baba

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  2. Hey Baba,
    Doit.IM says that Evernote integration is on their list, but they didn’t say when. (Of course.) 🙂 Awesome note is cool, but every time I try it out, I end up going back to my EN/Reminders solution.
    Maybe there will be something cool developed for Evernote’s Devcup this year?
    Let me know how your experiments go!

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  3. You can probably use Zapier.com to connect note creation in Evernote with task creation in Doit.im. Not sure about the reverse. I find that most don’t use evernote to mark tasks complete if they also have a full TM like Doit.
    Another solution that integrates the two would be TaskClone.com. TaskClone works on the Evernote checkboxes by extracting the tasks and sending them to systems like Doit.im (40+ at present). A link back to the Evernote note is added to the task in Doit so you can go back and get the context. It’s not a two way sync though. Reference is kept in Evernote and task processing would be kept in Doit.
    Other options include SmartTM and IQTell, both of which have tight integration with Evernote and work on the note-level you describe instead of the individual task level like TaskClone.

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    1. Thanks for offering those suggestions!
      Actually, I just discovered that Remember The Milk added almost perfect Evernote integration. All Evernote Reminders are brought into RTM, and can be completed in either place. The only downside I’ve seen so far is that new tasks created in RTM don’t get pushed to Evernote. It’s a very small down side, in my opinion.

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  4. […] I wrote a post back in February outlining my ideal task manager. RTM has covered almost everything on my list. Between this integration and the fact that I get to use Post-it Notes again (more on that in the upcoming Evernote Conference post,) my inner geek is giddy. Integration doesn’t work with Shared Notes or Business Accounts yet, but if Evernote opens up the webhooks required, RTM will most likely add the integration. […]

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