Sunday, January 6, 2013

Lifehacks for 2013: a To-do Organizer for an Android Phone Using Evernote

I'm taking steps to become more organized in 2013!
I am a card-carrying (actually diploma-certified) technogirl.  There.  I've said it, and I feel much better.  I get a little twinkle in my eye when reading about new technology, but I've been around long enough to keep that twinkle from blinding me to the genuine utility of the latest gadget.  I entrusted my personal and professional schedules to my Palm Treo for years.  The exceptional PDA functionality kept me loyal long after the phone was yesterday's technology.  It did exactly what I wanted:  allowed me to keep and display a prioritized, categorized, dated to-do list while showing the day's appointments, too.  It was the slickest system going.  But, the lure of the Android proved too powerful to resist and I retired my trusty Treo.  Much to my dismay, there seemed to be no Android task manager that did everything I needed.  The Google calendar functioned well enough, but the task feature was, well, awful.  So I looked around.

A good task management utility is a thing of beauty!
I tried and discarded many task managers before settling on Evernote.  Yes, I know that Evernote is NOT a task manager, but that's how I use it.  It is web-based, but auto-syncs to an Android client, which is well-featured.

Now, there are a number of schemes for using Evernote like The Secret Weapon.  The Secret Weapon is a system of nested notebooks and tags that allow the user to mimic a digital version of David Allen's Getting Things Done task management system.  I liked the idea of the system and began setting up my Evernote account according to The Secret Weapon's instructions.  After a long evening of setting up notebooks, then endless tags that allowed me to categorize each task according to when, where, what, and who, I was ready to go.

But, then I started entering tasks and realized that, while the system was endlessly detailed and allowed me to sort my tasks in myriad ways, The Secret Weapon system is endlessly detailed.  Each entry required at least 5 tags after entry.  Sigh.  There has to be an easier way.

And there is--at least for me.

Keeping the blog schedule
straight is a challenge!
So, I've created notebooks for each of the domains of my life:  church, business, farm, work, and personal.  Some of the notebooks have sub-notebooks.  When I enter a task, the title of the task begins with the day it's due and the actual short name follows:

20130106       Update Savory Biblio blog

Write blog entry about Bill Mauldin's Army and post.

There are many tasks on the farm!
This entry would go in the Business notebook.  Any other tasks are entered in the same fashion and stored in the appropriate notebook.  To view all of my tasks for the day, I select to view All Notebooks and sort by Title.  Because of the configuration of the date, the tasks are sorted by due date.

When the task is completed, I put an X at the beginning of the title and it re-sorts down to the bottom.  Voila!

It's simple, it's easy to manage.  And, so far, it's working.  So, I'm happier with my Android phone and with my task management scheme.  I hope it will help me keep my tasks in line in the coming year.  Perhaps it could help you, too.

So, how are you organizing your Savory life?


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