Monday, September 15, 2008

Getting Things Done Paperless and Increase Your Personal Productivity

The above photo is put here to help you follow along with today's rambling...Many of you are familiar with David Allen's Getting Things Done. Believe me, there are tons upon tons of websites referencing this system and each one with it's own little tips, tricks, and hacks with suggestions on how to make this work for you. For over a year I was a Moleskine guy. I had my own little system setup with my capture point, to do list, project lists, reference files, etc. For the past 2 weeks my system has become completely paperless. And I am absolutley in love with it! How did I end up paperless? Read on my friend...
I started playing around with Jott a few months ago. I was setting daily reminders, jotting a few notes here and there to friends, and putting together a few todo lists. I was amazed with the voice recognition accuracy and how easy it was to call a phone number, say a few things, and have it transcribed and sent to someone. For me it was a nifty little tool. But then I discovered Evernote, and everything changed...
Evernote works just like my Moleskine, except waaaaayyy better. It is the ultimate holding tank. It's basically an online database that holds pretty much anything you want it to. So how do you get things into Evernote? You can use the Evernote web clipper that can clip a portion of a web page (say for your reference file) or you can clip the entire page complete with links and web address intact. You can type notes, email notes, attach PDFs, attach pictures, voice notes, etc. There is really a lot you can do, and I urge you to at least explore it for yourself. The best part about Evernote is its search function. See, Evernote searches embedded text - in anything. Say you upload a picture (jpeg, bmp) of a map. Type Austrailia into the Evernote search box and it searches through your online "notebooks" (this is what Evernote calls file folders) and will find all instances of "Austrailia" - including in your pics. I have put this to the ultimate test and uploaded a handful of my favorite menus and pretty much searched for what I had a taste for - hmmm... do I want chicken parm from Luigi's or Antonios? It's really that cool.
But wait - that's great if you spend 24 hours in front of a computer and never move, but what happens when you are 12 deep inline at the Post Office when you just had a great idea for one of your projects? That is where Jott comes into play. Remember when I said you can use Jott to email, and you can email notes to Evernote? You got it - Call Jott, leave a message for Evernote and your voice message is transcribed and delivered to your online Evernote account. But wait - what if you are in a movie theater and can't use your phone? Evernote makes a great smartphone app (Windows Moile, and IPhone) that can help you out. From your cell phone you can leave a recorded voice note, text note, camera phone pic, or a handwritten note using your stylus that Evernote will transcribe for you. You can also search and view your notes from your cellphone.
What I have just described has increased my productivity, added a coolness factor to my GTD process, and has given me a sense of security. You see, what happens if you lose your Moleskine? Your notes are gone - Forever. What happens ifyou lose your "GTD cellphone" ? Well, you just lost your cellphone - all your notes are still stored safely on your online database. Now about that calendar - you can Jott to it. You can Jott to Google Calendar, 30 boxes, and a few other calendar apps.
In Summary:
  • Evernote takes the place of your Moleskine
  • You collection point is now your Evernote "In Box" (you can name the default capture notebook whatever you want)
  • You have 2 ways to get your info there - cell phone (typed, voice transcription, handwritten) and PC
  • You can view your notebooks on your cellphone or PC.
  • You will save a ton of time just on the Evernote search feature alone. I promise. No more flipping through your Moleskine saying "I know it's here somewhere".
There is just so many possibilities and features that you can do with this setup you'll have to check it out for yourself.

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