While researching different ways to Get(ting) Things Done (GTD), I stumbled across a book that struck my interest since we are big fans & users of Evernote: Evernote: The Unofficial Guide to Capturing Everything and Getting Things Done. I emailed Mr. Gold who was gracious enough to send a copy so that I could review it and share it with you.
First of all, I have to say that overall I really liked the book. While I was using Evernote long before I read his book, there were plenty of things I COULD have been using it for and didn't. In fact, even if you don't use GTD, the tips in his book are highly useful. I have tripled my use of Evernote in the month since I first read his book -- I now store everything from work, in addition to my writing, homeschooling, home management, budgeting and more. All accessible from my iPhone, no matter where I am or what I am doing.
One of the first things Mr. Daniel Gold of DEG Consulting talks about is how GTD started and how people started to do it -- hacking Moleskin notebooks and then trying to make electronic devices work in this way (I recall trying to do it on my Palm IIe) and having very little luck without much effort and tweaking. So much so, in fact, that it kept you from the core promise of GTD -- Getting Things DONE!
Enter Evernote. He doesn't go into the basics on how to use Evernote, but DOES discuss issues that people have in making it overly complicated (raises hand. Ahem.). He also talks about several master documents that you can set up for maximum efficiency in your home or office and I had never considered using it for that purpose. One of the things that I like about this book is that it goes over the 5 phases of workflow in detail: Collect, Process, Organize, Review & Do, as well as projects.
Mr. Gold goes into great detail on how to use Evernote for EVERY aspect of GTD, including your email. How? Well, you'll have to read it to find out! At only $5 for the PDF or Kindle Versions, it's worth it just to satisfy the curiosity. Rest assured, if you like one program (i.e. Evernote) to handle EVERYTHING, this book will tell you how to set that up. Personally, I do not mind letting my email handle my email, my calendar handle my appointments and my "system" (whatever that may be) handle everything else. But that's just me.
He does also include some discussions about the pro's and con's of using certain features of Evernote (like Notebooks/Notebook Stacks), and why it might be beneficial to pay for a Pro account (which allows offline access, among other things). He also mentions a Master Client Note which can even turn Evernote into a pseuo-CRM. The book provides a link to be able to download a copy of that (and other similar documents), should you like to use them. In addition, Mr. Gold shows 3 different ways that you can use Evernote with your calendar.
One of the things that I DON'T like about this book is the prolific use of tags and searches and moving items from one document to another. Just thinking about doing that makes my head hurt -- maybe the fact I'm 7 months pregnant has a bit to do with that, but I really like how DoIt.im makes it really easy and automatically files everything for me. On the flip side, it does prompt a regular review, which I tend to neglect. In fact, I just biffed or moved around about 15 "overdue" tasks in DoIt.im because if there is a way to delete tasks from the iPhone, I haven't figured it out yet :).
I guess it boils down to how you function and your time available to work your system. Personally, I only work part-time and spend very little time at a desk or a computer. Much of the time spent working my GTD system is jotting down notes quickly on my iPhone or Android tablet while I am spending time with my family -- just enough so that things don't fall through the cracks until I have time to get back to it.
If I worked in an office most of the time or had regular access to work at my desk for chunks of time, that could work, too, but that's not the season of life I am in. I could absolutely see where the master documents would be extremely useful for my husband who is frequently out of the office, doing sales and managing the business.
Overall, I would say that Evernote: The Unofficial Guide to Capturing Everything and Getting Things Done is extremely useful for those looking to become more productive through Evernote. Even if you aren't interested in GTD, there are still fabulous tips on utilizing Evernote's capabilities to be more productive. If you are interested in GTD and love Evernote, this would help you implement that in a tool that you already use regularly. Anyone interested in using cloud computing to be more productive could benefit from reading this book.
Do you use Evernote to GTD?
Jen Steed writes about technology, travel and more. You can find her writing for various online and print publications. To talk to Jen or see all of her articles as they are published, you can follow Jen on Google+.
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