How to Build a Productive System with Evernote to Get Things Done

Be more productive to enjoy a stress-free life

Getting Things Done πŸ“


GTD in a nutshell

The following flowchart describes the GTD method.

GTD workflow β€” Source:
  • β€œStuff” should come from any sources: your colleagues, friends, emails, post its, basically anything.
  • I personally call tasks actionable items.
  • Short tasks (less than 2 minutes) should be done directly if possible.

Evernote for a better productivity πŸ“—

Evernote is a note taking tool. It’s basically a way to replace notebooks. You use Evernote to store text, sounds, images, and documents. Everything is saved in their cloud and synced across all your devices 😎.

Why Evernote for Productivity

There are many note-taking apps such as OneNote from Microsoft, Keep from Google or Notes from Apple but Evernote is powerful mainly for four reasons:

  • It works on many platforms (OSX, Windows, Android, iOS, Web) and the notes are sync across devices.
  • It has many extensions for your browser (to save a website to Evernote for example) and an API to build apps on top.
  • It has an email address you can forward emails to.
  • It uses tags, and notebooks, so you can organize your note as you wish and create powerful saved searches.

Get started with your productive system

First thing is to install Evernote in your desktop (and mobile), it’s a lot more convenient than the web version. Then create an account!

Get your Evernote email

Every Evernote account has an email address, you can use it to transfer your emails directly to Evernote. You can find more information here.

Set up your Notebooks πŸ“š

Let’s first set up the notebooks. Notebooks are like folders. In Evernote, you can have up to two levels of notebooks (the stack and the notebook).

β”œβ”€β”€ Tasks
β”‚ β”œβ”€β”€ Action pending
β”‚ └── Completed
β”œβ”€β”€ Studies
β”‚ β”œβ”€β”€ MOOCs
β”‚ └── University
β”œβ”€β”€ Personal
β”‚ β”œβ”€β”€ Administrative
β”‚ β”œβ”€β”€ Drawings
β”‚ β”œβ”€β”€ Emails
β”‚ β”œβ”€β”€ Movies
β”‚ β”œβ”€β”€ Music
β”‚ β”œβ”€β”€ Recipes
β”‚ └── Trips
β”œβ”€β”€ Professional
β”‚ β”œβ”€β”€ Business cards
β”‚ β”œβ”€β”€ Entrepreneurship
β”‚ β”œβ”€β”€ Ideas
β”‚ └── Inspiration
└── Misc
  • Action pending β€” you can add inside this notebook each task to do as a note.
  • Completed β€” you will drop the tasks there, represented by a note, once it is done.
  • The information linked to my studies and to the MOOCs I do.
  • Some personal information: invoices for warranties, administrative documents, some emails, movies I was recommended to watch, …
  • Professional information: Business cards, posts about entrepreneurship, every time I have an idea I just write it there, or I also collect design inspiration!

Set up your Tags πŸ”–

Tags are used to filter your information/tasks, it is very powerful, you can append as many tags as you wish per note. Also, you can create a very deep hierarchy of tags. For advanced filters.

β”œβ”€β”€ What
β”‚ β”œβ”€β”€ Portfolio
β”‚ β”œβ”€β”€ GitNews
β”‚ β”œβ”€β”€ Blog
β”‚ └── Studies
β”œβ”€β”€ When
β”‚ β”œβ”€β”€ !Daily
β”‚ β”œβ”€β”€ 1-Now
β”‚ β”œβ”€β”€ 2-Next
β”‚ β”œβ”€β”€ 3-Soon
β”‚ β”œβ”€β”€ 4-Later
β”‚ └── 5-Someday
β”œβ”€β”€ Where
β”‚ β”œβ”€β”€ @home
β”‚ β”œβ”€β”€ @work
β”‚ └── @university
β”œβ”€β”€ Who
β”‚ β”œβ”€β”€ John
β”‚ β”œβ”€β”€ Didier
β”‚ β”œβ”€β”€ Aurelie
β”‚ └── Dad
β”œβ”€β”€ Completion date
β”‚ β”œβ”€β”€ #2018-10
β”‚ β”œβ”€β”€ #2018-11
β”‚ β”œβ”€β”€ #2018-12
β”‚ └── #2019-01
└── Specific tasks
β”œβ”€β”€ To read
β”œβ”€β”€ To watch
β”œβ”€β”€ To listen
└── To visit
  • !Daily β€” For the tasks that have to be done every day (for example, for your morning exercises).
  • 1-Now β€” For the tasks I have to do today.
  • 2-Nextβ€” For the tasks I have to do tomorrow.
  • 3-Soonβ€” For the tasks I have to do during this week.
  • 4-Later β€” For the tasks I have to do during this month.
  • 5-Somedayβ€” For the tasks I have to do after this month (or anytime).
  • Whatβ€” To filter the tasks related to a specific project.
  • Whereβ€” To filter the tasks related to a place, for example, you arrive at home you will filter the one with the tags 1-Now and @home.
  • Whoβ€” To filter the tasks you have to do with someone
  • Completion date β€” To know when you have done a specific task, you will understand why later.
  • Specific tasks β€” I use these tags to know which of the collected β€œMovies”, β€œBooks” or β€œMusic”, I still have to watch, read or listen.

Use your productive system

Here are a few use cases that I do on a daily basis:

  • I receive an email asking me to fill the tax form, I’ll transfer it to my Evernote email. I’ll open Evernote and add a 3-Soon tag and I move it to the Action pending notebook not to forget to do it during the week. Since every morning I check this notebook, I will not forget!
  • I am meeting with my friend and he recommends me to watch the movie First man. I then create a note that I put in the notebook Movies and I append a tag to watch. A few days later I am looking for a movie to watch, I just open Evernote and show only the notes with this tag!

Bring the Kanban to Evernote ⚑️

As you could read so far, Evernote can do a lot of things, but it can be annoying to use on a daily basis going back and forth between tags filters and notes πŸ™.

Set up your Kanban

First, login into Kanbanote, you will have to just log in with your Evernote account and provide your email.

  • Done β€” Notebook: Completed, and (optional) tag: #2019-01 I use a completion date to be able to track how many tasks I’ve done every month.
  • To do Nowβ€” Notebook: Action pending, and tag: 1-Now.
  • To do Nextβ€” Notebook: Action pending, and tag: 2-Next.
  • To do Soonβ€” Notebook: Action pending, and tag: 3-Soon.
  • To do Somedayβ€” Notebook: Action pending, and tag: 4-Someday.

Manage your daily life and your projects with Kanbanote

Once your boards are ready, you can use Kanbanote to create, edit, delete and move notes around with drag’n’drop. You will not have to go to Evernote to change the tags or notebooks of your notes. It is very easy and convenient.

Add color to your life 🎨

You can also change the color of your note by adding one of these β€œhashtags” to the title of the note: #red #blue #green #yellow #purple #grey #orange

By adding #yellow to the title, the note turns to yellow after saving!

Get the Progressive Web App

A Progressive Web App (PWA) is like a mobile app, but you cannot find it to the store. It’s working very good on Android and not yet very good on iOS. You can install it using Chrome, by going to, log in, then click on the menu button (the three dots) and click on β€œAdd to home screen”. Or just wait until you get the following prompt that lets you install it.

Automate your life

Now that you have everything you can move one step further by automating tasks.

  • IFTTT or Zapier β€” Services to connect any app to Evernote, for example, you can create a note automatically when someone assigns you on a GitHub issue, or you can create a note every time you create a Google Calendar event. The possibilities are limitless!
  • Snoozever β€” A script that transfers snoozed emails from Gmail to Evernote πŸ˜‰.

What’s next? πŸ€”

Now you have everything set up, what can you do?

  • Learn new things πŸŽ“
  • Work on side projects πŸ“‹
  • Meet your friends and family ✌️
  • Go out πŸŽ‰
  • Travel 🌍
  • Enjoy life πŸš€

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Hello, I’m Sandoche Adittane. I learn about one topic every month and write a post about it!