I’ve had Evernote on my devices for a few years now but I never understood all the hype about it until I learned how to properly set it up.
These videos on The Secret Weapon helped me to do exactly that.
It’s changed the way I organize my personal and professional life.
The idea is you can empty your brain of all the projects and to-do’s floating around in your head to free it up to think about the important stuff.
The videos, if you haven’t seen them, suggest you set up tags for the “when” category like this:
- Some Day
- Waiting – (as in waiting on someone else before proceeding)
There is only one problem. The Some Day list allows for a lot of leeway. When is “some day?” When is “later?” I’m not being held accountable to get the items done, so they sit there, waiting for “Some Day” to arrive.
This is my Month of Down Time and I haven’t been this un-busy in as long as I can remember. In fact, I’m so relaxed, so happy, and so centered, I’m actually freaking out.
To clarify “un-busy,” I mean, I don’t have client deadlines, meetings, and calls. I don’t have people wanting a piece of me in some way.
I only have my own self-created deadlines and goals, so I’m actually very busy with the things on my “some day” and “later” lists:
- Take longer runs in the woods with my favorite running buddy: Pepper, my black lab.
- Drop that pile of clothes off to the thrift store that has been sitting in the back of my car for a year, before they reject them for being out of style (and send me to the vintage store).
- Take a 15-minute break, get up from my desk, and walk out on to the deck to throw myself on the dog bed and get smothered in dog love.
- Return the dreaded call from the Idaho State Tax Commission I’ve been avoiding for the past two months. It turns out I owe $10.65.
- Go to the local independent book store to get a book for my upcoming vacation, and read it before I even leave. (I bought Bossypants but now I need a new recommendation!)
The above items freed me up to do things like:
- Write user stories and web copy for my spanking new website and re-launched business scheduled to go live on November 1.
- Read and comment on blogs I haven’t had the luxury to visit lately.
- Reconnect with people I’ve neglected.
- Work on new business and business development.
- Put new systems and procedures in place to get started with good habits.
Easy for me to say
Delete your Some Day List and replace it with <Insert specific day here> List
- Get those dreaded bottom feeder tasks and projects off your to-do list. The Avoidance Game is a suck on your mental capacity. Do the first one right now. Stop reading and do it right now.
- Those chains you’ve just un-done? Now they allow you to move forward and make new things happen. The projects you really dream of doing. Look at each one, determine the first step and just do it. You can do the next step next Specific Some Day.
- Manage relationships. If you’re like me, you want to be liked by everyone. You avoid confrontation and negative energy at all costs. Know the difference between forgiving and simply avoiding. Stand up and defend your own values, but understand that those who don’t share your values won’t necessarily understand you. Focus on the relationships that serve you well.
- ^ This also means get rid of the clients who are eating at you physically and financially, and go after the business you dream about. Again, easy for me to say, because you need that check, but they are also keeping you from getting what you actually want. So listen to Nike and just do it.
When does your Some Day arrive? And what is on that list? Once you start chiseling at those yucky projects, you’ll get addicted to getting them all off your list.
Thanks to jking89 for the flickr photo, creative commons.
This was good for me…I could hear your voice as I read it. THANKS for sharing!
I couldn’t be more happy for you : )
Lisa Gerber says
@Tawnie Thanks, Tawnie. How are YOU? 🙂
Never use the tags, know there’s probably so much more I could get out of Evernote. As for retiring the ‘someday’ list, that’s tricky. And an un-busy month of downtime to do all the things I put off until someday, can’t imagine such a thing. I joke about winning the lottery all the time and yeah, I’d quit my job but still have a ton of work to do… projects galore on the ‘if I ever have time list.’ FWIW.
Interesting. I use an old-school approach to avoid paper pile-up, akin to your Mon – Sun System. I say: there are only 3 things you should do with a piece of paper. 1. Read it immediately and deal with it. 2. Place it in a Sun – Mon file folder and deal with it ON THAT DAY. No moving the item forward…well, may just once, but it has to be within that week! 3. Pitch it.I guarantee that, if made a habit, this little system will eliminate paper pile-ups. Sounds like your evernote system does similar online. Cheers! Kaarina
Lisa Gerber says
@3HatsComm I never understand the people who say they’d be bored if they didn’t work. I’d have a TON of things to do. Yes, the month of downtime is certainly a luxury.
Tags rock – I watched some of the videos here – it didn’t take long at all, and it helped me get a lot more out of Evernote, to the point I actually use it now: http://www.thesecretweapon.org/
Very nice to see you here, by the way. Thanks. 🙂
@Lisa Gerber Oh the cooking I’d learn to do, scrapbooks I’d finish, TRIPS I’d take.. plenty to do if I had the time and money, some day. I’m lurking around.. just not as much, plus it seems there are more posts and blogs than ever, all on my list. 😉
Lisa Gerber says
@KDillabough my favorite is pitching! I love throwing stuff out. 🙂
Evernote is on my someday list. I need to do more than download it and try to figure out if it is a tool that will work for me.
@thejoshuawilner I. Love. Evernote.
Lisa Gerber says
@jasonkonopinski @thejoshuawilner Lookie lookie! hi guys. 🙂 I now love Evernote. Seriously, I had it for years before I learned how to set it up. There is a video on this page called setting it up for TSW or something like that. Watch it – it takes minutes, and you can set it up while watching. and you’re on your way. then tweak as you go along. It’s super helpful. Then put it on all your devices. Jason, have you ordered the special Moleskines? I’m trying to figure out if that’s hype or not…
@Lisa Gerber @thejoshuawilner I haven’t yet, but I definitely will. It makes me geek out in all the best ways.
@Lisa Gerber @jasonkonopinski @thejoshuawilner Evernote is great. I’m just waiting for Evernote to post the Apple Script video before I can switch over.
Lisa Gerber says
@BobReed Wait. what do you mean, Bob? What is Apple script and from what? and should I know this?