The Person

Hard-core family man. Loyalty. Strength. Dedication to one another.


A love of words, writing, reading, listening, singing, praising, rejoicing.


Comfort the frightened, help the weak, be patient with everyone.

The Professional

Self-employed web publisher. Programmer. Developer.


Consultant. Aid. Help. Advisor.


Happily employed with Search Engine People.

Daily Outcomes & Life Review Template

A template that helps you set the 1-3 things you really want to get done today, followed by a look back at the day prompting you to look at what you did, what you learned, and what goes well.

To hit all the right notes in a day can be hard. There are so many should‘s that if you count them all up it seems as if they consume the whole day.

Counting your blessings, looking at what you did for yourself and for others, taking stock of what you learned, these are all things that sound great but fall by the wayside as soon as we really hit the grind.

As always, let’s make it automatic instead. Let’s add these key notes to our daily template.

Here’s what that looks like. You can copy and paste this into Evernote or download this ENEX file (right-click and save as…) and import it into Evernote.

Of course you can use the copy-and-paste version of the template anywhere: put in in Springpad, in todo.txt, wherever.

In Evernote I have it in my Templates folder. When I close my day and review this note I click to the pinned template in my favorites bar and copy a new version to my Daily Outcomes folder (on Windows I use the shortcut keys CTRL + N, C, N to copy the note template but if you prefer just use the mouse).

I title each day’s note with the date and name of the day.

 

Today’s Successful Outcome:


End of Day Review


What did I do today:

What did I learn?

What can I improve?

What kind act did I do?

What did I enjoy?

Three Things I’m Grateful For:

Evernote Data Pruning: How To Keep Evernote Useful

The best way to keep your data clean & useful is to regularly do some easy tending and pruning.

WHY WOULD I LOOK AT OLDER NOTES?

Face it, when you started using Evernote you weren’t sure what to put in. Or you followed the idea of "dump everything in it" to the letter and now every search has way too many irrelevant results. Or you realize that your "how to use Evernote as a cookbook" period is over and you no longer need those entries.

Or you wish you would have tagged some notes. Or you would like to move personal notes to one notebook and article clippings to another.

An easy way to tend to this data household chore is by doing a search for notes created on that day in the years before.

Example: if today is December 28 then I can find the notes I made on December 28, 2009 by typing:

created:20091228 -created:20091229

The format there is since date, before date, and the result is a list of notes created on the since date only.

To view other years I simply change the year. My data goes back to 2005 when I started to use Evernote so it takes 5 searches.

I’m done with my data pruning in 1-2 minutes usually.

HOW I USE DATA PRUNING

  • I delete a lot of material that is outdated or no longer piques my interest.
  • See times gone by as I come across log entries.
    evernote data pruning date search
  • Add or remove tags
  • Move items to new notebooks
  • Consolidate notes, tags or notebooks
  • Tweet older but interesting material
  • See the big(ger) picture in areas of interest
  • Get ideas for blog posts, articles

BONUS TIP: PERSONALBRAIN

I use the same pruning procedure in PersonalBrain. The reports tab lets you pick a start/end date.It’s a bit more clicking with the calendar it has but it’s pretty cool to have your data in order.

Print the Evernote Note List with SnagIt [Printing]

Sometimes, like during the Weekly Review, I like to have a hardcopy of the note list (the top pane in the Evernote desktop client).

There’s no native option to print the note list but don’t let that stop you.

I use a “scrolling window” profile in the screen capture program SnagIt to capture the note titles I want to print.

In snagit I crop the list to only have the title and tags columns visible; you might have your own preference.

The note font is quite small but before printing you can play with the page setup: stretching the image makes it more readable at times.

During the Weekly Review I print out two of these lists: one with personal to do’s/someday’s, and one with work related to do’s/someday’s.

Make Your Own Query Language with Evernote Tags

Finding back items in Evernote is usually as simple as typing something, anything, into the search box and seeing the results appear as you type.

For slightly deeper data digging some of us might be tagging our notes and use the [tag:] query to get to very specific notes.

The problem begins when you need that note with that Word document attached to it. Or when you want to pull all your notes with .ppt attachments.

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Create Instant Evernote To Do Note

I’m a big fan of the “new note” and “paste into Evernote” global hot keys in Evernote.

Global Hotkeys in Evernote

This week I added to that the global hotkey CTRL + ALT + T to create a new To Do item from any application.
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Evernote GTD How To

The following 15 minute setup enables you to use Evernote as a frictionless GTD list application. Easy entry, no multiple notebooks required. Works with you, not against you.

The setup features:

  • notebook independent setup: enter and use to do notes anywhere, anytime
  • Project List
  • list aggregating all next actions
  • @ context lists
  • Waiting For
  • Someday/Maybe
  • 5 “time required” levels & lists
  • done/audit list
  • toggle checkbox (/tag) to move items on/off the Someday/Maybe list

The description is for an old Windows desktop client, Evernote 3.1, but works anywhere Evernote does. Current versions of Evernote have no counts shown next to the saved searches: Evernote 3.1 gives a clear at-a-glance view of where you have how many open items.
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Adding Files to Evernote Using Adobe Acrobat

I don’t know if Evernote is indispensable as I don’t remember working without it. It’s installed on each of my computers and every reinstall of Windows since 2005…

Evernote3 has only made life easier, simpler, with syncing in the cloud. It’s the goodness of never having to chose between storing stuff on this computer, that computer, on your Flash drive or in the cloud: it’s and, not or. And Evernote does the transparent heavy lifting of all that synced goodness.

Evernote can store images (and yes, index and search text in those images…) and PDF files (which, again, it can index and search too). So I didn’t take out my notetaker walllet to copy down the addition to the opening times of the nearby swimming pool; I snapped a photo with the low-res CMOS camera built-in to most cellphones today and emailed it to my Evernote account.

French image OCR in Evernote

Likewise my copy of Leo Babauta’s Zen to Done has been drag-and-dropped into Evernote and is thus available to me anywhere at any time.

Nice.

However, as it goes with these kind of improvements, they make you long for more. That longing rises quickly when you attempt to drag a non-image, non-PDF into Evernote.

Unsupported or unrecognized Evernote file

Can’t be done.

Adobe Acrobat to the Rescue

Having been on the fence whether to continue to use a patchwork of alternative solutions or buy Adobe Acrobat, I interpreted the recently-ish release of Acrobat 9.0 as a sign that I should buy a copy.

Adobe Acrobat on ObjectDock

Ever since I’ve been playing around with the program, liking my new software toy very much — thank you — and turning just about anything into PDF’s. Our Husky now scurries away when he sees me approach.

One of the things I came across is the ability to create a PDF Portfolio. A PDF Portfilio is a PDF-ish file that can contain other files: images, Word files, Excel, video, etc. etc. …

You see where this is going to go, right?

Create a PDF Portfolio

Except for the reader-only version, obviously, any edition of Adobe Acrobat 9.0 can create PDF Portfolio’s.

Open your copy and go for Create -> Assemble a PDF Portfolio.

Create PDF Portfolio

Grab a file and drag-and-drop it to the PDF Portfolio screen.

Drag file to PDF Portfolio

If you want you click on the file name to change that. Or click under the file name to add a description to that file.

File dropped in PDF Portfolio Add description to PDF Portfolio file

You can switch to the esthetically more pleasing list view too. Adobe Acrobat Pro and Pro Extended can also apply templates to how these PDF Portfolio’s look and behave. Brian S. Friedlander’s Assistive Technology has a good entry on creating PDF Portfolio’s in Adobe Acrobat Pro (Extended).

The created PDF Portfolio, containing your files, can be dropped into Evernote and will be synced with and through the cloud.

Even when (if?) Evernote adds native file sharing, using PDF Portfolio’s in a very elegant way to move and share files which should be kept together.

Gmail To Evernote Information Management Workflow

Capturing information has to be as low-key, as easy as it can be. Smooth, is the word I’m looking for, I think.

My favorite capture tool since 2005-ish has been Evernote. Highlight, CTRL + C, CTRL + ALT + V to create a new pasted note from anywhere within Windows.

But back then Evernote was a local installation application only. Bugged me as I switch between my desktop and a laptop provided by Canada’s SEO company.

Enter Gmail [hat tip: Turn Gmail Into Your Personal Nerve Center].

Gmail Capture Process

  • Get the Google toolbar.
  • Highlight info on a page, click Send To, choose Gmail.

    Google toobar Send to Gmail menu

  • In the subject line I use a pipe followed by keywords/tags.

    Delete Sent Using Google Toolbar text

    use keywords in the subject line as tags

    Those keywords allow you to do “tag” searches by doing a subject search in Gmail.

…to Evernote Workflow

To send information into my Gmail database I, of course, use a special + email address as in Gmail you can do youremail+anything@.

In Gmail I’ve setup a filter which will label any email to this specific address with DB, short for database (why not database in full? simple, in a search it is faster to restrict to label:db or l:db than using the word “database” spelled out in full….).

The address is also filtered to automatically forward to my special Evernote email address. Minutes after the note arrives in Gmail it’s available in Evernote too.

Once every 1-3 days I go into my “InBox” notebook in Evernote and go through the incoming notes. This is a fast, short job. Give it one “real” Evernote tag, usually. Very high level too. Then drag it into one of the handful of notebooks I keep (again very high level. Any complete web page capture goes into Web Archive, for example).

Done.

The Benefits

  1. Future proof: Evernote might disappear, email won’t
  2. Automatic backup
  3. Both available from anywhere with Gmail being just a tad better available even
  4. Keywords (“tags”) in the subject/title of the note allow for subject searches in Gmail and intitle searches in Evernote
  5. Searches in both Evernote and Gmail are fast while each has its own strengths
  6. Since a little while Evernote has removed the inline Goto Source to a tiny button, making note export with URL a royal pain. Gmail includes the source link.

    Send to Gmail with clear source link

The only time I clip directly into Evernote is when images/graphics are of importance to me: Gmail stores a link to the images, not the images themselves. And yes, in that case I often email the note to Gmail :)

Custom Queries for Evernote

Custom Queries for Evernote

Custom Queries for Evernote

How I Use Projects in Evernote (and tie them back to actions)

12 Month + Some People Tickler File

Recurrence in Evernote GTD