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Archive: Life Hacks

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 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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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 :)

From Google Reader automatically into Gmail

Gmail works great as a personal nerve center.

An efficient way to get data into the system, apart from typing it or using the Send To button or GmailThis bookmarklet, is a combination of Google Reader and FeedBurner.

Whenever I come across something in Google Reader that I might want to use as reference material later on, I don’t star it (S) but Share It (SHIFT + S).

I have a FeedBurner feed setup for the feed of those Shared Items and have configured that feed to have an email version available as well.

Subscribe to that email version and voila, once a day the full texts of my shared items arrives in my Gmail, gets labeled DB (database) and removed from view.

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