So if you’ve gone through the steps so far for collecting your clutter into Evernote then you’ll already be well on your way toward using Evernote for goal tracking . We started by collecting all our clutter and then we went about capturing it into Evernote. So if we’ve done everything correctly up until now we have a system filled with all the related information pertaining to our goals for the coming year, and we’ve stored it all in a trusted system.
Make a next action list
With all your information stored in one secure place, and your system set up to receive more information as you receive it. You can now start organizing your day to day affairs. Draw up a list of all the projects related to your goals that currently require your attention. So for example, if your goal is to lose weight, your first project might be to research methods of losing weight. What is the next action you have to take to move that project forward? You may make an appointment with a doctor, or spend time on the internet or go to the local bookstore. Whatever you choose, capture that next action into Evernote.
How Evernote organizes
Evernote has a two tier organisation system, notes are divided into notebooks, and can also be tagged. Notebooks are a high level way of keeping information about goals and projects together, I suggest starting one notebook for each of your goals and keeping all the notes relating to that project in that notebook. Tags can be used to give context information, or to group any information which you may want to draw together across notebooks. For example I tend to capture links to striking images I find into evernote that way when I’m looking for an image for a post I can search by the tag image and review the notes I have already stored for image. With my goal of writing a novel I’d like to keep my novel information in one notebook, however I’ll also tag different notes, so if I want to brush up on characters or character development I filter my notes by the character or character development tags. This is particular useful where notes are useful across note books or when notebooks become really big.
Context is Key
One of the cornerstones of GTD for organization is context. The best way to organize your “stuff” is by the situation in which you’ll need it. What that means is instead of having a list of, things to do for planning your vacation away, you’re far better off having list of items you can do when you have access to the phone and free time. That way when you do have free time to make some calls you just need to pull out the list of phone calls you need to make and there you go no need to waste anytime looking through to do’s and day planners or bits of paper. One list with all your phone calls on (putting the phone numbers in too is a big timesaver if there’s a chance you’ll use a land line).
Notes as to-do or next action lists in Evernote
So in our system we’ll have a notebook with a list of our goals. In that list of notes we’ll have all our goals listed, written SMART and with as much detail attached to it to make it meaningful. Each goal should then have it’s own notebook, and again we’d store all the information pertaining to each goal in each notebook. Inside that notebook list all the actions that need to be taken. Now think about context. What is the context in which you’ll act on your next actions, add that to your notes as tags.
Contexts should be descriptive eg.
@anywhere With your next actions tagged like this, you know immediately what all the things are you need to do, and also you are able to recall what needs to be done when you are able to do it.
So this is how I’ve set up Evernote to organize my goals and tasks. Evernote is very open ended in the way it can be applied to problems, so don’t take my ideas as gospel. However for me this is the system I’ll be using to keep my notes organised and my day prioritised. If you have any thoughts or ideas on this system or have a better system I’d love to hear about it.
- How to use Evernote and GTD for setting and achieving goals and objectives
- Goal and Objective tracking in Evernote Pt. 1 – Collection
- Goal and Objective tracking in Evernote Pt. 2 – Capture