As you probably already know, GTD and Productivity are creatures that live somewhere deep in my bones. They speak to me, manipulate me, and generally run my life. Not in a bad way, you understand — even if they come across as a little obsessive, the little monsters really do have my best interests at heart. They’re the reason I’m always looking for new and inventive ways to refine and apply workflows. They’re also the reason that I’ve met some cool people who have their own little creatures that bitch and nag them into action.
During a recent conversation on Google+, with a circle of those people, we were discussing the benefits of both Producteev and Evernote as GTD tools, and how it would be great if they worked together. We decided to test out a means of making that happen, with Evernote as the ultimate collection tool, and Producteev as the magic task management/Google Calendar integrator.
Here’s what I proposed (have a read and tell me what you think):
The Gist of the Idea
The first thing to do is make Evernote able to send email directly to email@example.com. To do this, you need to register the email address that your Evernote uses (to email out a note) in your Producteev workspace(s). Now, any tasks in Evernote that you want to process into Producteev can be done directly from within EN.
The next thing you need to do is make sure your Evernote notes get to the right place in your Producteev setup. Producteev’s email2task functionality is fantastic. It incorporates a lot of simple language that allows you to easily do things like schedule a task from email by writing “Do this task tomorrow at 2pm” in the subject line (more on syntax below). If you are working in the Evernote desktop app, you can easily send out an email by selecting that option under Share, and then changing the subject line to reflect the appropriate email2task syntax. If you are in a mobile app, or unable to change the subject line for some reason, then you can simply change the title of your note to reflect what you want the email subject line to say.
These two steps make it possible to collect information in Evernote and share it with Producteev quickly and easily. Producteev can connect to Google Calendar, as well, for two-way sync (coming first week of February, 2012), which gives you the opportunity to finally connect Evernote to Google Calendar, if only by proxy.
Finally, using the Copy Note Link or Copy URL to Clipboard features found under the Note and Share buttons in Evernote, you can add the note’s own link to the email or note body, and leave an easy to follow link back to Evernote in any Producteev task you create.
GTD Use Cases for a Evernote-Producteev Bridge
- You could manage your GTD system in Evernote, doing everything from collecting to archiving, but use Producteev during processing to set up automated reminders and Google Calendar events. You could also add in email or IM Producteev functionality to easily close and update tasks, including sharing and delegating without ever logging in to the tool itself.
- You could also manage your GTD in Producteev and simply use Evernote as your main collection tool, as well as for keeping all of your reference material and archives in one easily searchable place. Producteev has many ways of inputting tasks, but Evernote can utilize voice, image, and text entry, as well as the clipper, and a crazy number of integrations, to collect and organize information.
- Evernote has superior collection capability but no true task management functionality.
- Producteev’s notes system and ability to add attachments simply can’t compare to Evernote.
- When you send an Evernote item into Producteev, the body is converted to a note. Actually, you end up with several notes, as any images that Evernote uses in the background of the note are added as separate (and useless) note items in Producteev. HTML is stripped out entirely, and this will sometimes leave garbage code in the text of the Producteev note. See the image below (thanks to Daniel Gold for doing the first test run!).
- Even though the Producteev notes are in plain text, the note itself is still in both tools. In Producteev, the notes system can be used to conduct a conversation around the task with others who have access to the workspace, or to leave additional notes for yourself if you are using Producteev as your main management system.
General Workflow & Syntax
- Collect in Evernote
- Process to Producteev via Evernote email-out and Producteev email2task syntax (with scheduled items going to Gcal, as well, for the visual calendar)
- Manage tasks in Evernote with Producteev used only for scheduling and reminders OR
- Manage tasks in Producteev and/or email with Evernote for archival reference
Syntax tips can be found here, but the basics are as follows:
- today, tomorrow, days of the week, next week, specific dates (today 8pm, August 10 8pm, 8pm August 10 when combining date and time)
- done (to register a task as being completed)
- @ to assign a task to a workspace collaborator (@Michael, @Michael Lewis, @Lewis, @ML)
- * to indicate a priority level using our 1-5 starring system (4* or ****)
- # to indicate workspace name (#Personal)
- ## to indicate the appropriate label (##Marketing)
- “” to add task notes (“follow up” or ‘follow up’)
- / to have the beaver run searches for you (/today for a list of all of your tasks due by the end of the day)
So what do you think of the possibilities of integrating Producteev and Evernote into one system that is relatively seamless? Thoughts? Concerns? Is this worthwhile? Let us know in the comments!