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Just over two years ago, I wrote my first post for 40Tech. I had discovered the power of GTD while trying to manage life, new parenthood, and the crazy tech-startup marketing job I was working. I had also become an avid fan of Evernote. The mere idea that I could capture anything, anywhere, and put it in a searchable digital filing cabinet that I could carry in my pocket was mind-blowing for me. Naturally, I spent a large amount of time and effort in marrying together my two new obsessions. They seemed a great fit to me, and they lead to that fateful first post that is still one of the top articles on this blog: GTD in Evernote With Only One Notebook.
I say this post was fateful for two reasons: one, it set me on a path of productivity and tech that has, in many ways, defined my current career path; and two, it brought about a tremendous amount of great conversation and connections with people I likely would never have met, otherwise. One of those people was Daniel Gold, lifestyle and productivity blogger, and author of the eBook this post is really about — an eBook that would have made my life a lot easier if it had been around when I first considered implementing GTD in Evernote.
Daniel’s book, The Unofficial Guide to Capturing Everything and Getting Things Done in Evernote, isn’t a step-by-step how-to manual. It’s not a mind-bending piece of literature, and it’s not going to cook you breakfast. What it is, wonderfully, is a straightforward, conversational look at why Evernote is a great tool for productivity in general, and how easily it can be used to apply GTD principles effectively. The book never talks down to you, and it never assumes you know too much or too little — it is simply honest and genuine; experienced, but uncomplicated. It doesn’t hurt that it’s a fun and easy read, either.
Daniel starts out by giving you a little background on his own experiences in searching for a productivity tool that would change it all for him. This is a conversation that he is very open about on his blog, and one that he has brought to 40Tech through several insightful and helpful comments. He openly admits that he was just as lost as the rest of us, and that it was his search and his failures in discovering or hacking together the perfect productivity system that ultimately led him back to Evernote. Evernote brought him back to basics — back to simplicity and a straight ahead means of getting things done. This eventually led him to the sense of “mind like water” that inspired his eBook.
He does a good job of breaking down his GTD implementation in Evernote, giving plenty of examples while keeping things light. As I mentioned earlier in the post, the book is not a GTD instruction manual. It does, however, work well as an introductory guide to a system that has been working out very well for him, and is easy to implement.
If I had to pick out a negative — and a review isn’t a review if you don’t — I would say that my only issue is that there are a few rough patches in grammar and a few missed words that might cause you to have to re-read a sentence or two. Even still, the author’s message is always clear, so don’t let the nit-picky things hold you back. Besides, Daniel has stated that his eBook is going to receive quarterly updates — for free — that will include new content and will likely add a few edits in as well.
The Unofficial Guide to Capturing Everything and Getting Things Done in Evernote is an easy, informative, and entertaining read of approximately 40 pages. If you are looking for a decent overview of how GTD can be effectively accomplished in Evernote, it’s definitely worth the $5 price tag, especially considering the free updates for life that you get with it. [UPDATE: We now have an affiliate link that you can use to buy the book, which means we get a buck or two from each purchase if you purchase through that link.].