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One of the top FAQs is How to use RTM to implement a GTD system. I've decided against RTM, I don't like it as described in a previous thread of mine.

I want to know how people use Evernote to implement GTD, considering it's not primarily a to-do list application, but rather an archiving solution.

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my opinion on implementing gtd over RTM, Evernote or any other system that will at most allow you tags, is that the workflow becomes too much work in and of itself just to maintain the system up-to-date. – Vic Goldfeld Mar 10 '12 at 21:18
@VicSzpilman Out of curiosity, do you subscribe to GTD? If so, what's your format? – Raystafarian Mar 11 '12 at 12:40
I really buy the whole GTD method, but I'm yet to find a format that I'm happy with. I think software should be, simply put, more action oriented, so I'm actually developing my own. The setup I got the most out of was a computer/paper hybrid, where the software was basically a project repository from where I weekly generated a printed next actions list. – Vic Goldfeld Mar 11 '12 at 16:04
up vote 7 down vote accepted

I've just (this morning) run across The Secret Weapon, a site giving a very detailed description of implementing GTD in Evernote. On a quick skim through their manifesto, this looks like a very well thought out and practical approach, based primarily on the tagging available in Evernote. I'm going to take a much closer look, and consider adjusting my system accordingly.

I'm currently using a mixed-tool GTD system, where my Next Action contexts are in RTM, but my Project list and supporting material are in Evernote. I make heavy use of tagging to keep things organized:

  • project is applied to one and only one note, and a saved search notes with that tag gets me a Project List
  • p-XXX lets me group notes that belong to a single project, where XXX is some identifier
  • _due-YYYYMMDD is often applied to a project so I can sort the Projects search results by tag, and get the projects in due date order

So for an example, I might have one note "Vacation in Hawaii" with tags project, p-hawaii, and _due-20120315. Another note titled "Hawaii flight reservations" is tagged p-hawaii and travel, and contains the airline flight reservation email which I forwarded to Evernote. And another note titled "packing list" is tagged p-hawaii and checklist

In my saved search "Projects" (searching for tag project in my GTD notebook), I'll only see the "Vacation in Hawaii" note, but viewing it shows me that the p-hawaii tag identifies notes that are associated with this project, so I can do a search on that tag to get all the supporting material.

Edit 20120312 - minor typo corrections that annoyed me on rereading

Update 2013-07-16 - In June 2013, Evernote added Reminders. Notes can now have an alarm set, which changes the behavior of some displays, and sends alerts to you at the designated date and time. This hasn't yet changed much of how I am using Evernote, but could be an important feature for other people's implementation.

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I've slowly been going through this website and trying it out. I appreciate this response! and +1 it – Raystafarian Mar 11 '12 at 12:40
Though not perfect (for me), I've used TSW as a base for my new program. Thanks! – Raystafarian Mar 19 '12 at 11:15
I use only Evernote for my GTD and it works great. I use a slightly simpler version of the method mentioned in Secret Weapon – SandeepR Apr 3 '12 at 6:36
Seems this is still a relevant question for everyone, I had selected this as the accepted answer because I used it to make my own hierarchy that fits my needs. The "accepted answer" does not mean the other answers are not acceptable. my hierarchy – Raystafarian Jul 16 '13 at 14:44

Well, there's a plethora of articles on the Internet, if you try searching for them.

I tried to implement Evernoote some time ago for task management but didn't find it fitting my workflow. The tutorial I used was "Getting Things Done (GTD) in Evernote with Only One Notebook" from 40Tech. The basic approach is to use a deep tree structure of tags instead of separate notebooks.

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I appreciate the article link, +1 – Raystafarian Mar 11 '12 at 12:41

Check this out For all GTD and Evernote fans! The application will be available for iOS and Android. This tool will not only enable full synchronization with personalized content of Evernote, but will also allow the user to create personal tasks and to do list independently. is based on the philosophy of Getting Things Done ®, but it is adaptable to any other style of task management.

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There is a short (63-page) and inexpensive ($5) book called "Evernote: The unofficial guide to capturing everything and getting things done. 2nd Edition" by Daniel Gold, which I am currently in the middle of reading. Note however that it is only available for the Kindle.

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I don't have a kindle, let me know how it is though, please – Raystafarian Mar 11 '12 at 12:41
Free Kindle software is available for most platforms. – Dennis S. Mar 12 '12 at 14:01

I also tried very hard to have Evernote at the centre of my GTD-like workflow but as email is my most dominating source of tasks and reference material, having my email client at the core has been the only thing that has worked superbly. I must have tried 10 or more other systems, including RTM, gTasks, Toodledo, UltimateToDo and Springpad.

I didn't want to have to send from my email client to Evernote, adding subject line modifiers or tagging in Evernote when I can simply tag in Gmail (especially made easy by the free ActiveInbox plugin). Sure I could automatically transfer to Evernote with filters or services like ifttt, but it's just another thing to configure and emails requiring response meant back to the email client.

I decided I didn't want to be locked into Evernote's proprietary method of storing my reference material, opting instead for DropBox and its standard file-based organisation.

Gmail I have a calendar one click away for my hard appointments. No setting up required and automatic syncing to Android. The ActiveInbox plugin for Gmail allows the quick creation of emails (i.e. tasks) to oneself with the appropriate action/context/project tags. I email scheduled and recurring reminders to myself via so I completely have them off my radar until their time.

Evernote's three level hierarchy for storing reference material bothered me at first, preferring unlimited 'foldering', but I think I'm becoming a believer in its multi-level tagging over multi-level foldering anyway.

I dislike Evernote's crudeness. I did screen clips and css styling was lost, despite specifying to keep it. I did tables and a simple two column table would span the entire note width with no obvious way to change it. I pasted in images and couldn't reposition them by dragging. I'm sure there are ways around all this but I'm not prepared to waste time finding it if it's not intuitive.

I usually would have dumped such a program straight away, but I keep on coming back to re-evaluate it because I haven't yet got an efficient system for storing notes and web snippets and I'm trying to see what so many people see in Evernote.

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I appreciate the feedback, I am following this thread. What makes me want to try evernote as an AIO solution is the fact that it syncs across my dekstop, work pc, android phone, macbook and ipad. There are so many things I've tried that don't sync like that for me. – Raystafarian Mar 13 '12 at 15:30

I actually just stumbled across a great app that integrates with Evernote, email, calendars and more while providing a great interface for task management. By integrating all of your actionable content in one place, you be much more productive.

The app is called IQTELL (, and it's free while in beta. I've only been using it for a little bit now, but I really like a lot of the features, and the developers are very responsive to user feedback.

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