I used to have a checklist of all my capture tools – all 30 of them.
Then I realised, during a GTD® Connect webinar, that I could significantly simplify my system if my capture tools would automagically forward to my inboxes.
So I started with a simple premise.
Capture however is most convenient – pictures, voice, text message, handwritten notes, web clippings, missed call notifications, and so on – and then forward the captured item from the capture tool to my Evernote inbox.
In this first blog post of the ‘How-I-use-Evernote-guide’, I explain how to set up my Evernote inbox.
How this works
When processing I essentially have two inboxes:
- my physical inbox which is either the inbox tray on my desk, or my red mobile inbox folder
- my electronic inbox which is my Evernote inboxblank
I do still have a list of all my capture tools which I keep in my Evernote checklists and tagged “Quick Reference”. When processing, I refer to this list and scan my capture tools for any input that still needs to be forwarded to my inbox.
In the four months I have been using this method, the number of capture tools on my checklist has reduced. I can think of two main reasons:
- I utilise Evernote itself as a capture tool as much as possible (e.g. Evernote for BlackBerry snapshot and audio)
- I have developed that habit of forwarding to Evernote whenever possible.
What to do in Evernote?
A. Create an Inbox
Create a new notebook called !nbox.
Using the exclamation point ensure it shows up at the top of your notebook list. And this does apply to all platforms where you install Evernote – PC, Mac, BlackBerry, iPhone, iPad, Web or Android.
In the notebook properties, set this up as your default notebook.
If bold, add into a separate ‘Shared !nbox’ for your family, close friends, or teams who might want to leave you an electronic inbox item instead of an email or text message.
This is a good electronic substitute for dropping off a Post-it note in your physical inbox. You do need a premium account to give others the right to add or modify notes.
B. Move your backlog to an Inbox stack
You can also move your backlog to an inbox stack for later processing and/or organising.
Infact, when changing my Evernote setup, I moved old notebook folders to my !nbox Stack temporarily. From there I process them so that they can be organised into the new Evernote notebook stack structure.
So, you can move previous folders you have in Evernote that you may want to restructure or retag to your !nbox Stack. Or, you can create a new notebook that lists all your backlogs.
C. Get Evernote email address and configure capture tools
Remember to get your Evernote email address which is available in both the Free and Premium versions. Then, configure your capture tools to send captured items to your Evernote inbox.
When forwarding items, if you have already processed the item (i.e. decided what to do next), remember to add in enough information or tags to indicate what you have decided to do next, so you do not have to re-process the item when clearing your inbox.
I show a diagram which give you an indication of how I have linked my capture tools to my Evernote !nbox.
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