Productivity Journey to Productivity Nirvana

Why increase productivity anyway?

Productivity Nirvana

In 2013, no one should have to type the same thing twice. That was my thought back when creating TaskClone as a simple way to get tasks out of Evernote and into my favorite task app. Like many beginning entrepreneurs, I was surprised there wasn't already a solution to this “obvious” productivity problem.

My market research led me to many others who seemed on a never-ending quest for productivity nirvana – a state of Zen-like efficiency and automated bliss. Pouring over blog posts, forums and social media, it was clear this quest was worldwide and source of much frustration. [pullquote align="right"]The automated bliss fantasy seemed a response to varying degrees of overwhelm driven by too many things to do and no time or energy to do them. [/pullquote]

From Destination to Journey

The automated bliss fantasy seemed a response to varying degrees of overwhelm driven by too many things to do and no time or energy to do them. Too many responsibilities, too many great ideas, too many interesting things to explore and too many expectations from themselves and others.

Verdict: Guilty!

My own quest has certainly passed through the overwhelm stop with a few return visits, but I have reframed my thinking from a destination to a journey. Through a few wise souls and lots of self-reflection, I found a roadmap that has brought much-needed peace – the Life Plan. Being the geek that I am, I converted Michael Hyatt’s Life Plan Workbook into a spreadsheet with tabs for 1, 5 and 20 year timeframes. The question – What do I want my life to be and how do I structure the next 20-30 years so IT IS?

The 20-Year View

A 20-year view actually reduced lots of pressure. Everything didn't need to be accomplished in year 1, year 5 or even year 10. I didn't need to learn to speak Spanish in the next 6 months. I didn't even need to start. I noticed some goals were related in a progression – building a strong marriage could lead to a marriage ministry serving others. There were also seasons of life to consider like raising children or caring for elderly parents. And then you’re dead! Sounds morbid, but the certainty of an end oddly led to an epiphany. . .

The Optimized Life

My productivity journey is about living an Optimized Life while I’m here – the best life I can live based on my own goals, aptitudes and context. That’s how I’ll measure my life. It’s not in comparison to others nor based on a perfect me that doesn't exist. I use “optimized” to acknowledge the competition among priorities as well as the ongoing personal growth that will modify both goals and the methods to achieve them.

[pullquote]The Life Plan wasn't that hard when freed from the idea it needed to be perfect or wouldn't evolve. [/pullquote]

The Life Plan wasn't that hard when freed from the idea it needed to be perfect or wouldn't evolve. What did I want to contribute? What did I want to experience? By when? In an Optimized Life, productivity is about getting the most meaningful things done using the appropriate time and energy. You’ll understand why I say “meaningful & appropriate” if you think about a productive anniversary dinner or productive weekend getaway.

Productivity & The Feedback Loop

Most productivity talk is actually more about efficiency or how to get the most done in the least time. This seems to make sense because time is finite, but don’t forget, so is energy. Either way, you’ll find the most improvement using a simple feedback loop:

  1. Clarify Goals
  2. Take Action
  3. Measure Results
  4. Reflect & Repeat

Productivity Feedback Loop

The cool thing is you can jump in anywhere within the loop. Along the productivity journey to an Optimized Life, getting better is all about this loop. Most productivity talk is about Step 2, but through many life experiences including recently losing 40 pounds, I can attest there is amazing power in Steps 1, 3 and 4. That’s what I’ll share on this blog – How do we improve on all four toward our Optimized Life.

Whether it’s how to structure your week so you move forward on your key goals or how the latest wearable device helps you measure your fitness, I want us all to enjoy our Optimized Life.

Back at you

What’s your “WHY” to be more productive?

 

 


TaskClone Integrates Evernote todos and Todoist tasks

TaskClone eliminates time wasted finding and transferring tasks from your Evernote notes to Todoist and the pain of forgetting tasks left behind in your notes.   As the video shows, TaskClone allows you to add due dates, labels and reminders to Todoist tasks without ever leaving Evernote.

With our Premium account, you can send Evernote todos to up to 5 Todoist projects and create default labels or reminders for each project.  Simply set it once and maintain your workflow in Evernote.

Todoist is one of the most popular apps at TaskClone, so we are adding them to the video parade.


8 Ways TaskClone Improves Evernote Productivity

TaskClone was created to put your notes to work by solving a simple challenge: get tasks out of Evernote into a purpose-built task manager.  While TaskClone does that well, user feedback and our own experience has led to many improvements that go beyond that simple, yet important, use case.

1. Cloning tasks to your task app

TaskClone extracts ("Clones") individual tasks represented by checkboxes and sends them to the task app of your choice.  Although this is a one-way send instead of two-way sync, we find most manage tasks in their task app anyway.  A link back to the originating note is included in the task description so you can find the context of your task later. See Cloning Basics tutorial.

2. Aggregating all tasks in one note

If you don't have or want a dedicated task app, you can use TaskClone to aggregate tasks from all over your Evernote account into one "Task List Note."  With TaskClone Premium, you can now have up to 5 Task List Notes (for different categories of tasks) and you can decide where to send each task on-the-fly.  Of course, each task in the list has a link back to the originating note.

3. Sending tasks to multiple task apps

[Update: This has improved since video - See Multiple Task Apps tutorial]  Whether its home and work or work and business, we found many use more than one task app.  With a TaskClone Premium account, you can send tasks to up to 5 different apps.  Also, some apps use a different email address per project.  You can use this feature to send to up to 5 different projects.

4. Setting due dates, assignees & more

Many task apps let you email-in tasks and set parameters using the subject line of the email.  Just add those same parameters as you type your tasks in Evernote and TaskClone will do the rest.  From due dates, assignees, priority, tags, projects and more, creating tasks directly from Evernote has never been easier. See Adding Task Detaills tutorial.

5. Adding default parameters to each task

Sometimes you use the same parameters (e.g. labels) for every task that comes from Evernote to your app.  Instead of adding these each time, you can set whatever defaults you want. You simply add the same text you would add to a task in Evernote, but instead add it in Task App Settings in TaskClone.  We'll add to each of your tasks for you.  See Changing Settings tutorial to see where to add.

Combined with TaskClone's multiple apps functionality, you can do even more. Instead of using multiple apps, use multiple instances of the same app, each with its own default parameters.  For example, set one instance with default label for personal tasks, another with defaults for a colleague, another with defaults for a special project.

6. Creating new notes from each task

Sometimes you want to take a simple list of tasks and make each into a full note to add further details, including photos and files.  Setup TaskClone with your Evernote email address as the destination and each task in your list will create a new note.  Specify a notebook, tag or reminder on-the-fly or use TaskClone's ability to set defaults to have the notes configured exactly as you like.  See Evernote syntax to create note by email.

As a Premium TaskClone client with access to up to 5 sets of defaults for Evernote, you can configure a full GTD system with exactly the notebook, tag and reminder structure you want without ever leaving Evernote!

7. Creating iOS Reminders from tasks

A few task apps sync with iOS Reminders and in designing to support them, we found that many users just want tasks to go to iOS Reminders itself.  Use our IFTTT Recipe and you're ready to go in a few minutes.

8. Scheduling events in Google Calendar

TaskClone makes it nearly effortless to schedule events in Google Calendar directly from your notes.  Simply add "sch: " to tasks and write your event using Google's Natural Language and the event shows up in your Calendar within seconds of syncing Evernote.  See full Creating Events in Google Calendar tutorial.

Works Everywhere

TaskClone works with every Evernote platform and with over 50 task apps.  Our homepage allows you to search for your favorite app to see our level of support and with resources to get you started.

What else can TaskClone do?

We find that our users are a source of new ideas and inspiration.  Share how you use TaskClone to put your notes to work.


TaskClone Survey Results in - TaskClone 2.0 on the way!

[UPDATE: 5-22-2014] TaskClone 2.0 will launch in a few weeks days and it'll be based largely on user feedback. Despite our new logo design, we're all about productivity and for that you need honest answers to the right questions. Our best ideas come direct from users or in response to their questions. TaskClone 2.0 will be no different. Here are the results:

User Feedback - Features Wanted

 

Improvements you wanted

 

TaskClone 2.0 Responds

We've changed hardware and are re-writing most of the code to make TaskClone easier to use, faster, more powerful and more versatile. Here's what to expect in a few weeks time.

 

New Features

Gmail requirement - GONE!

One of the changes we're most excited about is removing the requirement to register a Gmail account with us. Many users told us they didn't want Gmail or were afraid to give access to their account. With 2.0, we will transition to an internal email system for all users (e.g. [email protected]), but to use it, your task service may need to recognize this new incoming email as from you.

Although 80%+ of task apps will require no change, existing or prospective users should visit our Supported Task Apps article to find out if your task app requires any additional steps.

 

Set defaults for all tasks

In TaskClone 2.0, you will be able to set whatever defaults your task app supports, including due dates, assignees, priority, contexts and more.  You will need to know the syntax for your specific app, but we'll even guide you with that!

 

Send to multiple task apps

Premium subscribers will be able to send to up to five different destination emails (e.g. five different task apps). This can also be used for projects if your app has a different email address for each project.  You can choose where to send tasks on a per task basis.

 

Choose your link style

Despite our best efforts at promotion, many apps do not support Evernote's application links (e.g. evernote:/// ). You will be able to choose regular hyperlinks if you prefer (e.g. https://). For Premium subscribers, you can make this choice for each of your five apps.

 

More to come

We're not near done. Next stop - compatibility with Evernote Business!

 

Process Improvements

Much easier, faster setup

For new users, 3 fields in 30 seconds to 2 minutes. We focus just on what you need to get started. Once you're up and running, all our powerful features above will be available in a much cleaner interface.

 

Improved Parsing Engine

TaskClone filters or parses your notes looking for tasks represented by checkboxes. Forwarded emails, embedded images, different formatting in different Evernote apps can all make this difficult. Our parsing engine is already much improved and there'll be even more for 2.0.

Don't Wait

If you're not already using TaskClone, there's no need to wait.  All TaskClone users will automatically be upgraded to TaskClone 2.0.

As usual, if there are ever any questions, don't hesitate to contact us.

 

 


TaskClone Puts Evernote Integration with Trello in the cards

What could be better?

It's like peanut butter and jelly or cookies with ice cream.  An Evernote integration with Trello makes our lives easier, smoother, better.  Trello created their own "Power-up" integration that allows you to attach an Evernote note to a Trello card.  This works great for keeping Evernote reference information associated with an existing card in Trello.

 

A Better Evernote Integration with Trello

But, what if you use Evernote checkboxes to make to-do lists in Evernote?  What if you took meeting notes in Evernote and added next steps that need to be accomplished?  How do you get those action items over to Trello?  Glad you asked because we designed TaskClone's Evernote integration with Trello to solve exactly that problem.  As much as I loved Evernote, I hated the frustration of taking notes in Evernote only to be unable to get the tasks into Trello.  I hate typing things twice!  As the video shows in real-time, we solved the problem by instantly and automatically using Evernote to-dos to create Trello cards via email.  Each to-do in Evernote creates a separate card in Trello.

 

What If You Switch Devices Or Forget The Tasks Context?

Like Trello's Power Up, we don't want you to miss the context of the task, so each card we create contains a link back to the note in Evernote.  Now you never need worry that your notes contain tasks you don't see in Trello.  You can designate the board and list where cards will be created.  In fact, you can use Trello's special syntax to add a label to the card or add Trello members to the cards.

New clients always ask our Evernote integration with Trello: does it work on mobile, iOS, Windows, Mac, Android?  It works everywhere Evernote works, including the Apple Watch if you like.  TaskClone connects directly to your Evernote account so once you set it up, it works seamlessly in background every time you sync Evernote from any device.  It even works with Evernote Business.

Don't you love it when we get to use our favorite apps together?!

Evernote Integration With Trello Resources:


TaskClone Integrates Evernote todos with Wunderlist

TaskClone eliminates time wasted finding and transferring tasks from your Evernote notes to your Wunderlist and the pain of forgetting to-dos left behind in your notes.   Wunderlist is one of the favorite apps of TaskClone users so we decided to give them some video love.
[Update] New Wunderlist features make setup easier and our Evernote integration with Wunderlist more powerful.  See our new post - Evernote Integration with Wunderlist just got better.

In Love with Evernote

10 Productivity Tools take your Evernote relationship to the next level

After a brief courtship of basic note-taking, I discovered I'm in love with Evernote. When we first met, I thought she was a simple note-taking app, but after experiencing her many charms, I'm hooked.  Learn why we Evernote faithful  consider her our external brain giving us the ability to remember anything and access information anywhere. [pullquote align="right" background="on"]"Your mind is for having ideas, not holding them"[/pullquote]

Do you need an external brain? You bet! David Allen, father of Getting Things Done, remarked “Your mind is for having ideas, not holding them.”  Essentially, humans are much better at complex creativity than accurate recall.  Tools like Evernote free your mind from tedious recall to focus on more creative ideas.

Is Evernote enough?  To be an effective external brain, she must be able to capture everything, organize it and retrieve it efficiently.   Despite my love affair with Evernote,  I have found she needs a few "enhancements" to experience her full glory.  If you are looking to deepen your relationship with Evernote, these tools may be just the spark you need.

Evernote Web Clipper

Web ClipperBuilt by the Evernote team, The Web Clipper takes capture of online information to new heights.  It will grab webpages, PDFs, Gmail messages and more sending them directly to Evernote with notebook and tags of your choosing.  You can even "simplify" the webpage to remove unwanted ads like Pocket, or annotate the note with powers similar to Evernote's Skitch drawing app.  Platforms: Chrome, Firefox, Safari, Opera, Internet Explorer.  Cost: Free.

Powerbot for Gmail

Powerbot for GmailPowerbot integrates directly into Gmail and allows you to capture email messages, attachments or entire threads directly into Evernote.  You can also retrieve and insert Evernote notes directly into Gmail messages while in your browser.  Platforms: Chrome, Firefox, Safari.  Use Outlook for email instead?  They're working on it.  Cost: Free to $4/month.

ScanSnap Scanner

ScanSnap Scanner Evernote EditionAs much as I try, paper creeps into my world from time to time.  In the battle against clutter, I find a quality scanner is a must.  ScanSnap scanners are not the cheapest, but they gobble up virtually anything and send it straight to Evernote with ease. They detect the difference between docs, receipts, photos and business cards and will file them in your designated notebooks.  They even do double-sided scans and connect via wifi.  Platforms: Mac, Windows. Cost: The Evernote Edition is $500 and comes with a year of Evernote Premium.

Shoeboxed

Shoeboxed Scan to EvernoteNot interested in scanning documents yourself?  Shoeboxed will do it for you.  Just pack your docs, receipts, business cards, etc. into their signature blue envelope and 3-5 days later your information shows up in Evernote categorized in the right notebook.  Shoeboxed uses high accuracy scanning, OCR and human verification.  Special Evernote promotions at www.Evernote.Shoeboxed.comCost: Free to $100/month.

Google Drive

Google Drive Scans to EvernoteScanning at home is great, but what about in the field? While there are many scanner apps, a few taps in Drive's mobile app can quickly capture a photo of a document, set its margins, convert it to pdf and save it to your desired Drive location.  If that desired location is also an Evernote import folder, the PDF is automatically uploaded to the Evernote notebook of your choice and of course is searchable in Evernote and Drive.  You can keep the PDF in both locations or have it automatically deleted from Drive once it's uploaded to Evernote.  Platforms: Android and WIndows-only feature for now. Cost: Free.

IFTTT and Zapier

IFTTTZapierManually capturing information to Evernote is great, but doing it automatically is even better.  These two services help Evernote connect with over 250 online apps which is great for both capture and retrieval. For capture, automatically send Paypal receipts, Tweets, RSS feeds, Craigslist posts and much more to Evernote for later review.  Connect Google Calendar and automatically add your note-taking template to Evernote just before your meeting.

IFTTT

On the retrieval side, you can send Evernote Reminders to your favorite task app or Google Calendar. You can also create text files, wordpress posts, social posts, or simply alerts every time you create a note in a particular notebook.  Each service allows you to browse use cases or create your own.  Each takes about 5 minutes to set up and then runs in the background automatically.  Platforms: All. Cost: IFTTT is free.  Zapier has a free plan, but some apps require paid plans which start at $15/month.

Kustomnote

KustomNoteEventually, you'll find that you take many similar notes (e.g. meeting minutes).  Kustomnote allows you to add some structure and beauty by creating note templates with rich formatting and powerful form fields including data from Google Contacts and Google Calendar.  If you ever want to print your notes, they will be beautiful and easy to follow.  Platforms: Web, Android, iOS. Cost: Free to $4/month.

Redlaser

RedLaserOnce you start spending more time with Evernote, you'll learn one of her great benefits around the house is storing user manuals, instructions, wifi passwords, assembly diagrams and other information used to keep the household functioning.  Creating a QR or barcode for the note link makes for an easy way to go directly to the correct note.  Print and stick the QR code on any household items and you'll have related information at your fingertips.  For example, just point your smartphone camera at the QR code on the back of your TV remote and your channel guide note appears.  Platforms: iOS, Android, Windows Phone. Cost: Free.

TaskClone

TaskCloneIf you're like me, you started with Evernote to boost your productivity, but still keep a dedicated task app to manage daily tasks (e.g. Google Tasks, Asana).  Your notes may have checklists or todo items, but you must transfer them to your dedicated app or worse forget them entirely.  What Zapier does with individual notes, now TaskClone does for those lists and todos within your notes.  Just add a checkbox to an item in Evernote and TaskClone automatically extracts it and sends it to your favorite task app in seconds (40+ apps supported).  No more duplicate entry and no more forgetting.   You can also add items to Google Calendar, send to multiple task apps or convert the items to Tweets or Status Updates.  Platforms: All Cost: Free to $16/year.

http://youtu.be/KfCRpk4EnOU

 

What "enhancements" do you use to spice up your relationship with Evernote?  Let us know in the comments.

 

 

*Note: Some links on this page may be affiliate links

 

 

 

 

 

 

 


Juggling Multiple Task Apps

Send Evernote todos to multiple task apps with TaskClone

TaskClone is great for sending Evernote todos to your favorite task app.  But, what if you have more than one task app (e.g. OmniFocus for work and Trello for home)?  What if you have one task app like Asana with different individual projects within the app each with its own inbox?  You're in luck, TaskClone's new features make it easy; almost fun to send Evernote todos to multiple task apps.

To summarize the process in the tutorial below:

  1. Setup each task app / destination with a different Evernote tag;
  2. Add tasks to your notes as normal;
  3. Add the tag corresponding to where you want to send the tasks; and
  4. Enjoy the magic!

 

 

[This post is updated to incorporate new features first announced in January 2015].

 

 


10 Best Task Apps with Evernote Integration

The Struggle for a great Evernote Integration

TaskClone users are about productivity.  Many use Evernote at the core of their workflow, but struggle to find a task app with great Evernote integration.  And, while TaskClone provides a unique connection via Evernote checkboxes, many of the apps have other Evernote integrations that also add value worth consideration.  Due to our years in the field, we frequently get requests to make recommendations of the "perfect" app for clients.  We immediately respond requesting these further details:

  • How do you use Evernote now?
  • What other apps do you use for email, calendar, collaboration?
  • What ecosystem is at the core of your system (e.g. Window, Mac, iOS)?

With these and a few other questions answered,we can make a meaningful recommendation.

10 Best Task Apps with Evernote Integration

The infographic below compares the online task apps with the best Evernote integration.   Of course, task apps are constantly evolving, so you should also check out our updated article with more apps, new information and a summary of the different types of Evernote integration that task apps use.

[See Updated Article]

 

10 Best Task Apps with Evernote Integration (Small)

In addition to the infographic, we provide links to the specific pages that detail each integration.

  1. Azendoo
  2. Facilethings
  3. GetItDone
  4. Gneo
  5. IQTELL
  6. Nozbe
  7. Podio
  8. Remember the Milk
  9. Salesforce
  10. WorkEtc

UPDATE: Beyond the 10 Best Task Apps

After this article was initially published, we heard from several about which apps we had "left out."  As you can see from the infographic, no app does everything.  For example, none of these apps have an Evernote integration that sends individual tasks with Evernote checkboxes to the task app as new tasks in the app.  TaskClone does this and more.

Be sure to check out our updated post on How to Integrate Evernote With Your Favorite Task App for a great Infographic that shows the different types of Evernote integration and how each fits a particular need.  We cover the native integrations of the task apps and services like TaskClone that fill in the gaps.

Finally, your first step should always be to assess your own workflow and then identify the tools that enhance it.

 


Using TaskClone effectively just got easier

At TaskClone, our users are a huge source of inspiration. We learn new ways to use or improve TaskClone from you all the time. The User Tips series lets us highlight tips and best practices learned from our users that could benefit the entire TaskClone Community.

Today’s tip comes from user Heath. Thanks Heath!

Challenge

When editing your notes, both you and TaskClone may be trying to modify them at the same time resulting in conflicts.  TaskClone is making modifications by adding a Skip Code to the tasks it clones and you are simultaneously making your own edits.  Not knowing when Evernote's auto-save will occur can add to this challenge.

Solution

This solution is so simple and easy to implement we made a video to share with everyone.

Step 1. Select an Evernote tag during TaskClone setup.

This will be the tag you use for all notes you want processed by TaskClone. You can always create a new tag in Evernote if you do not have an existing one you want to use.

 

Step 2. Take notes normally (use checkboxes for tasks and events).

Nothing new here, just a reminder.

 

Step 3. When finished, add the tag, then sync.

The key here is to add the tag only after you are finished editing the note. TaskClone will ignore the note until you add this tag and then only process it once when you sync. I told you it was simple and easy.

 

What if I want to edit the note later?

No problem. Delete the tag before you make modifications. Add it back when you’re done, then sync.  Note, you must sync at least 2 minutes after your previous sync for this to work.

 

Learn More

We have written an entire support article on Avoiding Note Conflicts.