Emailed, managing tasks with Evernote

Email has and always will be central to how I get personal & work “stuff” done. No matter how many task applications, browser extensions and web services I experiment with, my email inbox consistently stands out as the single repository where all tasks begin their [often long-winded] lifecycle. Maintaining a manageable inbox is an uphill battle and I am only now leveraging a convenient little productivity helper – the Gmail + Evernote duo.

Gmail. The holy grail of email (privacy pundits and non-Google’rs will argue against). Regardless, I love Gmail. It’s fast (usually), free (debatable when you think of the cost of “free”) and convenient thanks to archive and [awesome] search. Anything and everything gets dumped into Gmail – receipts, links, notes, photos, bug reports, assigned tasks, feature requests, shopping list items, travel itineraries… See, a whole mix of personal & non-personal.

Fortunately, I realized Evernote could help separate the essentials from the email overflow. Here’s how:

  1. Create a free Evernote account. The free account is plenty to get started with. I went Premium a few years ago for the added features when I embarked on a personal mission to go all digital.
  2. Log in online then navigate Settings > Account Summary. Towards the bottom of the screen you will find a unique Evernote email address e.g. unique.92sd@m.evernote.com (not real). Add this address to your Address Book.
  3. Download the Evernote desktop client.
  4. Next time you receive an email which contains actionable tasks, forward the message to your unique Evernote address.
  5. Within Evernote, delete the unnecessary stuff from the forwarded message leaving only tasks. Add a checkbox next to each line item.
  6. Check off tasks as you complete them.

Your new email to Evernote to actionable tasks list will look like this:

Forwarding emails off to Evernote to be sorted and filed may seem like an extra unnecessary step, but the workflow seems to work for me. At least for the time being. How do you manage tasks that find their way into your email inbox?

By the way, if you’re using Gmail on a Mac, check out Sparrow or Sparrow Lite as a replacement to Apple Mail.

Discuss - 4 Comments

  1. yosh says:

    I used to create to-do’s from email massages in Apple Mail application. It worked great, because I receive most of my work tasks by mail and this way I could see all the text and images that where related to the task.
    But this feature broke with one of the software updates and Apple never fixed it (Blank to-do’s are created now).
    So I’ve been searching for a new method ever since…

  2. Dan says:

    I would recommend checking out http://www.Gtdagenda.com for an online GTD manager.

    You can use it to manage your goals, projects and tasks, set next actions and contexts, use checklists, schedules and a calendar.
    Syncs with Evernote, and also comes with mobile-web version, and Android and iPhone apps.

  3. T says:

    I just add them to Tasks in Gmail.

  4. Don says:

    Old thread, I know …
    I use GQueues. It does all the things you mentioned, with the added benefits of syncing with google calendar, creating multiple queues, tags, time/dates, recurring tasks and more. It can be used as a simple tasks lists, as well as for more advanced project management. I have spent many hours researching the options, and so far I’m most impressed with GQueues. (No, I’m not affiliated with GQueues in any way! Just a happy user.)