If you are tech nerd like I am you’re probably pretty familiar with both Evernote and Nozbe, or have the least heard of them. For the last few years I have been using Evernote as my “digital brain” and the results have been great. This past year I have added in Nozbe and it has helped me to become even more productive. Used together, I believe these are the two best tools on the market to help you maximize your productivity and effectiveness in both your personal and business life.
I began using Evernote back in 2011 as a way to capture notes and sync them across my devices. As a Mac fanatic I loved that Evernote created a native app that worked on my computer as well as my iPad and iPhone. Originally I was only using it as a way to take notes on books I was reading but quickly began using it for note taking in every area of my life.
As someone who tries to use technology for everything available, I understand that there is a time to use technology and a time when using paper and a pen may be needed. The great thing about Evernote is that it allows you to maximize the effectiveness of both.
A few years back I read the book Getting Things Done by David Allen and was immediately struck by how important it is to have a system to manage your tasks. After trying out a number of different apps and systems available on the market I came across Nozbe in 2014 and I have been using it ever since.
Nozbe allows me to manage my time, and be more productive by helping me prioritize tasks and assign them to projects with deadlines. Not all tasks have the same level of importance and Nozbe allows me to sort them by importance, within each project, so that I can get things done in the order that I need to.
The ability in Nozbe to create contexts for the tasks has also been a huge help. For example: by assigning a task a context such as “phone” I can always find a task to complete when I have free time and have my phone with me.
These two tools are both amazing in their rights, but when used together they can really help you to achieve your goals.
Here are the basics of how to use each system, and what I consider to be the most useful aspects of each:
- Create notebooks
- This allows you to keep notes that belong together in one place. Currently Evernote allows you to have up to 250 notebooks in your account.
- Create an “Inbox” notebook. Make this the default notebook that notes are created in. After you have had a chance to examine a note you have written you can move it to a more specific notebook.
- I currently only have 2 notebooks (Inbox and Cabinet). Once I am finished with a note, or have had a chance to examine what it is related to I move it to the “Cabinet” notebook and use Tags to sort my notes (see below)
- Tag your notes
- All notes should have a tag. Tags allow you to quickly sort and search your notes.
- Since you can have multiple tags per note it allows you to use one note that applies to two separate goals or projects and see the note when you search for either.
- For example: If you have a note about your finances, you may want to be able to access that note in your 2015 Goals & your Personal Documents projects.
- Each note can only be in one folder, but it can have multiple tags. Placing it in the Cabinet folder and tagging it appropriately allows you to organize a bit better.
- Evernote allows you to have unlimited tags.
- Set reminders
- I think this is one of the best features of Evernote. Not all notes need to be used right away. Evernote allows you to set a reminder that will notify you on a future date & at a specific time so that you can reference the note when it is needed.
- Nozbe can sync with Evernote to automatically pull in the reminder and set it as a task for you to complete.
- Search your notes
- The ability to search your notes is one of my favorite things about Evernote. It makes finding a note, or finding something within a note unbelievably easy. No more flipping through pages and pages of notes to find the one thing you need.
- Evernote also allows you to scan in hand-written notes. It even makes these notes searchable. (This is a premium feature. Evernote is free but to go Premium it will cost you $4.99 per month or $44.99 per year)
- Create projects
- A project is anything that takes more than 1 task to complete
- You can assign projects a label. Ex: All my work projects are labeled “business” so that I can sort by that label to only show me business projects.
- You can also color code projects to make them easy to sort just by looking for a specific color.
- When entering a new project try to break it down into tasks that are “next actions”
- For example: Rather than creating a “get an oil change” task you would create a project called “oil change.” Then you would list out the “next actions” required to get an oil change such as, “lookup phone number to auto shop,” “call and schedule oil change,” and “take car in to get the oil changed.”
- Creating a list of “next action” tasks allows you to build momentum by checking off tasks as you complete them.
- Create a custom list of contexts
- Ex: Create labels such as phone, online, office, appointments, email, etc.
- Sorting by context allows you to see what tasks can be done based on your current location. If you are at the office, sort by tasks that have to be done in the office, etc.
- Share Projects
- Nozbe allows you to share projects with other Nozbe users so that you can assign them tasks to complete.
- This can be very helpful with group projects as it allows you to see when tasks are completed, and what tasks are still outstanding.
- I even use this with my family for simple things like groceries. It allows everyone to add items to the list and check them off once they have been purchased. The ways that this feature comes in handy are unlimited.
These tools are well worth the price that you will pay for them. Currently Evernote is free, unless you choose to upgrade to the Premium edition ($4.99 per month/$44.99 per year) and Nozbe is $8 per month for the first 2 people on your account, and $4 per month for each additional person ($10 and $5 respectively if you choose to be billed monthly rather than yearly).
The key to using these tools to maximize your productivity is to make using them a habit. They need to become your “digital brain” so that you know where everything is. Use them everyday and for everything. Since they sync across devices they will keep you up to date at all times.
We all have many more tasks than we think we do. Getting them recorded in Nozbe will allow you achieve more than you have ever achieved before. As the old saying goes “that which gets measured gets managed.” Seeing your projects and tasks everyday allows you to focus on what is most important at the moment, without worrying that you will forget about something that you still need to complete.
*Disclaimer: I am a Nozbe affiliate and may receive compensation if you sign up through my link. However I only recommend tools and services that I believe in and personally use.