TaskClone harvests the tasks and calendar events from your digital notes. It automatically puts them in your digital task manager and calendar. It’s magic!

Let’s start with the principle and move to the tool. Our lives involve taking notes:

  • During a phone call
  • During meetings
  • During one-on-one conference
  • During workshop sessions
  • While reading book

The notetaking tool could be paper. The notetaking tool could be digital. The concept is the same.

In either case, new to-dos are likely to arise. New calendar events may be created.

The principle is simple

Write the to-dos and appointments in the notes. Do not flip back and forth in a paper tool to add something to a calendar or to-do list. You’re introducing drag on your system. You’re trying to do too many things at once. You’re introducing time pressure. Think about it: You’re trying to put these things in the right place, word them correctly and completely, and also pay attention in the meeting. And, you introduce a good chance for error.

So what do you do instead?

Put those to-dos and calendar events in the body of the notes, put a little checkbox in front of those items, and go on. You can be fully present in the meeting knowing that you have trapped these items in your notes.

Immediately after that event, you might go straight into another one. Some days are like that. It’s OK. You can be fully present there as well and not worry about your notes.

The key is this…

Later in the day, when the dust settles, review all the notes you took. Clean up anything fuzzy. Look at the to-dos and appointments you wrote. Are there others that you want to add?

Next, enter those tasks on the task list and appointments on the calendar. But, another good notetaking includes another important point. You need to maintain a connection between the tasks or calendar events and the notes where they originated. Having the notes adds context. The paper planner world offered an easy way to handle this principle. In parentheses, add the date you took the notes. When it comes time to do the task or attend the event, you have an instant link to the notes.

Here’s the digital parallel…with TaskClone

Now that you have the principle, let’s look at the tool. What we discuss here is applicable if:

  • You use Evernote, OneNote, or Notion to take your digital note

and

  • You use a digital task manager and/or a digital calendar

I use TaskClone to make my notes actionable. TaskClone finds and copies all tasks within the note. It pastes the tasks into my digital task list. TaskClone also looks for calendar events and places them on my calendar.

To illustrate, let’s look at four scenarios:

  • How I handle tasks for myself
  • Tasks I want to delegate to a team member,
  • Events I want to put on my main calendar
  • Events I want to put on any other calendar I may have

You will see how to enter them all without ever leaving the notes.

During the meeting, I promise Bob a phone call to give him an update on a project.

Here’s what goes in the notes as soon as the thought occurs:

My task manager is Remember The Milk. That software gives me some special commands that assign dates and other attributes.

Assume the phone call will happen on the morning of May 7th. Put the following information into the notes:

Let’s break it down…

The caret symbol in Remember The Milk indicates the due date. So ^5/7 is going to assign this task a date of May 7th. The exclamation point shows the priority level. In my system, I use priority to assign what part of the day to do the task.

  • Priority 1 is my “Fab 5,” the 5 most important tasks for the day.
  • Priority 2 is for tasks I want to see in the morning.
  • Priority 3 is for tasks for the afternoon
  • No Priority is for tasks for the evening.

So, the !2 indicates I want to make this call in the morning.

The hashtag gives the task a tag. In this case, it is a phone call.

My “Today” list automatically shows tasks due today or overdue. Furthermore, it sorts the tasks by priority. Within each priority, the tasks are sorted by tag.

That arrangement puts, for example, all the phone calls for the morning together. Batching tasks allows for quicker completion.

Tasks often require a bit of information to have at hand. The two slashes indicate information that will go in the note section of the task. Whatever appears after the slashes automatically populates that note section.

Let’s go over to Remember The Milk and see how it looks

The task appears. The due date appears to the right in light gray.

The dark blue vertical line to the left is the priority.

  • Red is Priority 1
  • Dark blue is Priority 2
  • Light blue is Priority 3
  • Gray is No Priority.

The task has a tag of phone. The three horizontal lines to the right show the task has a note attached.

Let’s click the task for more detail.

A pane opens. The attached note is now visible. But look at what you see in another attached note: two links. Either one links back to the original note in Evernote. This concept works the same for OneNote or Notion. One link opens the note in Evernote Web, and the other opens the note in Evernote’s desktop version.

The principle is the same as what I used with my paper planner decades ago. The digital system, with the help of TaskClone, automates the process.

Now let’s go back to our meeting notes.

Meeting notes often contain dates for future calendar events. TaskCloneI handles them much the same way.

Put a checkbox followed by the title of the appointment. Put the date in the format: MM-DD-YYYY and the starting time of the appointment.

Question…How will TaskClone know this is an appointment for the calendar rather than a task for the task list? After all, both start with the checkbox. The answer is the addition of a “designation.” More on that later.

At the end of the appointment, add the pipe symbol, a greater than sign, and the designation chosen for calendar items. I use the letters “gc” because it makes me think of “Google Calendar.”

Let’s add a third item. I have more than one calendar in my Google Calendar. I have my main calendar showing where I need to be. I have another one called “FYI.” That calendar holds events I am not attending but want to know they exist. For example, during the meeting, I learn there will be a parade next week. That parade will impact traffic in my area. That event is a good candidate for the FYI calendar so I can plan.

Let’s look at one more example.

I want to delegate a task to someone else. Maybe they use Evernote; maybe they don’t. Maybe they use Remember The Milk; maybe they don’t. It doesn’t matter, as long as they use a task manager that will allow me to email into it. More on that shortly.

Compose the task exactly as it should appear on the team member’s task list. In this example, the task will appear for the team member on Friday. The priority of high priority puts it at the top of the list.

The question is this: What will cause the task to appear on the other person’s task list rather than mine? The answer is “designations”

In this case, the designation is rtmc. It makes me think “Remember The Milk” and the name of my team member whose name begins with a “C.”

You can assign tasks to as many team members as you wish. Simply create a one-time connection for each team member.

A simple shortcut

A checkbox precedes every task and calendar appointment. You have an easy keyboard shortcut to create them.

Hit the left bracket, right bracket, and a space. When you hit the space, the typed brackets form the box.

So how would you set things up in TaskClone to make it do what you have seen here?

Start by creating an account at TaskClone.com.

You’ll need to add “connections.” After clicking the the “Add connections” button in the upper right, you’ll be prompted to choose which notes app you use. You’ll also add permissions for TaskClone to access it.

As you work across the menu items, you’ll be prompted to tell TaskClone which digital task manager you use and grant permissions. If your digital task manager has an email forwarding address, you’ll be prompted for that.

Here is a helpful support page” support.taskclone.com Choose “Initial Setup” and read through the articles.

In my TaskClone, I created four connections. You saw a scenario for each of the four.

Here is what my connections screen looks like:

Of the four, the “RTM” connection was the only one that did not require a “designation” at the end. If you were to click the “See details” link for it, here is what you would see:

If you clicked the “See details” link for any of the other three, here is what you would see:

I hope these diagrams help you as you set up your own connections and designations. This one-time setup takes just a few minutes.

As a special bonus, I recorded with a video with Troy Christmas, founder of TaskClone. You can watch that interview here.

The tool is great. The principle is even better.

Be kind to yourself. When you take notes, put it all in the notes. Reference information, tasks, and calendar dates go in the same place. Mark your to-dos and calendar events with a box. Let TaskClone handle the automation. You have a connection between your task list and your notes. Your notes, task list, and calendar now talk to each other. It’s that easy.


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