In the last post, we examined the challenges involved with notes from meetings and phone calls. Follow-up is needed to ensure the to-dos and future appointments you trap in your notes are extracted and entered on your to-do list and calendar. We also examined the importance of linking the to-dos and future appointments to the original notes. Those challenges exist regardless of whether notes are paper-based or digital, and regardless of whether the to-so list and calendar are paper-based or digital.
Mobile devices are becoming ubiquitous in today’s world of work. Free services allow devices to sync with each other to make digital creation and digital retrieval from everywhere easy. One question I get with increasing frequency involves best practice for taking notes digitally.
I am experimenting with a service called TaskClone. The service is designed for people who want to take notes in Evernote and also use a digital to-do list. Creating an account takes only a few minutes.
In practice, you would take notes in Evernote. Evernote automatically date-and-time stamps the notes. Give the note a name and take your notes. Some of what you enter will actually be be “to-do” items which need to be performed. You will need to enter these items on your to-do list. Failure to do so will result in responsibilities falling through the cracks because they are hidden within notes, but never make their way to the to-do list.
Each time you find yourself entering something that is not just a piece of information, but is a to-do, precede the item with a check box. Below is a sample of how a note would look in Evernote.
|Example of taking notes in Evernote|
But, there are some “to-dos” which come out of this meeting. I insert a check box before the to-do item. When I tag the note with a specific tag I have designated in my TaskClone settings, look what shows up instantly in Toodledo:
|How the task looks when sent from TaskClone to Toodledo|
If I open the note section of this task, I see the link to the original note in Evernote.
|Link to the original meeting notes in Evernote|
TaskClone removes the need to review the notes to dissect to-dos. The service automatically sends to your digital to-do list any item marked with a check box and tagged with your designated tag. TaskClone supports a variety of to-do lists, including my favorite, Toodledo. The task shows up, worded exactly as in Evernote. In the note section of the task is a link to the original Evernote entry. Therefore, when it’s time to do the task, you are one click away from the notes which led to the creation of that task.
Another feature of TaskClone is the ability to take an appointment entered in your notes and enter it on your Google Calendar. You use the check box, just as you did with tasks, but add Sch, a colon, and a space. That combination causes TaskClone to send whatever follows to your Google Calendar rather than your to-do list. Entering “Sch: Executive Team Meeting 12/3 3p at Jim’s office” will result in an appointment on the Google Calendar called “Executive Team Meeting” scheduled for December 3 at 3:00 p.m. “Jim’s office” will appear in the location field. Adding email addresses of invitees will trigger Gmail to send invitations to the meeting. A link to the notes taken in Evernote will appear in the “description” field.
TaskClone offers a free trial. After the trial, the service is extremely reasonable, roughly $15 per year. For those whose jobs involve phone calls and meetings where documentation is important and where dissecting the to-dos from those notes is essential, TaskClone looks like a winner.
Is anyone using TaskClone already? What are your impressions? If you create an account after reading this post, please come back and leave your thoughts about your experiences.