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[Updated] How I’m Pushing Beyond Unimaginative Evernote GTD Setups with HD System 3

Update: More screenshots have been added as a gallery at the end of the post.
Inspiration has struck once again. Took boredom, dissatisfaction, and a little betrayal, but I found it.

I found it by thinking about how all the GTD setups I’ve seen and created didn’t really help me do much of anything. They were unimaginative, lifeless, boring, and quite often facsimiles of GTD apps. Beyond the cyclical urge to fresh things up, where was the motivation?

So I was inspired to create a better way, an approach within the ever customizable Evernote ecosystem that would coach and inspire every step of the way. Hanami Design System 3 has the promise to be that system.

Some basic GTD stuff

Since many people who visit my website are interested in Evernote GTD setups, here are a few highlights:

An interactive daily review

The new Daily Review stack is arranged to be interactive, not passive. You actively move through the notebooks, one by one, in order, moving notes/projects in and out based on the action required at that step.

Tools such as checklists and filters are kept within the appropriate notebooks. Scan Ticklers holds my tickler notes; Filter Projects gives helps me determine whether a project is worth doing now or even keeping.

  • Clear emails. Deal with emails and send what’s needed to Evernote.
  • Clear notes. Create new notes from what I’ve been jotting down on paper. Drag actions to the appropriate context notebook (under Next Actions), create new projects, etc.
  • Scan ticklers.
  • Review calendar. Last week, this week. Create actions (new notes) and drag them to the appropriate context notebook.
  • Filter projects. Drag all active projects here and filter them. Move the first to the next notebook.
  • Create next actions. Review projects and create next actions (by creating new notes). Move notes to the appropriate context notebook. Move project to Schedule today (next notebook).
  • Schedule today. Block out time for the project on my calendar (if possible). Move project note back to Active (under Projects). Go back to filter projects until all have been reviewed.

This arrangement forces me to do something at every step. I sort, I filter, I review, and I’m less likely to skip. Next actions are created within each notebook and quickly dragged to where they’ll be attended to next.

Two Minutes

If I spot something in my inbox (or anywhere) that can be done in two minutes or less, I drag it into the Two Minutes notebook and then do that something immediately.

Since a GTD enthusiast already knows he/she should be doing two-minute items right away anyway, this might seem superfluous, but the reminder and the satisfaction of seeing a two-minute item killed instantly has made this notebook worthwhile for me.

Beyond GTD

As mentioned at the start, my playground wasn’t limited to just David Allen’s Getting Things Done. From the Five S’s, I’ve taken steps to put tools (such as checklists) where they’re most needed. From Scrum, I’ve begun putting active projects I can’t yet schedule into the Backlog. Someday/Maybe items are in the Icebox.

Methodologies and concepts such as Lean/Six Sigma; Muri, Muda, and Mura; and kaizen (among others) are also influencing Hanami System 3, but their contributions are outside the scope of this post.

In development

Obviously I’ve not covered everything this system does and unfortunately further updates will have to wait for me to return from a two week break from writing. Rest assured that I’ve very far along with fresh ideas on how Evernote can be leveraged for a task and life management system and I’ll be anxious to get your feedback.

Take action and take care.

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11 Responses to “[Updated] How I’m Pushing Beyond Unimaginative Evernote GTD Setups with HD System 3”

  1. 1
    October 21, 2011 at 3:59 pm

    [...] How I’m Pushing Beyond Unimaginative Evernote GTD Setups with HD System 3 [...]

  2. 2
    Scott | Reply
    November 2, 2011 at 8:27 am

    Can’t wait for more details on your new system!

    • 2.1
      Weszt | Reply
      November 2, 2011 at 9:42 am

      Thanks Scott!

      Got all kinds of experiments in the works, a few nearly ready for prime time.

      I’d appreciate any thoughts you could share so far…

      • 2.1.1
        Scott |
        November 12, 2011 at 7:35 am

        Really anxious for your next post! I’m wanting to get started, but assuming I shouldn’t look at your older GTD/Evernote systems as it seems they are made obsolete by this new system…yes?


      • Weszt |
        November 12, 2011 at 8:28 am

        Thanks, Scott! Might take me a little while as I’m moving to a new home/state this week.

        I wouldn’t say that this system is the final or my ultimate. What I enjoy is finding new ways to use Evernote for GTD but there will never be a perfect way. I encourage you and everyone to take use what makes the most sense to you, what works the best and is easiest to maintain.

        I’ve already found that the notebook/stack approach is flawed if you want to use it on the iPhone. I’m already revamping the system to solve this.

        If anything, I hope to prove that Evernote is useful for GTD because you can make it anyway you want and that there is no single way.

      • 2.1.2
        Scott |
        November 15, 2011 at 8:35 am

        Thanks for the reply! I just got an iphone, so very interested to see ur notebook/stack alternative.

        Good luck with the move :)

  3. 3
    November 2, 2011 at 4:05 pm

    I’d love to see what the Weekly Review Notebook series looks like. Is it a copy of the Daily Review, but more thorough?

    • 3.1
      Weszt | Reply
      November 8, 2011 at 10:55 am

      Definitely more thorough, comprehensive. I’m working now to solve problems such as interruptions and over organizing. I’ve found it’s very easy to make a weekly review a 3+ hour event and that’s a lot of time!

    • 3.2
      Weszt | Reply
      November 10, 2011 at 10:38 am

      The experimental version was very much like the Daily Review and more comprehensive.

      However after suffering with a major cold, I came to realize that as interesting as the system was, it was too much labor to maintain. Now I’m stripping things down.

      Also I will soon be switching back to iPhone (from Android) which doesn’t support stacks so a non-stack system became necessary.

  4. 4
    January 15, 2012 at 2:50 am

    In GTD if you can do a thing in less of 2 minutes, do it!
    Why create a note and tag it 3- Tow minutes ?

    • 4.1
      Weszt | Reply
      January 15, 2012 at 8:48 am

      Excellent point!

      This was created to help solve a work/personal life dilemma. Sometimes I knew of 2 minute tasks but wasn’t in the context, yet :)

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