Experiment results
HD System 3?

Problems with HD System 3 and Two Alternative Evernote/GTD Setups

After weeks of experimentation with HD System 3 for Evernote/GTD I’ve decided to move on. Here are a few reasons why:

  1. Stacks. These are not available on the iPhone.
  2. Too much commitment. The hold-your-hand approach worked extremely well, but failed the does-it-work-when-I’m-ill test. Too much to think about.
  3. Hard to learn. If you already know GTD, then HD3 might be beneficial. If not, I fully expect a “say whaaaaaat?”
  4. Routines. While I’ve been very successful at pushing beyond GTD with Evernote, many of these extensions and experiments needed to be more a part of my calendar, less within my Evernote setup. I’ll try to elaborate on this in the future.

Now my experiments have led me back to a note-equals-list approach with a renewed use of tags, something I know will work on all phones.

Additionally I’m focusing on setups that are reproducible and exportable; in other words, could this setup work also as desktop text files/folders or as paper?

Alternative Evernote/GTD Setup #1

This setup uses very few notebooks, one note per project (excluding references), and one note per context. Tags are used a little bit for sorting.


  • !nbox
  • 00. Today
    • @@today. Must be done today (not very GTD)
    • @agendas. Listed by name of person
    • @calls
    • @computer. Sometimes divided into searches, social networks, or whatever (e.g. @computer-search)
    • @errands
    • @home
    • @office
    • @waiting for… List by name of person
  • 01. Projects
  • 02. Someday/Maybe
  • 03. References
  • Lists


  • *Areas
    • Personal
    • Work
  • Lists
    • Checklists
    • Copy and Paste
    • Ideas
    • Shortcuts
  • Projects. Subtags for client names or other filters
  • References. Many subtags

Alternative Evernote/GTD Setup #2

This structure is mostly based on a screenshot posted to GTD Times by Kelly Forrister of DavidCo. Straightforward and simple, this setup is the focus of my latest experimentation.

Unlike #1, alternative setup #2 uses one note per task which is nice because it makes it easy to collect and process. However it requires many more notebooks, most specific to a context. Tags come in handy here for filtering.


  • !nbox
  • 00. Today
  • 01. Projects – Personal
  • 02. Projects – Work
  • Agendas
  • Anywhere
  • Calls
  • Computer – Personal
  • Computer – Work
  • Errands
  • Goals
  • Home
  • Library
  • Lists
  • Office
  • Read/Review
  • Reference
  • Routines. Checklists I run through at specific times and days. Many are daily and weekly, but some are more specific like “Monthly – 01″ for things I always do on the first of the  month.
  • Someday – Personal
  • Someday – Work
  • Study
  • Waiting for…
  • When… Love this. Lists of actions for when I’m next in particular cities or circumstances. E.g. After I have iPhone


  • *Areas
    • Personal
    • Work
  • Anywhere
    • Brainstorming
    • Decide
  • Computer
    • Calendar
    • Online
    • Search
    • Shopping
  • Lists
    • Checklists
    • Copy and paste
    • Ideas
  • People. Subtags are names of people.
  • Reference. Subtags are numerous but include GTD, UX, CSS, etc.
  • Routines
    • Daily
    • Monthly
    • Weekly
    • Yearly


I do apologize for the extensive bullet points; I’m sure screenshots would have been more concise, but my experiments have kept my setup too much in flux recently. However with the start of a new job in a new city, I’ll need to be sticking with the tried-and-true for a while so perhaps an update with screenshots won’t be too far away.

I’m anxious to hear your feedback.

Related Posts:


2 Responses to “Problems with HD System 3 and Two Alternative Evernote/GTD Setups”

  1. 1
    December 6, 2011 at 10:43 pm

    [...] Problems with HD System 3 and Two Alternative Evernote/GTD Setups [...]

  2. 2
    April 9, 2013 at 8:29 pm

    I have learn several good stuff here. Certainly value bookmarking for revisiting. I wonder how a lot attempt you put to make this kind of fantastic informative web site.

Leave a Reply