Giving Up On Evernote For Task Management

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I just finished my major trial run of Evernote as a task manager. The service is really great, but I learned that there are downsides to having all of your notes and tasks in the same place. Evernote doesn’t make it easy to filter tasks by date, and I found it cumbersome to re-schedule tasks once I’d set the dates. The biggest takeaway, however, was that I don’t tend to choose the same kinds of titles for notes as I do for tasks. That’s because Evernote doesn’t actually create tasks in the same way as other apps (like the iOS Reminders app). Reminders in Evernote are simply notes that have reminders grafted onto them.

I might name a task “get signoff for iPad Insight budget”, whereas a note title would simply be “iPad Insight Budget”. I was finding that a lot of my finished tasks were still useful as notes, but it was a bit of a pain to remember to re-name them once I was finished acting on them.

Evernote was fantastic for allowing me to have sub-tasks and files right within the task, but moving away from the service for task management won’t mean I’ll lose those advantages. Instead, I actually think of Evernote in much the same way as the company is marketing itself: as a workspace. It’s where I go for adding quick job notes, referencing files on-the-go, and it’s a remarkably reliable archive for pulling up invoices when my boss is asking me how much we’ve spent in the past month.

As for tasks, I’ve headed back to dedicated task managers. I’m currently deciding between Wunderlist and 2Do. I’d prefer to use 2Do, but it’s missing a PC client, and its option for manual-only syncing with Toodledo is a bit too limiting. Wunderlist has a lead simply because of its cross-platform support, but I’m also really impressed with the level of polish in the app. I’ve tested every major version of Wunderlist, and Wunderlist 3 is really something else. It’s got great animations, sub-tasks, comments, and even Dropbox integration (although this doesn’t feel fully baked in iOS yet).

One thing that’s common to both 2Do and Wunderlist is that they’re both genuinely fun to interact with. Evernote always lacked that spark in its approach to task management. It was a definitely efficient, but it wasn’t nearly as satisfying to tick off the boxes.


Thomas

My name is probably Thomas (yes, it is). I'll be able to help you figure out why Evernote isn't syncing, or recommend your favourite new RSS reader to you. That's partly because I am enamoured with the iOS ecosystem and hardware, but mostly because I'm Canadian.

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9 thoughts on “Giving Up On Evernote For Task Management”

  1. Try Clear. I’ve been using it for a little while… something satisfying about the sliding & popping sound as you knock off a task.

    1. I really like Clear, but it’s not quite deep enough across the iPhone and iPad for me. It’s impossible to move tasks on the iPhone, and neither version has task notes (which I use extensively)

  2. You could have made a new note for each reminder with a task name and a link to the referring note.

    And try Sunrise so you can see the Evernote reminders in a calendar view.

    1. Hi Roy, I’ve actually tried both:

      New notes with simply titles as the task, and I’d delete these afterwards. Copying the link to the note on the iPad doesn’t seem possible at this time, so that wasn’t a viable solution for me.

      I tried Sunrise out for a few days, but didn’t like its experience either, although I forget why at this point. I think it showed reminders, but didn’t show the contents of the actual Evernote note, so the information felt too disparate.

  3. I also tried and gave up on Evernote as a task manager a while ago. Although I’ve been using Evernote for years and I have all my “notes” in it, when it comes to task management, it’s not as satisfiying as dedicated task management tools. Currently I’m between Wunderlist and Apple’s Reminders and seems like I’ll end up with Wunderlist.

  4. I’m a HUGE user of Evernote and couldn’t agree more with you. Evernote is difficult to use for Task Management / GTD. However, it does for very well in the tool belt.

    Have you looked at Doit.im for task management? I was an OmniFocus user for years but OmniFocus is only for the Mac and I bounce between using Windows and the Mac, OmniFocus just wasn’t fitting into my workflow.

    Regardless, be sure to try TaskClone. With TaskClone you can creates task items within Evernote, say action items from a meeting, and TaskClone will add them to your ToDo List software. Provided that tne ToDo List software supports adding tasks via email.

    1. Hi James, thanks for the recommendation! I didn’t even know about TaskClone.
      I’m actually trying OmniFocus 2 out right now, and I’m working around the lack of a PC app by using MailDrop.

    2. Thanks for the mention of TaskClone. We connect Evernote to all the task apps mentioned here with the possible exception of clear (i.e. 2Do, Toodledo, Wunderlist, iOS Reminders, Omnifocus, Doit.im). We had the same issue with having to type twice to get tasks from Evernote to our dedicated task manager.

      We also do support apps that don’t support email. The setup requires a few more steps, but once set up, it just works in the background as you work in Evernote.

      Hopefully, this solution helps some be more productive and efficient – that’s the goal.

  5. Thank you for writing why you are giving up on Evernote for tasks. I love Evernote for a million reasons and when I read about your attempt to use it for tasks, I thought I’d give it a try as well. It just wasn’t happening for me either. I create lots of little reminders for myself driving into work each day with the help of Siri and iOS reminders but I admit I love seeing SmartDay sitting on the side of my computer screen with all my projects and tasks filling up my calendar in a rainbow of colors…I might have to go back and give Wunderlist another try, too. I’m still searching for that perfect marriage of calendar, tasks, reminders, projects…

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