Now that we’ve built the framework of our GTD system with notebooks and tags, it’s time to make some lists. To make lists, we’ll be using Evernote’s ‘Saved Search’ feature. Saved searches are awesome. I like to think of them as folders 2.0. They allow you to group notes with similar characteristics, and a single note can appear in more than one saved search. Saved searches are easily accessible on your mobile devices, making it easy to view your lists on the go.
To create a saved search, search Evernote using keywords, notebooks, and tags, then right-click ‘Saved Searches’ and select ‘Create Saved Search…’. Enter a name for your saved search and click ‘OK’. You can also enter the saved search query manually.
In order to stay organized, you’ll want to create the following lists:
- A ‘Projects’ list
- ‘Next Actions’ lists (including context and read/review lists)
- A ‘Waiting For’ list
- A ‘Someday/Maybe’ list
These lists are the minimum requirements. You can create additional lists if you’d like.
The ‘Projects’ list
is simply a replica of the ‘*Projects List’ Notebook. The saved search query should look like this: tag:”*Project” (Note – you’ll have to create the ‘*Project’ tag first). Saved searches, like tags, are arranged in alphabetical order. Place a symbol (i.e. *) in front of the name to ensure it stays near the top of the list.
Context is the primary criterion for making action choices. Thus, in addition to a comprehensive ‘Next Actions’ list, we will be making lists for each of the context tags you created in the last post. My ‘Next Actions’ list contains only single next actions, whereas my context lists contain single next actions and project next actions (a post on projects is coming soon…I promise). Here are the saved search queries:
- ‘Next Actions’ list – notebook:”2. Next” tag:@Action
- Agenda – tag:@Agenda
- At Anywhere – tag:@Anywhere
- Calls – tag:@Calls
- At Computer – tag:@Computer
- Email – tag:@Email
- Errands – tag:@Errands
- Grocery List – tag:@Grocery
- At Home – tag:@Home
- Shopping List – tag:@Shopping
- At Work – tag:@Work
If you click on any of the context saved searches you will get a list of all the next actions (single next actions and next actions associated with projects) available for that context. You can then make your next action choice based on time available, energy available, and priority.
Here are the rest of my lists and their saved search queries:
- FYI-To-Read (Read/Review) – notebook:”2. Next” tag:”FYI-To-Read” (I don’t use the ‘FYI-To-Read’ tag for projects. I only use it for articles I clip from the web and want to read later.)
- ‘Waiting For’ list – tag:”@Waiting For”
- ‘Someday/Maybe’ list – notebook:”6. Someday/Maybe”
You can also create saved searches for lists of things you would like to access quickly. For example, a ‘Books to Read’ list – notebook:”6. Someday/Maybe” tag:#Books tag:”To Read”. If you need help creating saved searches, check out this article on advanced Evernote search syntax.
That’s all for lists! In the next few posts I’ll look at how to manage projects. Stay tuned…