I’d like to reduce the number of applications I use, because I spend way too much time messing with them. My theory is that fewer applications would mean less futzing (but I might just fuss with the ones I retain more).

I’m using Remember the Milk for to-do lists, and Evernote as a general notebook.

For starters, let me say what I like about both of them. They both represent what I consider to be the future of applications, in that they give me access to my data on my Mac, my Windows PC, and my smart phone; they give me access online and offline; they keep the data synchronized on all of my devices without making me think about it. I can get to my data wherever I am via my smart phone, and when I need a bigger window to my data, I can use the computer I’m sitting at.

This is “table stakes” going forward. If you’re building almost any application, you’d better be building it this way in order to compete.

Task management and a general Notebook aren’t the same thing, but they aren’t as distinct as one might wish. I often find myself accumulating notes on a task, and people have been using (physical) notebooks to manage to-do lists since forever.

Milk has some task management capabilities that are nice:<ul>

  • Filtering
  • Sorting
  • Prioritizing
  • Check-boxes to mark tasks complete
  • Notes, separate from the task. (Both a good thing and a bad thing.)
  • Email/twitter reminders when a task due date arrives.
  • </ul>

    Evernote doesn’t have these. (Evernote does have check-boxes, but they’re best thought of as stand-alone graphical check-box elements, and not as part of a to-do.) But… filtering/sorting/prioritizing are:

    1. Something I ought to be doing the night before, as part of planning the next day.
    2. Entirely do-able with pencil and paper, albeit tediously.
    3. Do-able manually in Evernote, with less tedium than paper.

    Where the manual process might break-down is if I need to re-sort/re-filter/re-prioritize quickly during the day. I’m not doing that effectively in Milk anyhow.

    Reminders will just have to go into my calendar.

    It used to be the case that Evernote didn’t have a way to keep the task-note separate from the task-title, but the new (with release 4.3) note-link feature provides that. I can have a notebook with my tasks, and a separate notebook with task-notes, and link to them (again manually) from the task.

    We’ll see how it goes…

    Here are some of my ‘learnings,’ (updated as I learn them):

    1. Keep notes in PLAIN TEXT, so I can edit them from the iPhone app.