A Call for Sanity - Tasks, Notes, Email & Reminders

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fischgeek
Posts: 432
Joined: 29 Jan 2014, 21:39

A Call for Sanity - Tasks, Notes, Email & Reminders

13 Dec 2017, 13:46

I need help.

I have been struggling for the last year or so with trying to find the right combination of software to manage my tasks, emails, reminders and notes (or my TERN stack as I like to call it).

I thought after using so many different pieces of software, the right one would naturally fall in place. This has proven to not be the case. And after so much back and forth between all the software and services I could find, I don't know where to go.

The problem is where do I take notes for work use, personal use, misc. use? Where should tasks go and where should I be reminded of them?

I have tried all the major players in the game, but they all seem to fall short in one way or another for me. Others have features that really appeal to me, while some have the cool features but implemented wrong. Some are OS agnostic and isn't available everywhere (I need the option for web, Windows, and iOS). Here's a small list of what I have tried:

• OneNote
• Evernote
• Google Keep
• iOS Reminders
• iOS Notes (it's gotten better over the years)
• Outlook
• Dropbox Paper
• G-Suite
• Remember the Milk
• Asana
• Various home-brewed options (AHK, PowerShell, and good 'ol notepad.exe)
• And so many free ones I can't count or recall


Think about it, when you're out-and-about and you need to make note of something, what do you do? Do you open your phone and go to Google Keep? OneNote? Evernote? Then, what do you do with that note later? What if it is actionable, how do you convert it to a task?

Maybe you've saved a list of products your wife sends you to the store for repeatedly so you can look them up without calling her in every aisle asking which one is the right one. Where does that note go?

Maybe you want to save some of that awesome code you wrote for later use.

I want to know, what do you use for your TERN? And, do you have a workflow that goes with it? GTD? Something else?

TL;DR - What do you use for note taking, email management, task management and reminders in your life?
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derz00
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Location: Middle of the round cube

Re: A Call for Sanity - Tasks, Notes, Email & Reminders

14 Dec 2017, 10:33

I like Todoist for tasks and reminders. It is very functional, actively updated, and works on many platforms. I only mention it because its not on your list. I don't have a good solution to keep track of and sort emails.
try it and see
...
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fischgeek
Posts: 432
Joined: 29 Jan 2014, 21:39

Re: A Call for Sanity - Tasks, Notes, Email & Reminders

14 Dec 2017, 11:54

Thanks derz00. I think I tried todoist at one point. Can't remember why I ditched it, maybe I'll give it another go. What do you like about it?
derz00 wrote:I don't have a good solution to keep track of and sort emails.
What do you use as your email client?
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derz00
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GitHub: derz00
Location: Middle of the round cube

Re: A Call for Sanity - Tasks, Notes, Email & Reminders

14 Dec 2017, 12:54

I use Outlook, and now and then sort out everything in my inbox into kind-of organized folders.

I haven't tried other task manager apps, but Todoist is nice for reasons such as this: (I don't know how this compares to others)

1. Custom Global hotkey to show/hide the window
2. quick add task with another global hotkey, or pressing "q" in the Todoist window
3. auto date parsing right while typing the task: "fix car tom" sets the date as tomorrow. and the task as "fix car"
4. fairly flexible recurring options: ev mon, ev 14 (every 14th of the month), ev! day (exclamation mark means a day from completion day, while ev day would be every day)
5. Can't think of more lol
try it and see
...
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davebrny
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Joined: 05 Dec 2016, 06:26

Re: A Call for Sanity - Tasks, Notes, Email & Reminders

15 Dec 2017, 22:41

ive been through a ton of note taking apps over the years as well, evernote, wunderlist, any.do, onenote, todoist, workflowy... switching back and forth between them at times but ive never really found anything that was 100% perfect for what i wanted.
what ive settled on for the last few years is dynalist. its missing a lot of features that i liked from the others like pen input with onenote, or adding images with evernote... but it works so well for me in other ways that ive learned to live without those features.

if youre not familar with dynalist, its an outliner style app where everything is a bullet point and you can have as many nested bullet points as you like. when things get too cluttered you can fold up the nested items or zoom in to focus on a certain group of items. each item/bullet point can also have a note which means you have have some things be a basic to do list and others be can be a title + a note explaining the title.

its the quickest app ive found for getting ideas out of your head. you just have to hit enter key to make a new item or tab to turn it into a nested item.
you can have different documents for different things and switch between them from the side bar or by using ctrl + o to search for the document name and then switch to it

its pretty ok for storing code snippets as well since you can put a descriptive name as the item/bullet point and paste the snippet into the note. you can add other comments to the end of the note or make new nested items underneath, then fold up the nested items so they dont get in the way.
you can use markdown as well and have hyperlinks that will link to a webpage or another item in dynalist

there isnt any option to add an item from your email though, but its on their planned features list:
https://trello.com/b/z0HxDPNo/dynalist-roadmap


as for workflow, i dont really use reminders anymore. i tried a few times with the other apps but i found that i was spending too much time postponing and rescheduling things than actually doing the things themselves :D
what i have in a lot of different places in dynalist is a now/next/later type setup and i just drag items between them as im able to do them.
any time the "now" section has too many things i move them to the "next" section, then fold up it up and forget about it until ive finished most of the "now" items. you can #tag items as well but most of the time i just add two commas to important items and then do a search which filters then list to show only the items that have them


have you tried https://www.moo.do ? it does tasks, emails and reminders... not sure whether it does notes or not. it stores all your info in google drive as far as i know so you need a google account.
another app ive been meaning to check out is https://www.notion.so/product
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fischgeek
Posts: 432
Joined: 29 Jan 2014, 21:39

Re: A Call for Sanity - Tasks, Notes, Email & Reminders

16 Dec 2017, 19:52

Thanks for the dynalist suggestion. I will check it out -- glad to see it is on the appstore too :)
davebrny wrote:i dont really use reminders anymore. i tried a few times with the other apps but i found that i was spending too much time postponing and rescheduling things than actually doing the things themselves :D
Same boat. Though, some things I absolutely need reminding of, sadly.

I've actually started a version of what's called the Hipster PDA. Not sure how I feel about it yet. Plus, now I need to setup another reminder to triage anything that goes into that! Oi. :roll:
BoBo
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Joined: 13 May 2014, 17:15

Re: A Call for Sanity - Tasks, Notes, Email & Reminders

19 Dec 2017, 02:57

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burque505
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Joined: 22 Jan 2017, 19:37

Re: A Call for Sanity - Tasks, Notes, Email & Reminders

19 Dec 2017, 18:52

Org-mode can handle all of TERN. I used it for time and task tracking years ago, but stopped for some reason (Evernote plus Time&Chaos's premium product that had email, as I recall).

Org-mode does everything but make coffee, but those EMACS keybindings have thrown me off for decades. I do think it's a candidate for an AHK front end, though, and that's on my list for "someday" (burque505's NotGTD system :) ).

Try ToDoList for the "T" i TERN - great export features, I'm working on an AHK front end for that at the moment. It is resisting my efforts -- lots of FindClick() required -- but I'm getting there. It's nice to be able to start an un-categorized, unfiled task with a hotkey and start tracking its time, but that's not quite natively there in ToDoList. I have it now, though, via AHK.

EDIT: There is some iOS support for at least part of org-mode (for example beorg). org-js looks interesting. The notebooks at orgzly use org-mode format. ToDoList appears to be Windows only, which is probably a deal-breaker for lots of folks.

RE-EDIT: The "E" in TERN is not really built into org-mode, but org-mode is part of EMACS and EMACS can use mu4e.

regards,
burque505

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