February 22, 2012
The word I use to describe Evernote is ubiquitous: it makes it easy to create and view notes from almost any device, with clients for Windows, Mac, iOS, Android and the Web. Evernote does such a great job of syncing your notes that you almost forget that they are stored in the cloud. With an intuitive user interface and features such as tagging it is very easy to keep your notes organized. Advanced features such as PDF viewing are impressive. Evernote is free, but to get offline access to your notes a subscription is required. This has never been a problem for me with 3G access from my iPhone. (4/20/2012: Upgraded to Evernote Premium. See my update at the end of this posting.)
Whether or not you follow the Getting Things Done approach to task management, Toodledo can help you keep track of all your tasks, both business and personal. Contexts (ie: Personal, Work) and Categories help organize your tasks into the right buckets. While Toodledo’s mobile apps are not free, I think they are definitely worth the asking price. The iOS version is a Universal app so you only have to buy it once for your iPhone and iPad. All versions, web and app, do a great job of filtering your tasks by almost any criteria, including starred tasks, category, context, recently completed, due date, etc. and all your tasks are kept in sync with the cloud. I’ve been using digital task managers going back to the Palm III, so I’m very choosy, and to me this is the best one yet.
Lately I’ve found success reaching goals by using the Jerry Seinfeld Productivity Method, where you take a calendar and mark off a red X for every day that you work on your goal. You keep the chain of X marks going as long as you can and whatever you do, “Don’t break the chain.” Streaks has a great implementation of this in app format, and I’ve been able to achieve multiple goals, from learning and working on Customer Development to practicing guitar every day. My streak for playing guitar, a true stress reducer, is officially 365 days and counting without interruption as of last week, so I really think this app is a winner. Having a Traveler Guitar (which I also can’t live without) definitely helped. What goal do you want to work at daily? With this app you just might do it every day for the foreseeable future and reap untold benefits, or just have fun and relax.
I broke out the credit card and upgraded to Evernote Premium today. I find it indispensable the more I use it. The note history, offline access and PDF search features are too good to pass up and $45 a year is very reasonable. I also should mention that I already have a Pro subscription to Toodledo. Here’s a link to a great article on Evernote from Inc.com. Looks like I’m not alone in singing their praises.