New guy Integration questions

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January 8, 2013 at 4:25 pm #1429

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OK I have read through most of the newbie posts so I will try not to retread old questions but apologies in advance if I do.

1. Overall Strategy: So I have gotten all of my tags, notebooks and nesting done and I think I get how this all relates to tasks but now I feel like the golf lesson where you are trying to put all of the different things together and suddenly nothing makes sense. Can someone walk me through their overall strategy of how to integrate TSW AND Evernote into life (I have even read the Integrate book).

I guess if I understand now how to deal with tasks through TSW. How do you deal with everything else? Examples:
a. I made notes at lunch with a guy today, tagged it but now what do I DO with it? Do you put everything non task related in a cabinet? Do you review old notes? I am starting to feel like EN is a black hole. I put things in but never refer back to them.

b. Mobile integration: I am an iphone/ipad guy and was using Todo for tasks. Are you simply opening up now and next severe times a day on your phone?

c. Docs. I am now trying to scan docs and put them into EN tagged but just in the cabinet. Again, black hole feeling

I guess what I am getting at is that I get TSW and how it manages tasks but how are you gurus integrating TSW and all of the non task related things that you do with evernote and how are you avoiding throwing everything down the well never to be seen again. Not to state the obvious but I understand that I can pull things out by search or by tags but I will have to remember what it was I wanted to review in order to review it, think about it and I cant really put everything that is non task into read/review.

As I am writing this I feel like I might not be making sense but I guess I am looking for a holistic life approach to EN and TSW and I cant find one. Lastly if anyone knows any books on the topic, please recommend. OK thanks (hopefully) for the help.


January 8, 2013 at 9:33 pm #1430


Hi Dave,
Let me see if I can help make some sense of this for you. Prior to discovering TSW, I had used EN for a while for collecting different bits of reference material. When I stumbled across TSW (about 7 months ago), I got so excited! It was truly a WOW moment and I have been a huge fan ever since. Finally, it was possible to organize all my Tasks AND my reference material all in one spot. And, not only that, but actually connect them together!

Stepping back in time for a moment to the 4 drawer file cabinet. I like photography and Photoshop. As I would find a tutorial or something online that I wanted to save for future reference, I would print it and put the photography stuff in one drawer (neatly organized with folders) and the Photoshop stuff in another drawer. I collected tons of this stuff. How often did I actually go back to either of these file drawers and reference any of it? Almost NEVER!! Seriously, it was as you say, a black hole! Stuff went in and never came back out.
B-U-T, every once in a while, I would remember that I did have something in there that I wanted to look at and I would dig it back out.
Same goes for the other drawers in my file cabinet. The ones that hold insurance papers, receipts, manuals, pet information, etc. I throw stuff in there (organized in folders) and I almost never need it. But, when I do need it, the file cabinet is where I go to look for it.

And, every once in a while (usually years go by), I open up one of those drawers and weed out some of the stuff in there to clean things up a bit.

Fast forward to Evernote. Now, when I see something I want to keep for future reference, instead of printing it and putting it into my file cabinet, I use the Evernote Web clipper (which is fantastic!) and put it into EN. Instead of creating a label for a hanging folder, I put a tag on it. (Photography, Photoshop, Gardening, Nutrition, Receipt, Insurance, Pet….). Same goes for things that are scanned in.

All these things go in the Cabinet notebook (It is for reference stuff; anything that does not require you to take Action). Chances are you are not going to look at this stuff very often. But, it’s there if you need it and you can easily find it when you do (way easier than digging through a file cabinet).
And just like a file cabinet, occasionally click on a tag and see if there is anything in there you don’t want anymore. Delete it (It’s way easier to tidy up EN than a real file cabinet).

Add in TSW. This is where it all really starts to shine. Now, your reference material and your tasks are all in the same place! It’s great! You are already more likely to review things as opposed to them being in some file cabinet in the other room, or a folder stuffed in a drawer. But, it’s even better than that, you can connect them! One of the essential key elements to TSW is your ‘Active Projects’. It goes like this:

Say, I decide I want to take portraits of my grandson. Under .What>Active Projects, I create a project called “Connor’s Portrait prj”. I make notes that list various tasks that are involved with this project (buy outfit for portraits, decide on type of lighting, gather props, charge batteries, research types of poses, etc). All these require action and so they go into my Action Pending notebook (and I can apply various .When tags to these notes).

Now, say I’m on the web researching various posing ideas. I find a few I like, I clip them into EN. This is reference/support material but I still tag these notes with ‘Connor’s Portrait prj’ tag. and put them into the Cabinet notebook. I decide to look through my ‘Photography’ tag to see what I have in there. Oh ya, I have this great article on lighting I wanted to try. I instantly throw the ‘Connor Portrait prj’ tag on it too.

Now, anytime I double click on the ‘Connor’s Portrait prj’, I will see not only all the tasks I need to do to accomplish this project, but also the reference material that goes with it. (It’s not in a black hole somewhere. It’s right there connected to this project). When I’m done with this project, if it’s reference material I want to keep, I’ll tag it with Photography. If not, I’ll just delete it at that time.

Sooo, think about the notes you wrote out today. Are they associated with some sort of project you are involved in? If so, make sure that you create a tag for the project under your ‘Active Projects’ and tag it with that project name. It’s not lost in a black hole, it’ is directly associated with this project and when you review this project it will be there.

Most of the things I have tagged with Read/Review also have a project tag. If I click on the project tag I will see everything I need to read/review in regards to that project. If I click on Read/Review, I can see everything I need to read/review regardless of what project it relates to. It’s nice to be able to view it either way.

As for the phone, I am often by a computer and prefer to use that. But, when I can’t, I do use my phone to check my Nows or Nexts. And I definitely use my phone to add quick notes to my EN so that when I get back on my computer I can quickly tag them and put them in whichever notebook they need to be. (Note: The TSW videos do not do it this way, but I prefer having an Inbox notebook where everything new gets dumped first. Then I quickly tag it and sort it from there).

Did that help or did I confuse you further?

January 9, 2013 at 5:36 am #1431


Just to clarify something, I do not tag everything that is reference material with Read/Review. I only tag the things I really need (or want) to come back to and read or review. (a document for work, an article I don’t have time to read right now, my insurance policy that I’m wanting to look over…). Each one gets a .When tag, and if it is part of a project, they get the project tag also.

Also, in regards to the notes you took. I would look over them and identify the actual tasks you need to do. Each task gets it’s own note so you can add your .When tags to each task (and any other .W tags you would find helpful). These notes also all get tagged with your project and put into the Actions Pending Notebook. If you took general reference notes, these get tagged with your project tag and put into the Cabinet notebook.
If you double click on the Project, you will see everything. Or, you can filter on the filter bar to just show what’s in the Action Pending notebook and it will allow you to focus on just the tasks you need to do on this project. Hold down the Ctrl key and click on 1-Now, to see just the tasks you need to do Now in regards to just this project.

January 10, 2013 at 8:23 am #1438

[email protected]


Thanks so much for the careful response. That does help a good bit. I think I am still a little hazy on two things:
1. Projects: how do you do them, where do they live? Under “what” and do you have many many projects going at one time and do you keep the substeps of the projects under the project in a hierarchical tree or do the sub steps just get tagged with the project and then a “when” tag?

2. Cabinet: So I have not yet brought myself to scanning but that is where I want to go. so when you put something in that is a document are you tagging it to pieces or are you counting on the OCR to be able to find “bill’s Life Insurance Policy” that seems dicey to me but I know that is because I dont know what I am doing.

3. Daily workflow. Beyond the email inbox workflow. Can someone describe a little bit of their day in the life… I am now at the point where I understand the tactics but am struggling to put them all together in an overall scheme for my life. I know that is a big hairy question but I think you could nail it with bullet points. The Photog project examlpe really helped (once I understand where to put projects)

Thanks so much for the thoughtful answers!

January 10, 2013 at 11:04 pm #1440


You’re welcome. Here’s a little info for questions 1 and maybe 3:

According to David Allen’s ‘Getting Things Done’ book (I found this book very helpful in finally helping me organize my thoughts and life! Well, actually I’m still working on it, but I’m closer than I’ve ever been thanks to GTD, EN and TSW! Lol). David Allen doesn’t discuss TSW, but rather TSW is the system I use to help me implement David Allen’s teachings. He also has some good lectures on Youtube.

In his teachings, he wants you to basically ‘empty your brain’. Clear it of all the clutter! Get everything out of your brain and put it in front of you so you can see it and better organize it. It’s really refreshing. So, yes, there are lots of projects, some active, some inactive. If you’re working on a project and you put it on the back burner for awhile, for whatever reason, move it into ‘Inactive Projects’ so it’s out of your way. But, it’s still right there, ready to go when your are ready for it. Just move it back into Active.

Projects are listed under the .What>Active Projects (Or .What>Inactive Projects). Also under ‘.What’ (but not listed under the projects, as they are not specific projects) I have tags for:
‘To Read/Review’
‘To Listen to’ (for various webcasts I have to listen to),
‘To Learn’ (anytime I think of something I want to learn more about. I make a note and tag it with this. For example, I want to learn how to use Adobe Acrobat. I also want to learn how to use the Neat Video Plug-in for Premiere Pro. I also want to learn more about using the search features in EN. These are not part of any project.They are just fleeting thoughts of various things I might want to learn more about someday and I like having a tag that keeps all this in one place for me). It’s cool to go back and look at this and go, ‘Oh ya, I forgot about that! Maybe I’ll look into that this weekend. I think I’ll change it’s tag to ‘Now’. Oh crud, two weeks has gone by and I still have this as ‘Now’ and I still haven’t done anything with it. I guess I will go ahead and change it back to ‘later’.)
‘To Buy’ (I have a separate notes called: Grocery Store List, Home Depot List, Target List, Amazon List; along with any random notes tagged ‘To Buy’ that’s not part a specific list)
and ‘Bills’ (I like having this under my .What so I have quick access to my Excel spreadsheet that keeps all my bill info, along with any individual notes I make that pertain to my bills. For example, I have a note that lists all my ‘Automatic payments and Subscriptions’ that get charged to various credit cards. Or, when I get an email that contains a monthly statement, I forward it to EN and tag it with ‘Bills’.

For example, if I were you, right now, I’d probably be creating a tag called something like ‘Learn GTD-TSW prj’ (put under Active Projects. This is something you are currently putting a lot of effort into. It’s a project!). As I read through this forum, I would be clipping various info into EN that I want to easily refer back to. I would tag each entry with ‘Learn GTD-TSW prj” (put in the Cabinet notebook). Since someone (me) mentioned David Allen’s book and You tube. I would make two quick notes: 1) Check out David Allen’s GTD book (tag it with this project. If you’re interested, maybe tag it with ‘To Buy’. And, if you buy it, make yourself a note to read it and tag it with ‘To Read’, and a .When tag and this project tag. :-)).
2) “Check out David Allen on Youtube” (again tagged with this project tag).
3) And maybe this note: ‘Watch TSW videos’ if you haven’t already on the home page of this site (all these notes go in your Actions Pending notebook).

Most of my projects are just “single level” (they don’t have sub-projects). But just the other day I created a project with sub-projects. I had 3 days off. I was so excited! I was looking through all my different projects and various things I COULD get done. I have a ‘Get Organized prj’. It has 50 notes in it. I knew I wanted to work on that, but also some of my hobby projects and various other things that were popping up as I thought about it. I was bouncing around from project to project, trying to figure out which things I really wanted to focus on during these 3 days. Finally, it dawned on me, I created a project called, “3 Days Off prj”!! I created 4 sub-projects: Organize Home, Organize Computer, Play and Other. I looked thru all my various notes (tasks) and assigned them to these tags. (It didn’t matter that they were also assigned to other projects. For the next 3 days they were also assigned to my ’3 Days Off prj’. Over that next 3 days, I was able to more clearly focus on just the things I wanted to get done during that time. It was great!

I’ll write you more this weekend to answer some of your other questions. But, hopefully this helps some. What I hope I sort of showed was how flexible it is. Start out with just a few projects. When you think of something that has multiple tasks, create a new project. Feel the need for sub-projects, try it out.

In GTD, one of the important things to do is set aside some time each week to do a weekly review. Review all your projects and tasks, reorganize and re-prioritize as needed.

January 12, 2013 at 9:58 am #1444


[email protected]

Answering your question #2.
First of all (as a little side note) in addition to the notebooks they suggest in the TSW videos, I have an ‘Inbox’ notebook I use as my default notebook. I clip a lot of info from the web, and scan stuff in, etc that are not tasks. They are stuff that belong in the Cabinet notebook. I like using the Inbox notebook as a dumping ground for all new stuff coming into EN. I can then quickly see what all needs to be tagged, tag it, and put in either the Cabinet or Actions Pending notebook. (You can select multiple notes and move them all at once).

As for tagging, I like tags. They are super easy and they provide a quick way for me to start narrowing down what I want to find. But, not only that, they provide a quick overview of what all I have in EN. I can look at all the sub-tags under ‘Misc tags’, and see if I want to view any of my wonderful collections!! :-) Hey, I have a tag for ‘Memorabilia’ maybe I’ll take a moment down memory lane. And, here’s one for ‘Keyboard Shortcuts’, I think I’ll refresh my memory of these….see what I mean? I actually have one called ‘My Forum Responses’, so I will be adding this thread to EN and tag it with this tag and my ‘TSW’ tag.

These are just a few of my many tags (I have maybe 150-200, but I think that probably covers most things and it won’t continue to grow too much more). I do try to keep in mind that I can use the OCR in addition to my tags, so I try to have my tags cover the main stuff and not every possibility. I make sure any important words or dates are in the note or title itself. And, I make sure I have a good title so I can easily find it in the list that pops up.

Using your ‘Bills Life Insurance Policy’ as an example. That would be a good title (or maybe: Life Insurance Policy – Bill), whichever way you think it will best stand out in a list of notes. I would at least tag it ‘Insurance’. If you only have 20 notes tagged ‘Insurance’, then this will be super easy to find in the list even without any other tag or further search.
If you click on ‘Insurance’ tag and 100 notes appear, you can go up to the search bar and type ‘Policy’ (it narrows it down to say 30, you can now look through the list more easily, or keep going and type Bill &/or Life, and it will narrow it down even further).

Same with dates. Just make sure the date is in the note. Click ‘Insurance’ tag, then type say, ’2012′ in the search bar to narrow it down. That’s what’s so great about tags. They give you a starting point and then you can easily narrow it down using the search bar.

If you also want your ‘Policies’ from all areas of life to easily be grouped together. Make a ‘Policy’ tag (and, in the above case, tag this note with both ‘Insurance’ and ‘Policy’). Now, you can quickly click on your ‘Policy’ tag and there it is, along side all your other policies. Type ‘Insurance’ in the search bar and you instantly narrow down your Policies to just Insurance Policies.

I would probably not create a separate tag for ‘Life’ because this would probably be the only thing in it. I will just use the Search as I described above when I need to find my Life Insurance Policy. On the other hand, if this were a Vehicle Insurance Policy, I would include a ‘Vehicle’ tag because I have quite a few notes that I would like to group together in this tag (Cost/payment info, repair records, maintenance info, insurance…)

The problem if you rely just on OCR, is that when you type ‘Vehicle’ you will get the search results of every article, pdf file, your own notes, etc. that somewhere in the document it mentions the word ‘Vehicle’. By creating a tag, you can quickly narrow it down to just the things YOU have assigned as wanting to show up when you want to see ‘Vehicle’.

If you have Bill’s name as a tag, you can throw that on there also, if you want. BUT, if you don’t want this note popping up every time you click on his name (and getting in your way), then don’t tag it with his name. You already have it tagged with ‘Insurance’ and ‘Policy’ and can easily narrow it down from either of those starting points.

January 12, 2013 at 1:44 pm #1445

[email protected]

Helpful helpful helpful

I was trying to minimize tags ( read that somewhere) but when you say 150-200 that makes a lot more sense. Why skimp? I did use your inbox suggestion and that helps to get things in during the day. I made it my default notebook so I am hoping that when I email in things will appear in inbox. One thing you said was a mystery. You referred to sub tags. Are you nesting some tags? If so, why

Thanks again

January 12, 2013 at 10:42 pm #1446


You’re welcome!
Tags make sense to me too. They are so easy. And like I said, they provide a quick list of all the things we have in EN. Without them, ya sure, maybe you can find something, but talk about a feeling of a ‘black hole!’ Lol.

When I send an email into EN, it does go into my Inbox. The only thing to be aware of is: Say you have filtered to see a specific notebook. and you click ‘New Note’, it will automatically go into this notebook (which can be a good thing if you are in the Action Pending notebook and creating multiple notes that require Action. It will save you a step, but it helps to know what is happening). But, even then, if I send it from my email, it seems to still go into my Inbox. Just realize, if you have added something and you can’t find it in your Inbox, double check the last notebook you were in.

Most of my tags are singular (non-nested), but once in a while I will nest. Say, you have 3 separate projects that you are involved in at work. You could keep them all single projects (under .When>.Active projects>list each one separately), or you could nest them like: .When>.Active Projects>Work (and then list each one under the Work heading tag).
Either way is fine. The advantage to not testing them is when you open .Active Projects, you can see ALL your projects in one list. It makes it quicker to review all projects without opening additional ‘arrows’.
The advantage if you do nest them, is all three of them are specifically grouped together under ‘Work’.
Another option would be to prefix the name of each work project with the word “work” (so they group together alphabetically even if you don’t nest them).

One other thing I have nested: I have a heading tag called “Misc Tags” that I nest all tags that aren’t part of the .W tags (for TSW). It’s not necessary, but it just tidy’s things up a bit.

I answered your question about email in the other thread (in case you haven’t seen it yet). I am about finished with the write up for ‘A day with TSW’ you had asked about. I’ll try to post it sometime Sunday.

January 13, 2013 at 11:56 am #1447


Ok, here you go. A day in the life with TSW….

[Side note] In EN, there are 3 different views (List, Snippet, and Thumbnail). I usually use List view unless I temporarily change it for a specific reason.

In the morning, I go to my computer. I’m having coffee and I review TSW to start thinking about my day.

1) I go to my ‘!Daily’ tag and have a look.

First and most important thing: Check my Calendar! I have a note in ‘!Daily’ titled ‘Check Calendar’. I keep a link to my Google calendar right their in the note, so it’s very convenient. Do I have any appointments or hard deadlines I have to meet today? Nope. Today is Saturday and I have no appointments. Yeah!
(Onto TSW, which is for all the other stuff that I need/want to do, where the timing is more flexible).

The rest of !Daily is NOT for the things you do automatic (have coffee, take shower, go to work….). It is for the things you will forget to do if you don’t get that extra little reminder (such as: take vitamins/medicine, water plants, check TSW forum [of which I have a link to it right there in the note itself], check bank account, workout….). Stuff like that.

2) Next, I double click on ’1-Now’. This lets me see everything that I currently feel is the most important stuff I need to get done regardless of the project. Among the notes, I see I need to get my Car Inspected. I probably should take care of that today. I do the same thing for the ’2-Next’. Do a quick scan and decide which of these things I might knock off my list today. It’s the Weekend, so I’ll also check my ’7-Weekend’ tag. Oh, ya, I was going to call my Cousin this weekend. I think I will do that today too.

3) Then, I run through clicking on any projects that are on my mind for today. It’s Saturday, I’m not looking at Work projects! I’m looking at my home life stuff: Like my ‘Get Organized prj’, ‘Photography prj’, ‘Dog Training prj’, ‘Home Repair/Maintenance prj’, Stuff like that.
(On the search toolbar, I have switched it from ‘All notebooks’ to ‘Action Pending’ so I can focus only on the tasks I need to do, and not include all the support material).

4) I’ve glanced over things and I’m ready to get busy. I’m going to be on my computer for awhile, so I think I’ll click on my ‘@Computer’ tag. I have 33 things I’ve tagged with ‘@Computer’. Yikes, that’s overwhelming, I think I will narrow that down. I will either:
a) Ctrl click on ’1-Now’ so I narrow it down to just the things I need to do ‘Now’ in relation to the computer.
b) Or, I will have a specific project in mind, and decide to Ctrl click on that Project. I will see everything I need to do on the computer in regards to that particular project (as long as I tagged it).

Let’s say, I choose to Ctrl click on 1-Now’: Only one item. Ok,…. done. Delete that task. How about ’2-Next’, 4 items. I think I’ll knock those out while I’m here…..Done! Hmmm, I still have some time, I think I’ll move on to ’3-Soon’. 20 items. I’ll knock 3 of these out. Of the ones left, I notice a few that seem more important than others, I’ll go ahead and apply a ’2-Next’ tag to them and remove the ’3-Soon’.

Note: If need be, you can even click on @Computer, and Ctrl click on a Project tag and also a .When tag.

5) It’s Saturday and I’ve already been productive. Time for a little relaxation. I feel like reading. Straight to my ‘To Read/Review’ tag. Here’s an ebook I’ve been wanting to read on dog training. It’s on my ‘Someday’ list, but I was thinking of doing some dog training today so I think I’ll read some of it right now!

6) [Later] I’m heading into town to get my car inspected. I think I’ll check my ‘@Town’ tag just to see if there are any errands that I might as well get done while I’m out and about. I’ll also check my ‘To Buy’ tag. Oh ya, I need some nails to hang some pictures I bought. I think I’ll stop by Home Depot while I’m out.

My car didn’t pass inspection. They say I need to replace the tail light. I make a note in EN, “Replace Tail light” (tag it ’1-Now and ‘Darryl’ (under .Who). My hubby will fix that for me. :-) I can click on his name and instantly have a list of all my ‘Honey Do’s’ I have for him or things that I want to discuss with him.

7) I’m back from town. I think I will check the TSW forum. Oh, someone has a question. I don’t have time to answer right now, I’m about to train my dog. I’ll send it to EN, tag it with 1-Now. (That’s the only tag I think I’ll give it. It is just a random task, not part of any project. But, I will see it when I review my ’1-Now’ tags and try to fit answering it into my schedule later today or tomorrow).

8. My friend told me about a great recipe she made. New Note, titled: Try Fish Chowder recipe (tags: ’3-Soon’, ‘Cooking prj’, ‘Recipe’). I put the link to the recipe in the note.

9) My daughter came over to visit. I click on her name tag (under .Who). Oh ya, I have a note to remind me to return the punch bowl she lent me. And I have another note about a funny YouTube video I wanted to show her. The link to the video is right in the note itself.
(In the past, I either TRIED to just remember this stuff, or I had post-it notes everywhere). Once done, I delete the notes. Actually, the YouTube video is so funny, I think I might just keep it in my EN for future reference. I tag it ‘funny’ and ‘YouTube’ (these are both under ‘Misc tags’). And I move this note to the Cabinet. (I un-tag it from my daughters name tag)

10) I check my email. My Dad sent me an email about wanting to have a family reunion this summer. I send him a reply and BCC it to EN. This will end up having multiple tasks involved so I create a new project ‘Family Reunion prj’ (under Active Projects). I tag this email with it and put the email in the ‘Cabinet’ notebook.

11) Recently I decided I wanted a blog (just one of those personal blogs for family kind of thing). I knew nothing about blogs, so I started researching. I created a tag called ‘Blogging Prj’ (Under .What>Active Projects). I started clipping all kinds of things from the web to help me learn. I would tag each one of these with this project tag and put it in the Cabinet notebook. As I would think of tasks I had TO DO for this, I would make a new note for each task and tag it with this project tag and a .When (and any other .W tags I wanted to use). I had tasks such as, ‘Decide which web host to use’, ‘Watch Lessons about WordPress on’, Decide on Name for blog (I had list of various possibilities within that note) etc.

I also created a note titled ‘Blogging Ideas’. As I think of things I might like to write about, I add it to this note. It’s tagged with my ‘Blogging prj’ tag and the tag ‘My Notes’ (I use this tag to help differentiate between the stuff I clip from the web and my own personal notes about something). This note goes in the Cabinet. It’s just ideas, it’s not a task.

12) As I write up this reply, I am thinking maybe I should learn how to make a YouTube video. It would be a lot easier to show it, than type it. Problem is, once again, I know absolutely nothing about how to do that! But, hey I’m going to at least make myself a note in EN, titled “Learn how to make a video for YouTube.” (As David Allen says, letting this stuff just rattle around in your head, drains your energy’). So, I get it out of my head by making a note. This is currently a low priority on my list of things to do, so I tag it with ’5-Someday’ and ‘To Learn’ (These are the only tags I’m going to give it). I do not make it a project. It is not a project yet. It is just a fleeting thought that I might want to give more consideration to. If someday I actually start to move on this, then I will create a project at that time, called ‘YouTube Video prj’.

Once a week, you do a Weekly review, where you go over all your tasks and projects to organize and re-prioritize as needed.

Hope that helps. :-)

PS: One other thing I will do is check today’s date in My Tickler File. The Tickler file is not mentioned in the TSW videos, but it is something I read about and I implemented it into my TSW. It works out great and is very useful for repetitive tasks or tasks that are due in the future, but you don’t want them in your way right now (Example, when your car inspection is due, when can you upgrade your phone, when is your gym membership due for renewal… I have a couple of entries in this thread that explains it further.

January 14, 2013 at 10:49 am #1453

[email protected]

Holy Smokes!

Thank you so much for putting so much time into that. Really really helpful to get that “real world” perspective. I think that makes a big dent in my confusion quotient. LAst week was my week to get all set up, understand the system and begin to try to put it together. this week is my full throttle week to really execute carefully and get the lumps worked out. I bought the GTD book you recommended this weekend and am about 1/2 way through it and it is helping the synthesis too. I really appreciate you putting so much effort into helping. I think however, that post will help a lot of us slightly dense adopters. The projects idea is a big one. I haven’t jumped into it but you describe life perfectly “I want to do this or that but have no real timeframe and might not even know all of the components to the project until I start picking away at it.” Great. You should just turn this post into a youtube video and life would be good!

I looked for your advice on email and inbox management but I must be missing it. I think my only remaining question is about emails and the workflow of responding to them. If I have just totally missed your answer simply ignore this question but it is a big one:

You send me an email saying you want to sell your car and that I need to call some friends who might want to buy it. I reply to you and cc EN.

I then get emails from two people who are interested. I forward those emails to EN and merge them with your original email (now a task/note) so it is all one note. You email me the price you will take (same forward to EN and merge). Now I have to email the two parties and go back and forth on negotiations.

This is were I get a little stuck! Normally, I would use the email string to go back and fourth which would: keep all the correspondence in one place and remind me to take action (once the other party has responded). With TSW this kind of a thing seems cumbersome. My inbox is empty and all of the back and fourth becomes individual tasks. Since 90% of my 100+ emails each day are of this nature (back and forth) I am worried that I am not seeing a smooth and efficient workflow. If you can help me with this. I will leave you in peace forever.

I just cant thank you enough for all of the thoughtful and thorough help. I would have given up on day two without it and now I think I am on my way!


January 14, 2013 at 6:14 pm #1454


You’re welcome!!! When I’m able to help someone and they are as appreciative as you are, it makes it all worth it!! :-)

Here is the thread that contained your question about email and my answer.

I’m writing you up some info with this scenario you just posted in mind, but I think my other post will give you some things to think about till I get back to you on this. See if it helps.

January 15, 2013 at 7:18 pm #1459


Everyone’s situation is so different that it is difficult to answer a question where general information covers each type of situation. But, as you use EN/TSW, you will come up with different ways to make it to fit your workflow and various situations that you have.
But here’s a few things to keep in mind:

‘Do I want this in EN?’ (And if so, ‘How much of it do I want in EN?’)

If you are able to track the info you need within the email string itself, you may not need or want to send it to EN. Utilize EN/TSW when you NEED it to help you.
If you receive an email from John: “Hey, I’m interested, but has it ever been in a wreck or flood?”
I can’t, off hand, think of a reason to send this email to EN. I would just send an email to the original person: “Hey, I have someone interested, but he wants to know if it’s ever been in a wreck or flood?” He replies, ‘No’ and you send another email to John with that info. (all these emails are have been taken care of and are moved out of you Inbox without ever even needing to send it to EN)

Same goes for, if the guy just emailed you the price of the car, do you really need to forward this email to EN? Or, do you just need to email the 2 people interested with the info. and be done with it.
If you already have a note in EN with the details about the vehicle, and you want to add this price info (and wreck/flood info) to it, you could just select it and Copy/Paste it into a note you already have in EN. This will be way less cumbersome than forwarding a whole email, and then merging notes…

Say, in the middle of all this back and forth negotiations, you receive an email from your supervisor about the ‘Latest policy in regards to blah, blah, blah’ that you need to read.
Ah-ha, now THAT I will send to EN! I don’t have time to read this right now, but I do need to read it and if I send it to EN, I can tag it so I won’t forget AND it will also allow me to clear it out of my Inbox so I can get back to bantering back and forth with all these negotiations.

You’re done for the day and ready to move onto other things. You can use EN to make a note of any task you still need to do, such as “Follow up with John and Bob regarding the car”. (That’s the title of your note, and, of course, within the body of the note you could make a notation of any details that you want. Such as ‘John is checking with his wife’.)

January 27, 2013 at 11:30 am #1474


I am a long-time GTD user, but new to TSW, and just want to thank Chanzie for her detailed explanations. These are extremely helpful to me.

January 27, 2013 at 1:02 pm #1476


Oh, thanks, Peytonstafford!! You’re welcome. I appreciate you letting me know it helped you. That’s when it makes it all worth it. :-)

February 18, 2013 at 11:27 am #1507


I too am a long term GTDer but also learned a few things from Chanzie’s detailed posts – many thanks! David

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