My big fat Evernote and GTD fail

If you’ve been following my blog you will have noticed that I have attempted to implement GTD and Evernote in order to become more productive.

Sadly this attempt failed! This blog is going to share the reasons for the failure in order to help me (try again), and help you (avoid these pitfalls)…

Too busy

As I began the implementation of GTD and Evernote I was entering a really busy time at work (budgets and pricing) and at home (selling and buying a house). Looking back this was a bad idea…

The first 2 weeks were like a honeymoon; the new processes were shiny and exciting and I found time to make sure that I prioritised them. Sadly I found myself struggling to hit deadlines as the weeks rolled on so I needed to focus on the ‘must do’ actions.

The learn from this is that I need to find a quieter month to allow the new system to embed itself in my life and become second nature. GTD and Evernote will have become my way of working so that when I’m really busy again I’m already up and running.

Didn’t finish reading David Allen’s book before I started

This is me all over – not reading the manual and diving straight into the processes. The main issue here is that I ended up partially applying the themes and processes of GTD. Anyone who knows anything about GTD knows that that’s not a good way to approach it!

The learn from this fail is that I need to finish the book, and then probably read a second time before attempting to implement it.

Didn’t do a weekly review

A key feature of GTD that you hear experts (such as Daniel Gold) recommending is the weekly review. Hands up, I just didn’t do this.

The outcome of this was to end up building a really big pile of crap (ie lots and lots of notes) that just gets bigger every week and started to make me feel like I didn’t know where anything was. Even though it was ALL in Evernote!

The learn for next time is to prioritise and schedule my weekly review. I’ll probably sneak off at lunch time on Friday to do this 30 minute activity.


In short, implementing GTD is hard enough – but doing it at the same time as Evernote during a really busy time is not smart!

If you want to give GTD or Evernote a try, then I hope you learned a bit from my fails. Don’t forget to check out David Allen’s original GTD book on Amazon, and Daniel Gold’s GTD and Evernote book on Amazon.

Author: Oliver Gearing

Oliver Gearing is a beatboxing, acoustic looping, 38 year old father of 3. Sounds like an electrocuted version of Elbow

4 thoughts on “My big fat Evernote and GTD fail”

  1. I wandered in prod-app land from zendone, to GQueues, to IQTELL, to Remember the Milk (which I loved), but I still didn’t like the fact all my notes were in EN. Then I discovered “The Secret Weapon” for EN. Why learn a new app when EN has everthing needed? Now with “Reminders,” its just about perfect (though, waiting for Windows). Tweak GTD and TSW to meet your personal needs, and all is good. Of course, self-discipline is the key. Oh, and instead of reading GTD a second time, I’d recommend “Bill’s Im-Perfect Time Management Adventure” by Francis Wade instead. That way you can make it all your own.

  2. I have successfully implemented GTD on Evernote.

    It is 95% there. I just need to tweak it a bit here and there, but it has definitely achieved the main objective which is to get ‘things’ out of my head, so that I can focus on ‘doing’ and not having anxiety about what I should be doing, or what I might have forgotten 😉

    I borrowed the idea off someone else (sadly can’t remember who) and changed it to fit my way of working.

    I mainly use the Evernote app on my phone (Android), as of course like most people, it is always on me.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *