Getting things done with Siri and Evernote


A few months ago, I read David Allen's book, Getting Things Done, and quickly became immersed into the whole GTD trend. I spent weeks trying to figure out the best setup that could work for me in order to more effectively use David Allen's methods. Then I thought of Evernote. I've had Evernote for a couple of years, but never really used it that much, aside from the occasional clipping and note taking. A few hours work and my Evernote GTD setup was complete. At first sight everything works exactly the way I wanted it to, with notebooks for my projects, next actions, references and the all important Inbox.

In Getting Things Done the first step is capturing, and that means capturing everything in your day-to-day life, whether it’s a thought that just popped into your head, or a note that the batteries in your flashlight ran out. Whatever it is, the premise of GTD is to get it out of your head and put it in a trusted place you can visit and review later. At first, this process of capturing felt simple with Evernote: just put the Evernote app on the first home screen of your iPhone and iPad, and create a note each time you need to. I quickly realised that, because Evernote has you tap one too many times, it’s not as efficient for many of the quick scribbles you may want to take, such as "remember to call Aaron" or "email Vlad about that thing you had to remind him." Often i would find myself fall off the wagon, trying to use my brain and ultimately failing.

I tried many setups with the iOS reminders — remember the milk, etc. — but none integrated all that well with my trusted Evernote system. Remember, I need to know that everything is in that Inbox and then, at least once a day, everything in there is cleared out (having been done, delegated, or deferred to a later time). Then it hit me: Evernote has this handy little feature that allows you to email in notes! Siri can send emails — what if i could get Siri to capture everything I needed to on the fly? So I started experimenting with getting Siri to send notes to my Evernote.

The first step was to add a contact to my iCloud account called "Evernote" that included my Evernote email-in address. From there it was simple. I tell Siri to "email Evernote" and, sure enough, she quickly responds; "what's the subject of your e-mail?" The subject that I give Siri is converted into the name for the note, and the body becomes the text. The content of the email can be left blank, I simply tell Siri "Nothing" when she asks me as to the content of the message.
This may feel like I’m pointing out the obvious as it is by no means a hack or something "new."


It’s merely a combination of pre-existing features that I found it to be extremely useful for me, so I decided to share it with the community.