Setting Up The Secret Weapon
Download the latest version of Evernote (EN). Install it.
Download the latest version of Evernote (EN) and Run the program.
For both PC and Mac
Next, install Evernote onto your mobile phone. Like the rest of Evernote, it’s free.
Create a new user name and password. We advise a good user name, like firstlastname or first letter of first name, last name. As mentioned earlier, Evernote is an installed piece of software on each device, but syncs all data to the cloud, providing for easy synchronization. For those concerned about their data being in the cloud, you can review their policy here.
Setting up Evernote
Install the application. Set up your free online account.
Once you’ve installed Evernote on all your devices, and set up your free Evernote online account, our next suggestion is to set up Evernote like we have. We suggest you do this so that we have a baseline to start from. You’ll likely want to customize your system to your own life and needs by adding or removing tags (each of us at TrueToniqs use a customize version of what you see here). But for now, just to understand how it all works, we recommend setting yours like we have here. The basics:
Setting up Notebooks
Evernote allows you to separate your items (what Evernote calls “notes” and what TSW calls “to-dos” or “Action Items”) into named containers called Notebooks. For TSW purposes, we suggest you create the following three Notebooks (File > New Notebook):
Cabinet: A file cabinet that holds items for reference that aren’t to-do. This could be for items like price sheets, car registration, blood tests or other medical records, insurance cards, scans, etc. You don’t necessarily need to do anything, but want them handy.
Action Pending: The Action Pending notebook is where all items that have pending action reside. Everything from your largest projects to ‘get milk’ goes in here.
Completed: The Completed notebook is where we put all that is done. That leaves the Action Pending notebook small and nimble, with only those outstanding items that have a pending action.
Create your initial Tags
The next step is to set up your contexts (tags).
As mentioned earlier, tags are contexts you can use to differentiate notes from one another based on their content and priority.
The normal way to add tags in Evernote is go to the Edit menu and select New Tag. However, an easier and faster way to add a lot of tags mentioned below is to create your first to-do (called ‘Note” in EN). Call it SAMPLE or something. Then place your cursor in the “click to add tag” field and start typing each of the tag names below, followed by a Return key. This will simultaneously add a permanent tag to the tag column on the left.
Type out the following tags, followed by a Return key:
- .Active Projects
- .Inactive Projects
- @ town
Last, add the first names of any family member or coworkers who you have to-dos with (remember you can always add more or delete these later).
Ok; you should now see all of these tags listed in the left-column tag list. Now that you have the main set of your contexts (tags) entered, let’s organize and nest the tags under the headers to which they belong.
(You can now also delete this SAMPLE to-do; all of the tags will remain.)
“The who/what/where/when tags are what we call Header Tags, and we denote these by placing a .(period) in front of each one. This not only forces them to the top of the Tag list, but reminds us to not use them as an assigned context; as you’ll see, they’re just folder names for the related tags/contexts that we can nest below them.”
Under the .What tag, drag:
- .Active Projects
- .Inactive Projects
Just click, hold and drag each tag you created onto the Header Tag to which it belongs. When you let it go, it will appear “nested” or “in the folder of” the Header Tag.
For .When, drag in:
Evernote’s Notes = TSW’s to-dos
Evernote calls every item you add a “note.” Because The Secret Weapon is a method for getting things done, we call these notes a “to-do” or an “Action Pending.”
For .Who drag in:
- [Family member]
- [Co Worker]
For .Where, drag in:
- @ town
If you want to practice adding tags individually, you can now add, for instance, any major projects that you are currently working on. Add them via the lower left + sign, New Tag. Then drag these over your .Active Projects, so they nest under it.
By nesting the tags under headers, you accomplish several things.
First, you group like contexts together. Most times when you have something to do, there is a sense of .What it is for, .When it needs to get done, .Who should know about it or will actually do it and .Where you might need to be to do it.
Next, nesting allows you to expand and collapse the contexts under each header, as if they were file folders. This is handy when you have several tags under say the .Who context, and want to conserve space when you are on your laptop, or if you don’t use those very often, you can keep them “hidden”, but accessible. Typically you may compress the .What section, or at least the .Active Projects and .Inactive Project sub sections, for example. It should look something like this in the image to the right.
The next step is to start adding some to-dos!