David Klein

Use Evernote as a Personal Agile System

16 August 2010

Let’s start with this: I love Evernote. I use it constantly when I’m on the go. Jot down reminders and thoughts, record voice memos, tweet myself, send tweets from Seesmic, send emails, Chrome clips, etc.

At work we have been slowly transitioning to an agile development methodology, and it’s growing on me. Break a feature down into tasks. Closely track them. Complete.

Recently, I had an epiphany. Why not try to use Evernote in a similar way to manage my personal life? Well, here's what I came up with.

Create Three Notebooks

Backlog, Current, and Done. I chose these words because they appear in alphabetical order in Evernote. I’d prefer to use In Progress instead of Current, but Evernote won’t let you manually change the order.

3 Evernote Boards
Create Tasks

This is an example task for a college student (specifically a Cornell undergrad who is currently enrolled in Econometrics). I broke it down into the usual college paper sub-tasks: read, outline, write, review, submit. I also added a “ToDo” checkbox for each sub-task so I can keep track of my progress on the overall task.

Evernote Tasks
Shift Tasks Between Notebooks

Once you’re ready to begin working on the Econ 321 Paper task, drag it from the Backlog notebook into the Current notebook. As you complete each sub-task, mark it done using a checkbox.

Now your paper is done and you’ve emailed it to your Professor (or lovely TA). Drag the task to Done.

There you go. Evernote + Agile = Awesome.

David from the future: One should really create a backlog of tasks, estimate number of minutes of hours for each, commit to a specific number of tasks, set up sprints, and then calculate personal volicity. Wait. Is "Personal Velocity" a good name for a band?

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