SmartTM, a really great app to manage tasks with Evernote!

INTRO
Ever since my review of an early iteration of what used to be called Everdo.it, I have had the pleasure of helping test various alpha and beta versions of what has become SmartTM. It has been a fun process to see this app evolve from a great concept to something truly great. Having spent time working in healthcare software, I am familiar with the process of software development. However it has been almost ten years since I last helped build something electronic and my return to watching a product evolve quickly was fun. And, the process is especially fun when the end result turns out as good as SmartTM has. In summary, SmartTM is a very efficient and creative way to manage tasks using Evernote as a database; even with the addition of Evernote’s new Reminders functionality. SmartTM does a great job merging what works well with Evernote with a very robust task management system for the iPad. Read on to learn
more. Oh, did I mention that SmartTM was also named one of Evernote’s DevCup finalists? Looks like I am not the only one who thinks SmartTM is on to something.

PROS:

  1. Flexible syncing with Evernote by notebook and/or tag
  2. Solid workflow capabilities that allow you to quickly process your “inbox” of tasks
  3. Nice user-interface
  4. Snappy, even on an iPad 2
  5. SmartTM tags a note as an Evernote Reminder when a specific data/time alarm is set
  6. SmartTM has flexible processing functionality for completed notes; move a completed task into its own notebook and/or tag completed notes with “Completed”

CONS:

  1. Once a tasks has been added into SmartTM from Evernote, changes to the title do not change whether they are made on SmartTM or Evernote
  2. Can’t figure out how tasks get on the Calendar task list
  3. SmartTM does not flag all tasks as Reminders in Evernote; would be a nice addition
  4. Organizational buttons on the task lists are too small, i.e. collapse/uncollapse lists

As I said here, I have recently switched back to using Outlook Reminders to manage my tasks. As a result it was not easy for me to switch gears to something different again. Fortunately SmartTM made this very easy as all I had to do was forward all of my Outlook Tasks to a specific notebook in Evernote. You see, SmartTM (STM) builds its task database by connecting directly to your Evernote account. You can have STM read all of your databases or you have it read only a selected few databases and/or tags. For me I use a specific database for tasks called @DailyTasks.

WIZARD

Once you are connected to your chosen notebooks and/or tags, STM creates a work-list of notes to process. Depending on how many notes you have in your chosen notebook/tags, your list may be very long. Fortunately STM makes it easy to work through your backlog with its “Smart Processing” functionality. Simply click the button and STM walks you through your backlog. For each note you make a decision to “Create Task”, “Someday”, “Reviewed”, “Delete” or “Reference” the task. If you select “Create Task” you are then presented with STM’s task form which allows you to assign projects, contexts, durations and reminders. From here you have all of the necessary options to closely following the GTD methodology or to loosely follow it. STM gives you the tools to implement just about any GTD-variant you may have adopted.

smart

Once you have processed all of your notes it is time to start accomplishing things. Here is where STM provides some nice options for organizing your day depending on how you have setup you time management system. STM provides nice views of tasks organized by project, context, calendar, delagated and someday. Tapping any of these options brings up a list ordered by each “sub-category” you have defined for the primary “category”. In other words as you click on “Projects” you get a list of your projects which is collapsible. One gripe I have with the user interface is that the buttons to collapse or uncollapse are quite small, even for my somewhat small fingers.

ISMALLBUTTONS

Once you pick your next task to accomplish, STM provides some cool functionality for completing tasks. STM gives you the ability to move completed tasks to a specific notebook and/or flag a task as completed. You can chose your options for each task or you can apply the same settings for all tasks. To me this is very cool as it allows you to customize STM to your own workflow. In fact, my old EN task management workflow would work nicely with STM such that STM would provide a front end for EN AND I would still have the ability to check on/interact with my tasks within Evernote itself.

Overall, SmartTM. is not the same app as Everdo.it. Where Everdo.it was a working prototype, SmartTM is the final product. STM is an extremely flexible app that allows you to utilize whatever Evernote Task Management workflow you have created, but with a very slick front end. Or, STM is a great task management enhancement for those of you longing to find something better than Outlook Reminders while also leveraging the power of Evernote. Give SmartTM. a try, you won’t regret it.

DISCLOSURE: Links to SmartTM in this post are affiliate links. This means that if you click my link and purchase SmartTM, I make a little commission; kind of like what happens with the over of the clothing store when you buy that cool pair of jeans. Affiliate links cost you nothing but they help me keep this blog running. Thanks for your consideration!

DISCLOSURE#2: This is the first post completely written in Byword without the aid of Blogsy using its new publishing functionality. I used an app called PUPS to upload my screen shots directly to WordPress while also grabbing the link to insert into the post in Byword. Very cool AND quick!

2 comments

  1. Jeremy Joslin

    I’ve been using and don’t seem to understand what it means to “review” a task or “reference” a task. If you “review” it, it goes to the review bin. Why would I do that? Also, I just can’t figure out the “reference” a task sub-flow. Anyone use that?

    One thing that bugs me a little, is I will frequently send an email with something I need to work on, or respond to, into Evernote. Then it will end up in my SmartTM inbox. On the frequent occasion that I’ve already completed the task by the time I see it in my SmartTM inbox, I can’t archive it from the inbox. I can either delete it (No, because it usually has a reference doc I want to archive in EN), or create a task with 4 screens, and then mark it complete. Seems inefficient. Suggestions?

    Finally, I understand how SmartTM assigns tags to EN notes once processed. Doesn’t seem like I can manually add tags in EN to skip the “process” stage in SmartTM.

    • Jeremy,

      These are great suggestions. I will forward your comments along to the developers to get their comments/feedback vs. me just making my own suggestions.

      Thanks for the comment and stay tuned.

      -chris

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