What note taking and task manager apps work best together

Kevink

Registered
Hi All,

Newbie here to GTD. I've recently started a new job as an engineering manager and know that my personal task management systems of my old days, or lack there of, would prevent me from succeeding in my new role . I came across GTD when researching productivity methods and I think it could be a very good fit for me. I'm currently about 75% through the GTD book and am starting to consider my different options for how to setup my GTD system and would appreciate the advice of some experienced GTD veterans.

I would prefer to go all digital if possible and I'm looking for recommendations for applications which work on Windows and Android. I was a little surprised to find in my research that most people seem to use separate note taking and task management applications. I thought there would be a application out there which provides both good note taking and task management toolsets but that doesn't seem to be the case. For reference, I'll typically be taking notes either directly on a laptop or handwritten on my Samsung Tab S7+ tablet with the stylus.

I'm in a lot of meetings as part of my job and therefore take a lot of meeting notes. Within a single meeting note, l typically write down several unique actions which I need to address and would like to then sync these into a task manager Inbox as individual tasks or new projects. Many of the smart automation tools I've looked at (Zapier, Pleexy, etc) seem to only be able to link at the entire note level and not down to items within the note (ie. Zapier can make a new task for the whole note in a task app but can't make 4 individual tasks for the actual actions I have written down within the note). Is that correct?

From a time management perspective, copying all of my actions from a note app and entering them into a task tracking app manually seems incredibly wasteful which is why I have to imagine that someone has already solved this problem. Does anyone have a recommendations for apps which work well for this type of automation? Using OneNote as an example, I would love it if there was a way to make every To-Do checkbox item within a note automatically sync into a task manager as a new task.

What I'm currently exploring as apps to use are the following. I'm open to all ideas and suggestions though on what would work best with the smoothest integration and I'm ok with paying for premium subscriptions if needed. Support for handwritten notes in the Notes apps isn't 100% required but would be a strongly nice-to-have feature given my current note taking style.
Note taking: OneNote, Samsung Notes, EverNote, Notion (not sure if Notion is better for notes or task management or could be used for both)
Task Manager: Todoist, Microsoft ToDo, Notion

Thanks for the help and advice.
 

Jared Caron

Healthcare Quality & Safety pro; GTD enthusiast
In my experience, the best note-taking application is also the oldest: pen and paper. This does require some manual entry of actions into a digital list manager, but somehow it always seems more agile to me (I do a bit of both and it works).

If you really want to get digital and avoid paper, I would suggest OneNote (notes & reference) + Outlook (email & tasks) + MS ToDo (tasks on mobile). This is probably the most integrated combination I have found. Also since the integration is all built-in from Microsoft, it doesn't require any configuration.

There are setup guides for Outlook and MS Todo on Connect that will save you lots of time messing with unnecessary feature and help you get context lists set up cleanly and simply.

In OneNote (at least on desktop) there is an option to turn a line/list item/etc. into an Outlook task, which will then automatically sync with MS todo. You will still need to organize that item onto the appropriate context list, but otherwise, it's pretty streamlined.

OneNote also integrates well with Outlook calendar for meeting notes and has a button for emailing the notes to all (including yourself) afterward. Very useful.

Anyways, welcome to GTD! You will find that this method has many layers of mastery, and each one is rewarding as you uncover it.
 

talundbl

Registered
From a time management perspective, copying all of my actions from a note app and entering them into a task tracking app manually seems incredibly wasteful which is why I have to imagine that someone has already solved this problem
I used to think this way too. But I think there is a distinction to be made between ease of “capture” of thoughts and ideas and it being too easy to throw underdeveloped tasks into a good task list. I’ve found that with digital tools and integration thereof it is easy for your digital task list to become an unmanageable mess real fast. The task list should be intentional, so sometimes it is good to throw a bit of sand in the wheels.
Many things that I was putting in my task list before really need further gestation in project support or some other list before “graduating” to a proper to do item.
Just some food for thought. But I’m no master; just a guy trying to figure it out too!
 

Sojourner

Registered
From a time management perspective, copying all of my actions from a note app and entering them into a task tracking app manually seems incredibly wasteful which is why I have to imagine that someone has already solved this problem. Does anyone have a recommendations for apps which work well for this type of automation?
Sounds like you may want to at least give a look at Dynalist.io . I use it for general notes and reference. It works in an outline style structure, which is how I write my notes when I'm using pen and paper. Here is a link to the demo page, you can try it out without even signing up: https://dynalist.io/demo/zGF4ozIIEEzkbFUKE-8Z5xgQ

It won't sync directly with any particular task list manager, but Dynalist could become your task list manager as you can quickly turn any note into checkbox list tasks. You can even add due dates and tags. Any individual note can become its own new sub-page with additional sub-notes and tasks. It works across all major platforms as an app, or on any modern web enabled device. You can even export your notes and with the Pro version you can do some syncing with Google calendar. It's simple to setup folders and "files", just like you would in a typical computer operating system. The free version is pretty full featured.

I would be using Dynalist as my task manager now, but I already have too much invested in NirvanaHQ, so I use it just for note taking and reference. It's my backup though if anything ever happened to Nirvana. :)
 

McInerney

Registered
Nozbe Personal + Evernote

Direct integration is spot on.

I personally use pen & paper alot. The acting of writing seems to help embed thoughts more deeply, or structure actions more clearly (there is some science to back this idea up). For these I regularly scan into Evernote.

My bullet proof GTD system is Nozbe Personal + Evernote + Pen/Paper.

(Also have a few Zapier actions so a new project in Nozbe automatically creates a new note in Evernote and a new Context/Category creates a new tag in Evernote.)

Not found a better set of integrations, that cover all bases.
 
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