Introduction to #Scrintal (how-to).

    On Scrintal, our notes and their connections are all in one place, where you can view or work on them. And there are plenty of features, like tags, tasks, bookmarks, and even a Kanban that you can learn how to use by watching today’s video.

    💚 I just finished moving all my tasks back to #Evernote. The new notebook tab is even better than I had expected. I’m keeping notebooks with recurring tasks collapsed, which makes all the other tasks highly visible. I am looking forward to seeing that tab in the mobile app in the future.

    📝 I had to go back to #Evernote Tasks.

    I was pretty happy with my system running on Google Tasks, but there are so many new things happening to Evernote Tasks that I had to go back.

    Not too long ago, I wrote about moving my tasks from app to app and how good it is to rely on a system instead of an app. In other words, it means that I can basically make it work anywhere.

    Yesterday I mentioned that Evernote had made the full-page Tasks available to many of us, including me, and that I would use it for a while before expressing my opinion. I also hinted to the possibility of tasks coming to the calendar. Well, as illustrated by the tweet below, that one was quick.

    There you have it. I’m back to Evernote Tasks and will be sharing my insights with you along the way.

    Is Evernote becoming an everything app?

    There are many changes coming to Evernote. I don’t see any problem with the app becoming more feature-rich, but I do have concerns about how it is done.

    Two recent tweets from Federico Simionato, the product lead at Evernote, have led me to believe that the app is on track to become something different. There is currently a space for files being built, and many new features for Tasks are being discussed. Additionally, he told me in a recent conversation that he sees potential for Evernote to become a personal hub.

    I don’t see any problem with the app becoming more feature-rich, but I do have concerns about how it is done. Evernote has a very intuitive structure. Notes, inside notebooks and tags to filter notes in a notebook or across many notebooks. That’s how simple it is to understand and use.

    Thus far, each new feature that has been incorporated is layered upon this framework. Here’s an example: tasks and calendar entries are always connected to notes. And thankfully, it doesn’t look like the proposed Files feature is trying to compete with Dropbox, Google Drive, etc. It seems to be just another way to interact with the files we already have in our notes.

    Out of Place

    But based on the recent image shared on Twitter, it seems like the ‘new Tasks’ will not be aligned with Evernote’s framework anymore. It feels to me that it doesn’t belong there, as if an existing task management app has been implanted in Evernote. If this is the case, it may create some problems.

    Some of the new ideas, such as ‘Projects,’ may introduce a new layer of classification and categorization of information, which may break the simple structure that makes the app so intuitive.

    The Spaces feature on Evernote Teams is a great example of what I’m trying to convey. Just like a Stack, a Space is a group of notebooks. So when should one use one or another? To further complicate the understanding of how things work there, a note can be created outside a notebook in Evernote Teams. If you are an Evernote user, please tell me if this doesn’t feel like a crime.

    To be honest, Stacks and Spaces exist for different purposes and are intended for different uses. But they look the same. So much so that it takes me some time to help my clients understand and assimilate the differences between a Stack and a Space.

    There’s no other way to say it: Evernote Teams is not intuitive at all. If you have never used it, I suggest you watch the video below to see how confusing things can get.

    Another Tasks App

    Evernote was never a task management app. Tasks were elegantly incorporated, respecting the note-notebook system, and that’s what makes Evernote Tasks unique.

    To be clear, I’m not questioning the need for or use of “Projects” or any other possible new feature like “Priority”. However, adding them has the potential to create distraction, since Evernote will have to compete with well-established task apps. Think about it: how many new features or variations of a feature are enough? How many colors of Flags do you need? How many types of Priorities? What about “Subprojects” or other ideas people have in the future?

    Users will never be fully satisfied because there are too many ways to do things. They’ll start to compare Evernote Tasks to dedicated apps like Things, Todoist, etc. In other words, this will constantly create pressure on the development team to catch up.

    Evernote is already lacking basic options and settings for features like Templates, Calendar, and even the editor. The situation is the same when we look at other apps that try to do everything. It’s like the old saying: try to do everything, and you won’t be good at anything.

    I believe that using the simple, yet powerful framework of the app would allow people to create whatever innovative tasks system they come up with without having to wait for Bending Spoons to release the desired features.

    Notebooks names could be used as a filter for grouping tasks inside a notebook, instead of introducing the new “Projects” layer. And if tags could be added to tasks, it would mean another filter option allowing each person to create their own priorities, flags, and anything else they want. This would make Evernote Tasks a space for users to create their own systems instead of complaining about Bending Spoons not working on new features.

    Unfortunately, I believe the short-term easy option will prevail. They’ll just give the users another Tasks app like so many out there and hope for the best. Which seems to me like opening a can of worms. I can even imagine it leading to a dedicated task app. After all, there’s no way to compete on equal terms if your tasks are inside a notes app. It takes far too many steps to create a task.

    Can you see how this can lead to an uncontrollable situation?

    Loosing Focus

    The current simplicity of Evernote results in limitations that serve as boundaries, and as a result, numerous non-tech-savvy individuals can efficiently organize their lives. People frequently tell me Evernote’s simple framework helps them with focus. This is not a small group of people, but they are silent on social media. So, I am trying to be as loud as possible for them.

    However, I’m just one voice, and we may be already witnessing the birth of an entirely new experience with many new features and layers upon layers of configurations and categorizations. An Evernote that unfortunately has the potential to make many people’s lives much harder.

    Google Tasks is just too convenient not to use

    I had already moved my Evernote tasks to Obsidian with the help of the Tasks plugin, but I found out that Google Tasks was a better fit for my needs.

    Even though I don’t like tasks, if you check out my videos about Evernote Tasks, you’ll see that I had a system in place for birthdays, bills, and other paperwork for my company. For everything else, I always use Kanban boards.

    Similar to many other journeys I shared with you in the past, this one is also about experimenting and finding the best option for my specific needs. As I always say, it’s more important to create a good system that works for you than to try to find a magical app.

    Did you know?

    Although the Android and iOS apps were available from the very beginning, it used to be that the task drawer (1) was the only way to interact with your to-dos in a browser. That changed a while ago. You can also use Tasks as standalone application by clicking the icon at the top of the screen (2) or visiting tasks.google.com.

    All the features are identical, but the dedicated page is more visual. You can reorder lists or move tasks to different positions in a list or to different lists. It behaves more like a Kanban board, but that’s not the reason I switched to Google Tasks.

    Another important piece of information to keep in mind is that it doesn’t matter how many lists you create or delete; the first one provided by Google will always be the default list. You can rename or reorder it, but there’s no way to delete the default list. More on that latter.

    Why have I switched?

    There are many reasons. Let’s start with the fact that I have Google Assistant devices all over my home and office, and that makes it super easy for me to create tasks hands-free. There is a caveat, though. All tasks created this way will be saved in the default list. And because of this detail, I had to make a small modification to my system. We’ll get there.

    Another convenient feature is seeing my tasks on the Hub Max. It recognizes my face when I look at it and shows my upcoming calendar entries and tasks. And that’s not all. I can even use the touchscreen to see more tasks and mark them as completed.

    Then there is my Android phone, where I can also interact with the assistant using voice commands, even when I’m jogging. And, of course, I can use the widget to see what tasks are coming up.

    These features are too convenient to ignore.

    My system

    I only have two lists. The first one is called Activities and it’s all about recurring dates. To understand it, I invite you to watch the video below, even if you are not an Evernote user. That’s the exact system that I have transferred to Obsidian and am currently using on Google Tasks. Including the emojis 😉.

    Regarding the other list, it is the default list, even though it is ordered as the second one in my system. Everything I need to buy, from groceries to items for woodworking and other similar projects, goes on that list. It must be the default list because, more often than not, I ask Google Assistant to add items there.

    I don’t know why, but at the time of writing this article, there’s no way to make another list the default one. I have learned this the hard way, but you don’t need to. Plan ahead and figure out what kind of tasks you’ll be asking the Assistant to add more often. That should help you with your default list.

    Activities is the list I want to always keep an eye on, and that’s why it’s the first one. Every time I open the calendar, I see it. As for the other one, I only need it when I’m shopping and can easily open Google Tasks on my phone to check the items.

    But what if I told you that I never open the Tasks app on my phone? Each list has its own widget, which allows me to view the tasks, mark them as completed, and even create new ones. Again, Google Tasks is too convenient to ignore.

    One thing I’m always trying to do is remove potential complications from my systems. In the past, I tried splitting shopping items into a grocery list and a projects list, but that only added more friction to the system, as I had a third list to deal with. Since I rarely have a lot of items to buy, my human brain is capable enough to easily tell what is what on the Shopping list.

    Naturally, the number of items that have been completed on this that will increase exponentially, but that’s okay because they go to a collapsed space when marked as completed. However, if you really want a spotless list, the ‘Delete all completed tasks’ option will delete only the completed items on that list. So I can easily clean up my Shopping list without messing with my Activities list.

    That’s it. As I said before, I manage everything else using Kanban boards because they give me a much better view of the status of each project. But that’s a story for another day.

    I switched to Google Tasks

    I’ve recently switched to Google Tasks, and there are a few clues as to why in this article. But detailed information is coming soon. I’m currently working on a script for a video explaining the hacks I used to build my system and why it might be a better choice, depending on what Apps and devices you use.

    And talking about tasks, there are many videos on my channel about Evernote Tasks and the tutorial below explaining how to set up and use the Obsidian Tasks plugin.