Creating To-Dos that Actually Work: An Email to Evernote Workflow (Part 1)

Creating To-Dos that Actually Work: An Email to Evernote Workflow (Part 1)


Scott J. Grossberg, Esq.

Imagine, for a moment, receiving an email, finding a bit of web research or information, or coming up with a brainstorm idea and you want to turn that data into an instant reminder that you’ll actually look at later. What do you do now? Well, most of you (1) flag the email note or (2) create a separate task item in your Outlook program or (3) write something down on paper. My own research has shown that most of you, after doing one of these three things, then forget about what you flagged, entered, or jotted down. What you’re doing now is neither effective nor efficient. What if, instead, you had a way to take any information and create a to-do item that compels you to follow up? And what if you could do so with a simple email? In fact, you can even create the to-do item at the same time you are replying or forwarding an email to someone else.

Many of you who have attended my live iPad events have heard me talk about my workflow for creating massively powerful to-do lists. Today, I’m going to walk you through the precise technique. Before we actually get into the technique, you will need two apps for your iPad. One you already have – your email program. The other is Evernote. Don’t worry. You can get a free account at For those of you who might have visited Evernote in the past, Evernote released Evernote Reminders in May and it now allows you to create in-app and email alarms, note-based to-do lists, and you can pin a note to the top of the program’s note list. It is this powerful Evernote update that we will be using.

So . . . on to the BASIC SETUP . . . and don’t worry, this only needs to be done once (and if you want to take this to the next level, let me know because there’s even more that can be done with this type of programming).

STEP ONE. Sign up for Evernote. It’s free.

STEP TWO. Download the Evernote app at It, too, is free.

STEP THREE. Log in to Evernote from your desktop version or using your browser on your desktop or iPad. If you are using the desktop app, go to ACCOUNT INFO. If you are using the web version, go to SETTINGS. Locate your private Evernote email address.

STEP FOUR. Create a contact entry for your Evernote email. For example, in Contacts create the following: FIRST NAME: Evernote-John LAST NAME: Doe. Under the email address, enter the information from Step Two.

STEP FIVE. On your iPad, you will be creating a keyboard shortcut that looks like this “@fu.” That shortcut will create the following expanded text entry: “! @Follow-Up.” I’ll explain how to use all this later. For the moment, just create the shortcut by doing the following:

(2) Tap on GENERAL
(3) Tap on KEYBOARD
(4) Tap on SHORTCUTS
(5) Tap on the plus sign (+) at the top of the screen
(6) Under Phrase, type “! @Follow-Up” (without the quotation marks)
(7) Under Shortcut, type “@fu” (without the quotation marks)
(8) Tap SAVE.

STEP SIX. Now you are going to create a Notebook in Evernote called, “Follow-Up.” While you can create a Notebook from the iPad app, it’s actually easier to do so by using your desktop program or the web application. Let’s use the web application for this.

(2) Find the tab on the left that says, “NOTEBOOKS”
(3) Click on the small DOWN-ARROW ICON just to the right of that title and a “New Notebook . . .” message will appear
(4) Click on NEW NOTEBOOK
(5) When the “Create a New Notebook” screen appears, type in “Follow-Up” under the Notebook Name box
(6) Click SAVE.

STEP SEVEN. You don’t have to do this, but you can also set up TAGS in Evernote so that you can actually organize/filter/access your Follow-Up notes with even more precision. For example, you could create a tag for each employee in your office, a particular case, or create distinctions between personal and work entries. To create a Tag of your choosing:

(2) Find the tab on the left that says, “TAGS”
(3) Click on the small DOWN-ARROW ICON just to the right of that title and a “New Tag . . .” message will appear
(4) Click on NEW TAG
(5) When the “Create a New Tag” screen appears, type in the name you would like to use
(6) Click SAVE.

That’s it. You’re all set up to work some magic . . . which I’ll share with you next time!

If you enjoyed this, I’d be grateful if you share this with others. That’s right, go ahead and help spread this information by emailing it to a friend, or sharing it on Twitter, Facebook, or Google+. And, if you’re interested in finding out how I can make a presentation to your law firm or association, please contact me at 909-483-1850 or email me at

© 2013 by Scott Grossberg. All Rights Reserved.

Mr. Grossberg is a founding partner of the Southern California law firm of Cihigoyenetche, Grossberg & Clouse. He is a featured speaker and published author on numerous topics including media relations, social media, technology, public speaking, memory, and various other cutting edge concepts. Mr. Grossberg’s “iPad Lawyer” and “Million Dollar iPad” seminars provide business professionals with the ability to truly harness the potential of Apple’s tablet. He is regularly called upon to address the impact of emerging technology and social media, suggest policies and procedures that should be in place, and to discuss liability exposure for this new way of doing business. He can be reached at


One response to “Creating To-Dos that Actually Work: An Email to Evernote Workflow (Part 1)

  1. Thanks, Scott …


    Sent from my iPad –

    Pete Riley

    “The difference between Death and Taxes is that Death doesn’t get worse every time Congress meets …”
    … Will Rogers

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