Creating To-Dos that Actually Work: An Email to Evernote Workflow (Part 2)

Creating To-Dos that Actually Work: An Email to Evernote Workflow (Part 2)


Scott J. Grossberg, Esq.

In my last article, I walked you through the steps for the basic Evernote setup that I use to create powerful To-Dos. This time, we’re going to explore putting this programming to use. As a reminder, imagine you have received an email from someone that you want to turn into an effective to-do item.

STEP ONE. “Forward” the email. In the “To” box you will enter your private Evernote email address.

STEP TWO. In the Subject Line AFTER the text that already exists, type the keyboard shortcut, “@fu” (without the quotes). The shortcut that you created during the setup will now autocomplete and add the following at the end of your Subject Line: “! @Follow-Up” (absent the quote marks).

STEP THREE. If all you want to do is create the reminder without a specific due date in Evernote, hit SEND.

That’s all there is to this bare bones blueprint. Three easy steps that anyone can do on the fly to ensure an effective task/to-do/reminder workflow. You can follow the same process, by the way, when you hit “Reply.”

But what if you want to take this all to the next level and start specifying dates for your reminders? Worry not. There’s an iPad Lawyer fix for that, too!

When creating/forwarding/replying to an email that you also want to serve as a reminder for you, use the following expanded formula:


So, for example, an email subject line might look like this:

FWD: Set up Call with Roger !tuesday @Follow-Up #denise

When you hit SEND, you will automatically create an Evernote reminder called “Set up Call with Roger” that will be in your “Follow-Up” notebook with a tag for “denise.” It will also create a reminder for the following Tuesday and you will receive an email in addition to a pop-up reminder on your iPad/iPhone. If you’re going to use this expanded formula (rather the basic one), I suggest changing your keyboard shortcut to the following phrase: “! @Follow-Up #” (without the quotes). You will keep the same shortcut of “@fu.” It is a simple thing, then, to put in the timing after the “!” and the tag name after the “#.”

As far as the date setting, you have some options. As I indicated, above, you can use some simple, natural language commands like @tomorrow, @monday, @1week, etc. If you want even more specificity, Evernote uses the detailed following date format: YEAR/MONTH/DATE or “!YYYY/MM/DD.” In other words, one of your entries might look like this: !2014/01/15 @Follow-up #denise. That sets a reminder specifically for January 15, 2014 in your Follow-Up notebook and tags the name “denise” for further filtering.

As far as setting the time for your reminder, Evernote defaults to 8:00 am. This means you will receive an email reminder on your iPad or iPhone at 8:00 am each morning for which there is a reminder scheduled. You can easily go into the Evernote app (using the iPad app, the web-based version or the desktop version) and create a time-specific reminder other than 8:00 am, although the 8:00 am warning should serve you quite well.

To recap:

DO THE ONE-TIME SETUP. This creates your keyboard shortcut and your Evernote Notebook and tags that you will use in your emails.

MAKE A HABIT OF USING EMAIL TO CREATE YOUR EVERNOTE REMINDERS. The best workflow practices are only as good as how consistently you implement them.

CHECK YOUR REMINDERS. Don’t be one of those people who go to all the effort of setting your reminders only to have them collect digital dust in your Evernote folder. The idea here is to make you incredibly productive by clearing things off your to-do list as effortlessly as possible. If you keep revisiting your Reminders and putting off tasks, you are simply wasting more of your precious time.

I know that this Evernote workflow will serve you as magically as it serves me. And it’s very painless to employ.

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



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