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March 16, 2012 / playforth

Remember when

The problem

Deadlines! Unlike Douglas Adams, I don’t love the whooshing noise they make as they go by. I may have the creative soul of a poet but I also have the methodical DNA of a second-generation cataloguer, and lately I’ve felt the need to manage several varieties of deadline:

1. personal writing deadlines – at the moment it’s the closing dates for two poetry competitions I’m planning to enter

2. externally imposed copy deadlines – mostly for reviews in The Frogmore Papers and the odd other publication, blog etc

3. work/librarianesque deadlines – my day to day work isn’t very deadline-centric, luckily, but I do sometimes have to write time-limited papers, briefings, instructions, proposals etc (currently due – a lighting talk proposal for a conference)

I started adding due dates and deadlines to my to-do lists in Evernote, and I already review these regularly, but it doesn’t really help push deadlines to the front of my mind when they’re approaching. I also use Trello for a specific project, which does allow due dates to be set and checked off, but doesn’t do alerts (I don’t think). I could add deadlines to an existing calendar and set a reminder, but I don’t really want to clutter up my shared Google calendar which I use for organising family life, or my Outlook calendar which is full of work events. Or I could use a entirely separate organizer tool like ToodleDo. All these options involve either duplication with Evernote, or giving up Evernote for this kind of thing altogether.

The (partial) solution

I have added the deadlines as private events to my Google calendar and colour-coded them so they stand out. I’ve then used Google’s multiple reminder option to set email reminders for around a week before the deadline, the day before, and the day itself. This may seem like overkill but if I’m pulling together a piece of writing I do need at least a week’s run-up, plus a spur to action nearer the time. Why is this only a partial solution? Well, I like using Evernote to manage my to-do lists and would ideally like to integrate reminder alerts with the information I’m already entering there. I have seen an iCal Evernote app, but nothing for Android or desktop calendars/reminder tools – though to be fair at some point not far into my search my brain started to shout TOO MANY APPS at me and went off to do something less geeky.

The magic bullet?

As you’ve probably gathered, I’m building up to asking whether anyone can point me in the direction of something that works with Evernote to include multiple reminders. Or some other entirely marvellous solution that I haven’t thought of. You will earn the eternal gratitude of a nerdy poet.

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