Answering your question: so which one am I using: Springpad or Evernote? 24

Not surprisingly, I have been receiving a plethora of tweets & emails about this question.  Some a bit more courteous than others, I must admit! Let me start off by saying that I think Evernote and Springpad are two different apps that appeal to two different audiences … and for some, they may find a way to use them together.

Let me give you a perfect example — my wife. When I wrote my Evernote book, my wife just didn’t get it! It didn’t matter how much I tried showing her the benefits of Evernote … it just didn’t appeal to her.  I couldn’t believe that of anyone on the planet, I simply could not sell my wife on using Evernote. In fact, she refused so much, that she said she’d rather use those $1 magnet pads you buy at the local craft store and sticky notes to help her remember what she needs to do and buy. She didn’t like the setup, structure, and the way things went into the app. She thought that Evernote was … “too techie”! When I showed my wife the new Springpad as I was authoring the the new book … it just clicked! She got it! It was amazing. She read my book cover-to-cover, put her reading glasses down, looked up at me and said … now this is what I’m going to use! That was an awesome experience for me! 

Since my entire philosophy is about helping others become more productive – I am extremely aware that so many people didn’t feel as if Evernote was for them. But what I realized, through my wife, is that this is just the app so many have been looking for – a way to beautifully display the things they need and share with the people they trust … and for my wife, it’s sharing things such as our Costa Rica anniversary vacation planning & grocery lists with me! (You can see more of my examples by clicking here to see my public Springpad page.)  Then again, moms like Lauren Rothlisberger, the GetGeeky blog author and Evernote for Moms eBook author, does see how she can use Evernote as a mom.  

As an avid follower of GTD and a productivity author, I am keenly aware that not everyone uses Evernote for GTD purposes. One of the things I’ve known for some time is that GTD is not a “one size fits all” methodology — and that’s okay! As you know from my Evernote book and my posts is that David Allen’s book is fabulous for explaining what a trusted system should be, but falls short of explaining what we should be using for our trusted system. I completely understand why. Everyone’s GTD system is personal. When we really boil it down to it’s most basic fundamental levels, GTD is about 3 things: 1) having a trusted system; 2) getting your lists in order in that trusted system; and 3) attaining a “mind like water” to get things done.  

There have been over 9,000 people worldwide who have purchased my Evernote book. Of that number, hundreds have reached out who have said they are extremely loyal Springpad users but they were able to take ideas from my book and apply those ideas to their life in Springpad. Others reached out and said that they were going keep their todo app they loved so much, but again, were going to apply my ideas and methodologies to their current system. 

Authoring a book on Springpad, presents an option to many who do not use Evernote … like my wife! 🙂 It is about choices. As I noted, to some, the new Springpad may or may not be mutually exclusive to their use of Evernote. Since I don’t think they really compete with one another, it’s about another avenue by which others may benefit – even for Evernote devotees

In fact, just like my wife, I have had others reach out to me and let me know that notwithstanding their devotion to Evernote, they have found ways to utilize the new Springpad to create private projects with the people they trust, such as moving to a new house.  This one gentleman and his wife wanted to: 1) see their project in a “Pinterest-like” style; 2) have something that was private; and 3) instantly be alerted as to when one of them added or modified anything in the notebook – including tasks. As another example, just last night, I was contacted by someone who wants to write a guest post for this site. He’s an Evernote user, but created a privately shared notebook with me on Springpad so that we can both be advised as to when changes are being made and we can visually brainstorm in a way that Evernote does not provide. In my Springpad book, I provide many, many rich & vivid examples just like these.

Ultimately, is Evernote for everyone? No. Will Springpad be for everyone? No. The big question that I know is on everyone’s mind – “Am I switching today?” The whole point is that it’s not a matter of switching. To me, with the new Springpad, I do not believe that they are competitors

But many, like my wife, might just may start using an app for the first time to help them in becoming more productive as a result of the redesign and from reading my book. And, as a productivity author & presenter, if I have had any small impact on a single person’s life on the way he or she gets things done, I feel profoundly humbled & blessed to have had that opportunity!

I hope that helps and as always, I encourage you to provide your insights and feedback in the comments below!

About Daniel Gold

Daniel Gold is a productivity coach, keynote speaker, author, and podcaster. He is most well known for his eBooks, Evernote: The Unofficial Guide to Capturing Everything and Getting Things Done, Simplify your Life with Springpad, and Make it Happen: How to Write, Publish, and Sell Your eBook. Daniel is also the co-host of the GTD® Virtual Study Group podcast.

  • thanks for a wonderful “choose what works for you” post. i have been a springpad user, came across your blog when friends encouraged me to switch to evernote, got your eBook, have not made the switch, … however have added other apps to compliment what i use springpad for (such as your overall “productivity” shares and examples have been great to try out “tools” and approaches. with that said, looking forward to the new features/deisgned springpad and your continued sharing.

  • Hi Daniel,

    Thanks for the fun and enlightening post! I was wondering, too. 🙂 And by the way, I just got back from Costa Rica and have visited there several times. Happy to share recommendations if any are needed.

    Pura vida!

  • I confess that once I upgraded to Evernote premium my usage of the old style Springpad sort of died.The old Springpad really lived – or hibernated – in the shadow of Evernote but this new version is just amazing.  I didn’t really “get” the previous version, it was too “me too” but with this new incarnation Springpad has come out from the wings and is standing in the spotlight.

  • From a mobile blogger, shirlnutkin, that Disqus didn’t catch: 

    thanks for a wonderful “choose what works for you” post. i have been a springpad user, came across your blog when friends encouraged me to switch to evernote, got your eBook, have not made the switch, … however have added other apps to compliment what i use springpad for (such as your overall “productivity” shares and examples have been great to try out “tools” and approaches. with that said, looking forward to the new features/deisgned springpad and your continued sharing. 

  • Thanks so much, Kevin! I feel so great hearing that from you!!

  • Tara – wow, so happy to hear you say that!! It truly means a lot!!  And, yes, we’ll definitely have to swap Costa Rica stories!! I miss eating beans & rice for breakfast!!

  • mcd78

    Thanks for writing an explanation Dan.  I tried Springpad again after your recommendation, but it still has the same problem as always, it is just painful to work with.  There is a noticeable lag when clicking anything.  The built in logic is excellent!  Gotta give them a lot of credit for that.  I will wait and see how it goes for them.

  • You didnt answer the question 😉  J/K. Great write-up. I am staying with Evernote. I am just to invested there and I know from experience that EN is always adding things and getting bettre and while Evernote did some great things that I really like, I still think for simple productive functionality Evernote is just hard to beat. Also with the Trunk things are going to keep improving. I can see someone doing some sort of springpad like design to lay over EN and put it in the trunk at some point. 

  • jose Martinez


    Thank you for Info.  I like yourself find myself using both Apps.  My day to day Logs, Todo’s& pics of my whiteboards for WORK (IT) projects are all in evernote.  My grocery List, movie list and more personal quick notes are managed by Springpad.  I can see how EVERNOTE is bit more techi but like that about it, plus the synchronization between app & mobile devices never fails and is quick.  I have found Springpad to be bit slower but that may a result of all the personal stuff i have no it.

  • Hi Daniel,

    great post again! Thanks a lot! I am reading your springpad-book and like it a lot. For my workflow I’ll definitely stay with evernote. After your article on the livescribe pen, I also re-activated my smartpen. So far I had been using it for conferences and meetings, but not really in daily life, but that has changed and it goes perfect with evernote.
    Springpad will be for private projects and a beautiful way to make wishlists 🙂
    I also do not think that it is about choosing, but that evernote, springpad (and pinterest) can co-exist and improve our productive lives!


  • Dduttry

    Hi Stephany, I also use LiveScribe in connection with Evernote. I have a blog for Evernote/LiveScribe power users. Why not take a look. Love to have you aboard at:

  • David Duttry

    Daniel, read all comments by your followers and I can see why you introduced Springpad again. I, of course, am deep into Evernote and value it more each day as my number of notebooks and not gets into the 1,000s The search feature, filing system and tagging gives me quick accsess to material almost gone from my memory. But then, I am 71 years old. Here is hoping you direct your followers to my blog. 

  • Thanks so much for the amazing comments!! That means so much to me!!! 🙂

  • That’s great, David!  Thanks so much!! You do have a wonderful blog!!

  •  Hi David,

    thanks! I added your blog to my google reader.


  • Ken

    The new springpad is getting some terrible initial reviews in the app stores. Mostly just people resistant to change. Unfortunately, there are tons of bugs in the iPhone and Android apps right now. I liked the new features and i’m hoping they are going to be fixed right away. People will get to the new look and features, but they won’t tolerate a product that doesn’t work.

  • Thanks, Ken, for your feedback! I know the team at Springpad is listening to everyone’s comments & feedback! I’m positive that once the kinks are worked out, we’ll find a lot of happy users!

  • Daniel,

    I rarely comment on blog posts, I felt compelled today.

    I think this blog post is very consistent with any message you have conveyed to me: No one system is right for everyone. Learn / take a little bit from each system or application and apply it to what works for you in GTD.

    If it is Evernote, Springpad or any any other platform.

    In the short time I have gotten to know you personally, reading your material – it has been clear to me your loyalty is to GTD and helping people. Not software.

    I know I am more productive and better for it.

    Thank you!

  • I really appreciate that feedback! You hit the #GTD nail on the head: it’s about the process *not* about the software. Pick what works best for you, make it your trusted system, and achieve a “mind like water”.  It’s about the process; and the fact I was able to have an impact on so many for Evernote is deeply humbling.  The fact that in 5 days, I’ve had an impact on hundreds more for Springpad is incredible.  There are so many that take nuggets from my writings and apply to their own personal GTD system … and in the end, it’s all about getting things done!  Thanks again, Jason!

  • The value of the “sandwich theory” of #management works for even technical product issues. It #motivates & #inspires others to do better.

    In particular, I think it is important to provide positive feedback mixed in with the constructive comments – it’s something one of Directors within our organization likes to call the “sandwich theory” of management (start off with something nice to say as the top layer of bread, address the issues in the middle as the meat, and then end off with something positive in the end).  

    Let me give you an example of how positive feedback will lift the spirits of even a troublesome call.  I was just on the phone yesterday with a customer support representative from my wireless phone carrier.  In that call, I had some issues.  However, it was the way in which I communicated those issues to her – and the way in which she responded to me – that made all the difference in the world.  In the end, I was so pleased with how wonderful she was, that I asked to speak with her supervisor just so that I can let her know what an incredible job she did with me.  It meant so much to the rep and her supervisor that I took time out of my day to praise her for doing a great job; especially since all the majority of calls they get are just angry customers.  I am positive that she is receiving many e-mails and kudos because of the great feedback.  It took the issues I was having away and I can promise you that she will be striving to do better every day as a result.

    What’s the takeaway here? My grandmother was right after all.  You attract more flies with honey than you do with vinegar. No doubt there are so technical issues that the Springpad team is aware of and are currently addressing.  I think while it’s important to point out the issues in a constructive fashion, it’s equally important to highlight what you may like about the changes. I am equally positive that if you continue to highlight what you do like sprinkled in with what troubles you (by the way, I don’t have the same issues you’ve described on my end), it will likely get resolved even faster!

    I hope you have a great day, Ed, and if I can do anything at all for you, please let me know! Thanks!!

  • I was a Springpad user until their new 3.0 update, which was the most destructive update I have ever seen released for an app/service.  It’s not even an update really, it’s a completely different product now.  What was once a personal organizer is now a glorified Pinterest ripoff with an nonviable social media model.  I honestly don’t even know what I’m looking at anymore, indeed one of my favorite features (the corkboard) is now gone.  It no longer offers an offline ability via Chrome either.

    I don’t see how anyone could use this for GTD.  It is now a bug riddled, clunky, bloated pile of useless crap.  They have clearly abandoned their user base in the hopes of attracting a new one, probably one that’s been swept up in all the silly Pinterest mania (which itself is little more than a visual bookmarking service).  They deserve very bit of the pummeling and bad publicity they are now getting.  Pathetic.

  • Thanks for the post.  In your Evernote ebook you highlight the great Evernote offline access and use of it with your clients.  How do you manage offline needs/requirements through Springpad?

  • Kenny – fantastic question. So, the short answer is that on the mobile devices you can access your critical Springpad notes (i.e., client information, travel documents, etc). However, on the desktop, there is currently no offline access similar to Evernote. If that is a “must have” in your list of criteria, I’d definitely stay with Evernote. However, if it is not something that is a must, it might be worth trying out Springpad to see if it fits your needs. Again, remember, it’s about the process, not so much the tools! Focus in on what is absolutely most important and what you need most – and from there, the tool will be obvious to you! Does that help? Cheers!

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