How to use FollowUpThen and Gmail to create recurring tasks in Evernote 5


Guest Post by Johnny McClung (@theipadpc)

In Daniel’s post about reminders, he talks about how they were a welcomed feature to Evernote users. While the addition of reminders is wonderful, Evernote still does not handle recurring tasks. This is a feature that, I believe, would help many people. Previously, I had a daily tag that handled all my daily tasks. However, this was cumbersome. What should I do once the task was completed. I could not delete it because it would not be there for tomorrow. I could copy it and then delete one, but that also seems a hassle. I needed a fix. Dan introduced me to a cool service that provided the fix: FollowUpThen.

How does FollowUpThen work?

You send an email to the service and it will return the email at the time you specified. For example, if you send an email to tomorrow@followupthen.com, it would return the email to you tomorrow to remind you. There are a variety of formats that FolloUpThen accepts. You could send it to a specific date, july5@followupthen.com; a time, 3pm@followupthen.com; or an interval of time, 3weeks@followupthen. Recurring reminders is also an option, which we will be using. To see a complete list of formats click here.

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Getting started with FollowUpThen. Just go to FollowUpThen.com and enter your gmail address. This service is free, but they also have a paid service that allows you to edit your reminders online. The free service allows you to edit your reminders through email.

Setting up forwarding is easy in Gmail. You’ll need to log into your account and click on the settings button. Then, click on the Forwarding and POP/IMAP tab and click on add a forwarding address. Here you will enter your personal Evernote email address which can be found in your Evernote account settings. Gmail will send you a confirmation email to prove that you control the email to which you are trying to forward. Open up Evernote and click the link in the email that Gmail sent.

You are now ready to set up a filter to tell Gmail which emails you want forwarded. Click on the filter tab, and click on Create a new filter which will bring up a dialog box that had common email properties. In the From field, enter noreply@followupthen.com, then click create filter with this search.

The next box asks what to do with the emails. The only thing you need to do is check forward it to: and click the dropdown box, selecting your Evernote email address. Since I wanted the emails to go straight to Evernote, I checked Skip the Inbox. To ensure that it works, I also applied a label. However, if you just want to get rid of it, I suggest just checking Delete it. Then hit create filter.

Now you need to send your email to FollowUpThen. Create a new email with the subject being the recurring task and send it to the FollowUpThen address that contains how often the task recurs. Since Evernote allows you to specify notebook, tags and even reminders from the subject line, you can set this up to go to your task folder with appropriate tags. Go to this Knowledge Base article for complete details.

This is how I set mine up. The trash is picked up every Thursday morning. I sent an email to 6ameverythursday@followupthen.com. The subject was take out trash @!tasks #!today. This I put into my !tasks folder with the tag !today. I set it for 6am so that it would be there when I wake up in the morning and look at the tasks that needed to be completed today.

FollowUpThen is a wonderful service to help remind you of things. Now that Evernote has reminders, its usefulness has diminished. The Evernote client for Windows does not have reminders yet, so take advantage of FollowUpThen for it’s reminders and to add recurring reminders to Evernote.

Editor’s Note: I truly couldn’t be more thrilled about Johnny’s guest post. Johnny is a client of mine. We have worked together using Skype over the last few months in putting his Evernote and GTD system together. It has been a joy working with Johnny. Knowing where he started and where he is today because of the work we did together makes me incredibly happy. This post and his new blog truly bolster this point. If you would like assistance with your Evernote and GTD setup, please contact me!


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.

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  • MartinHughHarvey

    You might consider archive instead of Delete. In the filter you can also leave it as Unread so it’s visible. Also if you enable Multiple Inboxes in Labs you can show them in a separate filtered list (for instance under the chosen label). Note Multiple Inboxes conflicts with the new Split Inbox view.

    The screen shot for thr the filter looks like an old one – in the current iteration I’d recommend ticking “Exclude from SmartLabel categorization”.

    Sending an email to pending@followupthen.com will return a list of all your followups.

    Finally you can use the domain fut.io to save a few key strokes.

    • Johnny McClung

      Very good points. I originally had it set up to skip the inbox (archive) and apply a label. That was only to make sure the emails were coming and going correctly. However, since I just want the email to end up in Evernote, I have no use for it in gmail, hence deleting it.

      I took the screen shots as I wrote the post from my current gmail setup.

      Thank you for adding the two last tricks.

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  • Joshua

    So useful. Thanks!