Recurring Checklists in Evernote

Feb 20, 2015
Joe Buhlig
~2 mins

One of the first notes many Evernote users create is a checklist of some kind. It could be a grocery list, a to-do list for the day, or a morning routine.

But what happens when it’s a list that you’ll use multiple times or at regular intervals? It might be a packing list for travel or a checklist for how to do something. You have a situation where you need to duplicate that checklist or reuse it.

The Problem

I wanted to keep my morning routine checklist in Evernote. I created my list of items and added checkboxes so I could be excited when seeing a bunch of marked off to-dos. It was great!

The first day was fine. I pulled up the list and worked through it without any issues. The second day posed a problem. I had already checked off the items on the list. I needed to duplicate the list so I could reuse it. But I didn’t want to introduce any manual steps to the process. I wanted to pull up Evernote and have it ready to go every time.

Attempted Solutions

  1. Duplicate the note

    I could copy the note and uncheck all the items, but that was too many steps for a simple morning routine. And it would introduce manual steps.

  2. Use IFTTT

    I tried setting up an IFTTT recipe that would create a new note in the night at like 3am. That meant the note would show up automatically without me doing anything. This would have worked, but it didn’t have a way to add the checkboxes. I really wanted the checkboxes.

  3. TextExpander

    I explored the use of TextExpander to quickly add the items to a new note every morning. But again, that was a handful of steps to create the note, tag it, and then add the items to it. I wanted it to be there automatically.

  4. Remove, then Add Checkboxes

    You can select the entire list and click the checkbox shortcut to remove all the checkboxes. If you click it again, it will add checkboxes to all of the items. The new checkboxes are unchecked. Great! But I’m really lazy. Again, I wanted it to happen automatically.

My Solution

I finally landed on a ridiculously simple solution that worked for me while I was on a business trip. I had pulled up my packing list for traveling and checked everything off. I went on my trip. When I was packing up in the hotel to head home, I again pulled up my packing list. I was on my phone at the time so instead of duplicating the note or deleting/adding the checkboxes, I simply started unchecking the boxes as I packed things. When I was done, my packing list was ready for another trip. And I didn’t have to do anything!

Instead of trying to recreate the note or the checklist, I simply undid the work I did before. I started applying it to my other lists and found it really simple. And I don’t have to do anything! I can just use it.