Note To Self Android App

Part of my GTD system includes sending notes to myself in order to capture anything that comes to mind that I’ll want later. Android’s “note to self” voice action is great for this kind of thing.

To reduce my inboxes, I’ve created Gmail filters to forward the notes to my Evernote inbox. Every email with the subject line “Note To Self” is marked as read, forwarded, and then archived. The note will then appear in my Evernote inbox and I won’t have to deal with it in Gmail. I also get a Gmail backup of my notes if I ever need.

I don’t always want to talk into my phone, though, so I’ve just been using the Android’s Gmail app to send emails to myself with the subject “nts” (Note To Self), which also triggers my Evernote forwarding filter. The Gmail app is nice, because even if you don’t have Internet access, you can still save the notes as email drafts.

I do have Evernote’s app, but I don’t like using it for entering notes. Android apps are really just a stack of Activities. Long story short, depending on how you close an app, the app will start on a different activity/screen.

When I enter a note, I don’t want to figure out what screen I’m on first and then navigate accordingly. I want something repeatable, so I can build muscle memory and increase efficiency. I mainly use the Evernote app to see what needs to be done while on the run.

Here’s what I was doing to capture things that came to mind:

  1. Press the phone’s power button
  2. Unlock the phone
  3. Tap the gmail app
  4. Tap the new email button
  5. Type “an”
  6. Tap my email that popped up
  7. Tap <Done> on the keyboard
  8. Type “nts”
  9. Tap <enter> on the keyboard
  10. Enter the note
  11. Tap the send button
  12. Tap the send confirmation

I figured I could automate some of these steps, so I decided to write an Android app that would open Gmail for me with the address and subject already filled out.

Now, my steps have dwindled to:

  1. Press the phone’s power button
  2. Unlock the phone
  3. Tap Note To Self app
  4. Tap the composition textbox
  5. Enter the note
  6. Tap the send button
  7. Tap the send confirmation

I was able to reduce the steps by nearly half, which I’m happy with for now.

I’d like to eliminate #4, but I’m not sure if I can pass anything to the Gmail app to do that. I’d also like to create a widget I can place on the lock screen, but I’m not sure if that’s possible in Android 4.1. When I search for lock-screen widgets, a bunch of 4.2 results are returned. I might just have to wait for the 4.2 update, or root my phone.

By the way, you can also send yourself a note in Android by using the Google search app and just typing “note to self <note>”. So it’s really not just a voice action; it’s an action you can use your voice with.

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