MailBox + Sunrise + Evernote = Productive!

I have written before about how I use Evernote with email (specifically the gesture-based Mailbox app) for the frictionless scheduling of tasks and followups from my deluge of emails. In brief, emails that require action, or that map to tasks, get ‘swiped’ into Evernote where they are turned into scheduled tasks.

The one gap in this has always been the connection (or rather lack thereof) between Evernote and my calendar app. The result is far too much manual calendar work to turn Evernote tasks into calendar events  and vice versa as events get shifted around. Suffice it to say that my Evernote tasks are rarely in sync with my calendar events. I’ve experimented in the past with a web service called EventNoted but while it appeared promising at first it proved to be a little too unpredictable in the end, required learning a special syntax for note/task titles, and only provided for one-way sync’ing (Evernote to Calendar only).

Then along came the latest edition of the Sunrise Calendar app, a free cross-platform calendar which, for me at least, has now replaced the native iOS and OSX Calendar apps. In short Sunrise plugs my leaky task management workflow by integrating properly with Evernote and it’s reminders system. It’s easy, natural, and reliable. Just connect up Sunrise with your Evernote account in the usual way. Then, when you set a reminder for a note it gets turned into a calendar event for the appropriate date and time and which is then added to a Note Reminders calendar in Sunrise. Once this calendar is visible in Sunrise you will see your scheduled notes show up as calendar events. Everything is kept in sync even when you change the reminder details in Evernote or in Sunrise so you can delete events or mark them as completed or move them around without worry. Even better, when an event is added to Sunrise it contains a link back to the corresponding note in Evernote so that you can access relevant data and additional materials directly from your calendar (great for meeting documents and notes). 

Another nice feature is that if I manually create a new event in Sunrise (in the Note Reminders calendar) then it will appear as a scheduled note back in Evernote. Perfect!

I haven’t found a way to set the duration of a task in Evernote so right now tasks are turned into one-hour calendar events. I’m not sure if I am missing a trick here but it is easy to modify the events in Sunrise anyway if necessary.

So far Sunrise seems to provide me with all of the usual calendaring functionality that I have come to expect from Apple’s own apps. The interface is very similar, although it tries to stack overlapping events from different calendars rather than overlay them, as Apple’s apps do, and which I personally prefer. That’s a minor niggle. Another is that Sunrise doesn’t seem to have the nice hold-and-move gesture for moving existing events around a calendar. Maybe these will come with future updates. For now they are nothing more than minor inconveniences that are easily out-weighed by the benefits of the Evernote integration.

The bottom line: if you have come to rely on Evernote for task creation and management then Sunrise will complete you. It’s as simple as that. And, as a bonus, there are similar integrations with Github, Asana, Producteev, TripIt, Facebook, LinkedIn and more.