Extracting Action Items from Notational Velocity or SimpleNote

Ever since I read the article on Notational Velocity syncing with Simplenote by Merlin Mann combined with the wonder of Markdown, I’ve re-discovered the joy of working with text files. So now I’m using either Simplenote (when traveling with my iPhone) or Notational Velocity when I’m on my Laptop in most cases for taking notes. The following simple tip will give you an idea of how you can use these program’s powerful search mechanism to help you get things done.

Whenever I am taking notes and I realize that the item I’m writing down will end up being an action item, I add [A] to the beginning of the text. Then when I do inbox processing, I open up Notational Velocity and type [A] into the search box and then all notes that have pending action items appear. When I click on the note, all the instances of [A] are conveniently highlighted. Then I take each item and process through my GTD system (OmniFocus) deleting the [A] as I go along. For those with less complex task management needs, this could be the only system you ever need. Very simple, scalable, programmable and no vendor lock.

Do you manage notes using simple text files? What is your method?

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