Using Evernote for Your Storyline

I recently finished Donald Miller’s A Million Miles in a Thousand Years (my review), a story about stories.  Around the same time, I heard Miller’s interview on Beyond The To-Do List, a wonderfully conversational podcast hosted by Erik Fisher, where he and a guest talk about not only getting things done, but the machinery and philosophy behind it all.  In episode 58 Miller shared that he had created a story outline for our own lives, and it’s been my new planner for each day.  Instead of printing it out as Miller does, I created a version in  Evernote.

I thought about sharing my template for Evernote, letting you copy it into your account and then copy the note for each day but I felt that was against the spirit of what Donald Miller and his team were trying to create.  They ask for an email to get the pdf, and their packet not only includes pages for a full month, but the explanation for the structure.

In the top part there is the prompt, If I could live today over again I’d with places to put ideas for things we could do over again.  Miller writes that he got this idea from Viktor Frankl who used this statement as, ” a mental trick that allowed them to assess what was really important and learn from their past mistakes even before they made them.”  By projecting ourselves to the future we can think about finding the good things and avoiding the bad ones.

On the left Miller allows room for only three projects, the most important being project one.  “Under Project One, write the name of the project you’ll spend the first two hours or so working on then get to it straight away.”  There is also an area for rest/reward because Miller believes the mind works like a muscle and needs built in breaks every two hours or so. I know that this is true for me, I can push to two and a half hours of work if I’m really focused but after that my writing gets sloppy and my concentration gets stretched.

A partial view of each days story.

A partial view of each days story.

The entire page for each day has more information, but you’ll have to sign up to see more. Like Evernote is a tool for organizing and remembering everything, Storyline is a tool you can use within Evernote.  Sign up at


I tweeted to Miller and he gave the go ahead to share my basic template, which is here.  A completed one with notes is here.  As I wrote above though, the best results do come from reading the why behind it all.


7 thoughts on “Using Evernote for Your Storyline

  1. Downloaded and reviewed the Storyline template and directions. Great way to focus one’s energy. Creating in Evernote would help in tracking as I hate paper – it buries me! Mind sharing your Evernote template?

  2. Pingback: Four Takeaways from What the Most Successful People do Before Breakfast | Mike Dariano

  3. Hi Mike, I recently learned of Donald’s Storyline and have been tracking via paper, but would really rather use Evernote. Your note template links are both return an error, any chance you could reshare them? Much appreciated!

  4. Ryan, after digging through my Evernote account I couldn’t find the original. It looked basically like what Don suggests, only I had a default note I would copy each day and fill in. At the end of the day I would strike-through what I finished and add comments. Sorry I couldn’t replicate the original for you.

    • No worries, thanks for looking. And keep up the writing – I’ve perused several of your articles and found them to be quite thought provoking. Seems we’re in similar life situations and geo location. Cheers!

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )


Connecting to %s