I've written about my attempts to use Evernote as a to do list but mostly failed because my to do's often didn't get done when they needed to. The biggest problem for me was keeping them organized without another dedicated app - since I've learned how I really use my iPhone.
I've tried many options - my iPhone bottom row being a revolving door - for the to-do list. Lifehacker has suggestions, Workflowy is great for lists but didn't fit me quite right. Then, I started combining different Evernote searches and found this search combination tag:todo, todo:false.
This returns any notes tagged 'todo' and that have check boxes unchecked. This combination works for me because I like using the check boxes for steps in a series like goals for a day or party planning. So to only search for the unchecked boxes - todo:false - would be unhelpful as 46 of my 439 notes are like this. Some of those notes I use as templates to copy over like using Evernote to create trip plans or party preparation.
What I've done is add the tag todo to the notes with check boxes for things that I really need to get done. Then created a saved search that looks for the todo tag as well as the unchecked box.
My workflow now looks like this. I create a note, like reading a series of posts on CopyBlogger. I tag the note with todo and I insert the check-box into the note with what specifically needs done. This works well too for a note with multiple check boxes. You can see in my note with May projects, as of this writing it had 3 boxes checked and 2 unchecked.
While the box is unchecked the search tag:todo todo:false will return this note but once the check-box is checked the note falls out of this search.
There are two chief drawbacks for me, the first is an inability to include check boxes when emailing notes to my account. For the time being I tag the note (using #todo in the subject line along with the note title) and send it to my inbox notebook. From there I edit it in the Evernote app. The second drawback is the lack of reminder alarms for when deadlines change from soft to hard.
Overall this system has been working nicely and I'l l continue to use it as it fits both my effort to simplify what I'm working on and how I'm working as well as being contained in my central hub of projects, tasks, and ideas.