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Why not give (productivity) software this year!

pro·duc·tiv·i·ty  (prdk-tv-t, prdk-)

n.

1. The quality of being productive.
2. Economics The rate at which goods or services are produced especially output per unit of labor.
3. Ecology The rate at which radiant energy is used by producers to form organic substances as food for consumers.

Why not give yourself or a love one access to well design software? With the new years usually comes the time to take resolution(s). And like most they are forgotten a few weeks later.  This is because, we human being, get our attention so easily put elsewhere, diverted by what surround us, in particular the consumption media. So, we tend to get into an unproductive state by putting off what must or should be done. Simply stated procrastinating.

pro·cras·ti·nate  (pr-krst-nt, pr-)

v. pro·cras·ti·nat·edpro·cras·ti·nat·ingpro·cras·ti·nates
v.intr.

To put off doing something, especially out of habitual carelessness or laziness.

v.tr.

To postpone or delay needlessly.
It turns out that having tools that you like to use because of its physical design (an iMac, a Mac Book air or even the new Mac Pro!), the feeling it provide when touching it (like a well-made pen or paper notebook) and well design software all help in getting things done. There are many reasons why certain tools, hardware or software give use incentive to be productive over others or make us more productive. The important point is that you have to use them, use them everyday and actually like to do it.
The first rule in being productive is to actually do something. The second rule is for that something to actually be part of a whole that get your projects moving forward. This implicitly means that you can track your projects, the tasks associated with them and the necessary documents (files, e-mail, …). If you hate the software and hardware your are using to do this or they get in the way because they are not well conceive, you will loose interest, loose track of the important stuff and suddenly the not so important stuff become at the forefront of what you are doing.
Here are a few well design software you might want to invest into (some are actually free) and that are available to OSX and iOS:
  • Professional digital document management: DevonThink Pro Office and DevonThink To Go. On the Mac, you have indexing and AI doing automatic filing for you. No need for Tags. Tagging is a good concept but it does not scale and its efficiency certainly breaks down once you have tens of thousands of files.
  • Note taking app: Evernote (free) or NoteBook. I also find Apple Notes useful since it is always with me on my Mac, iPhone and iPad.
  • Task manager: Wunderlist (free – perfect for student and much better than Apple Reminder) or professional grade Cultured Code Things and OmniFocus.
  • MindMapping software: XMind (free) and iThoughts (Nice interface, intuitive to use, my favorite).
  • Project management (for large projects): Merlin and OmniPlan.
  • PDF management and citation software: Papers 2 (stay away from the “new” Papers 3), Sente or Zetero (free).

Some software should also allow you to get stuff done so you do not have to. In that category, I could not live in the digital world without:

  • 1Password: Strong passwords for all for all of your accounts, safely stored using the best encryption scheme. Never loose time again with passwords.
  • SaneBox: Made me realize that over 40% of my incoming e-mails are non actionable. SaneBox get them out of the way automatically for me. I never thought I would say this (I work with e-mail since 1991!!!), but 5$/month well spent. Work with IMAP, Exchange, iCloud, GMAIL.
  • MacUpdate Desktop: Unless you get all of your software from the Apple Store on OSX, you need to track your software and keep them up to date. MacUpdate does this for you very efficiently. Run it once a month, no sweat.
  • Alfred: Spotlight on steroid!
Merry Xmas!

Cultured Code Things 3 on the way for 2014!

The team at Cultured Code has announced on their blog that they have reached 1 million copies of Things  sold. In the same blog post, they let us know that version 3 of Things will be coming in 2014. Hopefully it will not know that same fate as the cloud sync version of Things which took over two years after the first announcement…

Attachment-1

Things is powerful task manager. It comes with a simple and efficient interface and is fully scriptable (Apple Script). I have been using Things since its very first beta release. Certainly look forward to V3.

Digital Office Part V: making it work!

So far, posts in this digital office series this blog have tackled the hardware selection and components, OSX and iOS software, and finally the inputs or “Inboxes”. In this post, I will try to illustrate how all the pieces come together and making it all work.

Read the rest of this entry

Cultured Code Things 2 for OSX and iOS it out…finally!

In the included figure, you can switch Things for your favorite task manager. However, at this time on the Mac I do not think you will be able to reach this level of integration and ability to deal with a large number of projects with applications other than Things and OmniFocus. No, a simple task-only list application won’t cut as it does not scale.

– Luc Beaulieu, Digital office part IV

 

Yesterday, (August 9 2012), Things version 2.0 was released on all platforms (Mac, iPhone and iPad). The major newsworthy portion of these releases is that after years of waiting (no kidding!), Cultured Code has finally and officially introduced a fast and scalable cloud sync on OSX and iOS devices. The beta version was quite reliable and I had adopted it as my main daily usage a few months ago. Going from the beta to the new official 2.0 release went like a breeze.

This version also introduces a new daily reviews which I really likes in the beta version and a more polished UI on iOS. Quite frankly the iPad version is simply gorgeous ever since it was released in 2010. Doing a weekly review on the iPad is even fun!

The presentation of individual tasks by Areas and Projects had been removed for a while in the OSX beta version but I assumed that the numerous peoples on the forum asking for the option to be reinstated has found a good hear within the developers; the preference pane now provides for this specific choice (which I turned on immediately).

Since I am still with the iPhone 3GS, I cannot comment on the integration with Siri and Reminders (as described by Cultured Code) but on OSX you can indeed pick one list from Apple’s app and have a two way sync (including display in the new notification center).

Kudos Cultured Code 😉

 

 

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