Task manager applications are great. They help you get things out of your head and easily accessible. One of the major issues with task manager applications is higher level planning, particularly on the fly decision about committing or not a new project. This is because you need in one look an overview of everything going one right now, including deadlines. This is something not easy to do only with a Task Manager and your electronic calendar apps. Also for what I am thinking about, a planning software is not that useful either. I tried OmniPlan for that purpose alone, maintenance is higher than I would like and I am still not convinced this is the best way of doing it.
– Free Software Foundation
Going through graduate studies (or even undergraduate studies), is about creativity, hard work and learning not to loose information, not to drop the ball on ideas and projects. In order word, part of it is also about being able to put your ideas to work for you in an efficient manner. In the following are a few applications to help you along the way. Of course, nothing precludes the good old pen and paper. I personally really enjoy my Lamy 2000 fountain pen and a Leuchtturm 1917 whitelines notebook (but this is for another post!).
Ever since moving all of my projects an tasks planning digital, I have used a dedicated task manager. I started with Cultured Code Things over 11 years ago with the very first beta; something like version 0.7b – can find my old e-mail about it. When it came out, Things was not only the most intuitive and beautiful dedicated task manager on the market but also the best (at least mac-wise).
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.
v. pro·cras·ti·nat·ed, pro·cras·ti·nat·ing, pro·cras·ti·natesv.intr.To put off doing something, especially out of habitual carelessness or laziness.
v.tr.To postpone or delay needlessly.
- 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!
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…
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.
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 😉