workflow tools: software

January 18, 2008 | 2 Comments

On Monday, I posted about the hardware I use in my workflow. Today, we’ll tackle software. One of the best things about being a Mac user is the vibrant community of independent software developers. There are affordable programs that have been coded to help with just about any task or project you can think of, and most of them look great.

The list below isn’t a comprehensive list of what I use. But this is the software I use daily to find space to be creative. For the most part, these are my GTD tools.

OmniFocus – The pool of GTD apps for Mac is getting deeper: iGTD, Actiontastic, TaskPaper, and newcomer Things. I’ve at least played with most of them, and OmniFocus is king. There is a great user community going on the OmniGroup forums and the fact that I can quickly add tasks from just about anywhere is critical to me.

Yojimbo – A good workflow has to have a reliable way to capture and store ideas and content for future reference. There are many programs available to do this on the Mac, but Yojimbo is my choice. Again, a great user community and integration with other programs make it a program that automatically loads anytime I boot up.

Quicksilver – I’m not going to begin to explain Quicksilver here, but it is much more than the program launcher that many use it as. With Quicksilver, I can add a task to OmniFocus or an idea to Yojimbo in three seconds without having to switch away from what I am doing. It is an essential tool to capture everything.

Pages – When Apple released iWork 08, I downloaded the demo to try it out. I had a paper do during my trial period, so I wrote it in Pages. I was hooked. It was much faster than Word, and prettier to look at. I know that Office 08 for Mac has just been released, but I haven’t used it yet. I’d love to hear comments from those who have.

Ecto – I was a skeptic about using a blog editor for quite some time. I always thought that the WordPress dashboard worked fine. However, now I’ve been using Ecto for a few months and won’t go back. The biggest advantages: having multiple blogs available to post to, and the ability to have a number of different entries in process that I can quickly add a thought to whether I am online or not.

I wish I was cool enough to use…
Scrivener – Scrivener has a lot of fanboys, and I can see why. Everything about Scrivener makes me want to use it. For starters, it is made by a company called Literature and Latte. How can I not like that? Scrivener is similar in concept to StoryMill, but it is designed for more than just writing fiction. Two things are hanging me up: 1) I prefer Pages, because I like to see the layout of something as I go, and 2) I can’t justify the price (although it is reasonable) when I can create a similar experience using Yojimbo and Pages.

I have intentionally not gone into much detail with any of these, but look for posts detailing how I use each to come in the future.

  • i purchased omnifocus on your recommendation…now i just got to figure out how to use it. any suggestions?

  • John

    Chris,
    1) I think a general understanding of the GTD workflow helps a lot. If you haven’t read Getting Things Done, the article on wikipedia helps some, but it doesn’t explain contexts that well in my opinion.

    2) OmniGroup has a good starter video about the program on their OmniFocus page – http://www.omnigroup.com/applications/omnifocus/. They have said more will be coming…