creative tools: backend

February 27, 2009

This is part of a short series on Creative Tools. Other posts in the series (so far) include: Creative Tools: Hardware.

When I ran the workflow tools series last year, I had one post for my software tools. It seemed better this year to break it into two parts, this post on my backend tools, and another post to come on production tools. Neither ‘backend’ or ‘production’ sounds very glamorous, but both terms are well suited to the breakdown I have in mind. (Oops…breakdown doesn’t sound very glamorous either!)

My backend tools are the apps that I use everyday, often without thinking about them. And that’s just how I want them to work. They are reliable and allow me to capture and sort my stuff so that when it is time to create, I’m ready to go.

Quicksilver: Quicksilver can make a shortcut of just about any task. (Except for basic hygiene…it should not be considered a substitute for regular brushing of your teeth.) I’ve talked to many people who have had no luck with Quicksilver in Leopard, but it still works fairly well for me. David Sparks has had a good experience with LaunchBar 5, but I’m not ready to make that switch.

OmniFocus: This one is no surprise to regular readers, but OmniFocus is my hub for task management. Visit my OmniFocus tag archive if you are newer to the site.

Yojimbo: Again, no surprise to regular readers, but Yojimbo is my hub for storing notes and ideas. Visit my Yojimbo tag archive if you are newer to the site. (Yojimbo is great as it is, but I’m hoping a new revision is coming…it’s been a long time.)

ShoveBox: ShoveBox is new in my workflow, thanks to a free license via MacHeist. My initial impression was that I didn’t need it because it would serve the same purpose as Yojimbo. However, I’ve been using it as a glorified clipboard of sorts. Notes that I just need temporarily go in Shovebox. For example, while wrapping up a website for a client, I knew there were a few items I needed to email him about. I collected them in Shovebox as they came to mind, and then put them all together when I was ready to send the email. and iCal: I use Gmail and Gcal, but still prefer to use them with the base Apple apps as my main interface. They are usually seamless with other apps, and for me, MobileMe sync works great.

SugarSync: Sync apps have made a splash in the last year, but SugarSync has been my choice. My documents don’t have to be in a special folder…I can just tell SygarSync what folders to sync. It’s reliable, and I always seem to have the latest documents on whichever computer I find myself on. If you split time between multiple machines, this is worth a look.

How about you? What apps are you using everyday to hold you, or at least your workflow, together?

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