I’ve been a big proponent of using paper to plan out projects as well as tasks, but since picking up an iPad I’ve been shifting back into electronic organization. I still love having a pen and paper handy, but I’m starting to find that with the right tools in play electronically I am producing more efficiently and effectively. It boils down to a few things, really:
While I don’t necessarily have to carry my iPad with me wherever I go, I generally have my iPhone with me. With the synchronizing of common apps between the two devices, I no longer have to fiddle for a pad and pen – no matter how elegant they may be. Before, I’d have to bring around my Hipster PDA (which, to be fair, I still have in my car just in case my 1st generation iPhone’s battery dies on me – and yes, I am going to upgrade) and then transfer what I captured there to my productivity program of choice. No longer. Now, I simply use a program like Note2Self if something comes to me quickly or go directly into my productivity app of choice and record it there. By the time I get home I’ve either emailed the note to my self or have synced the task with my iPad (and MacBook Pro). I’m never at a loss. There’s nothing more ubiquitous than that.
The Right Tools
With my new Dodocase, my iPad is disguised as Moleskine. I can carry it around with me and search for things quickly and easily. I can move much faster and make the two-minute rule achievable on a consistent basis.
Besides a case that is functional, you’ll need to have software that is just as functional – likely more so. Here’s what I’m currently using:
- OmniFocus: Tried ’em all…yet I keep coming back to OmniFocus. It appears to be the heavyweight champion of productivity apps. It’s the syncing that does it for me – and I’m beta-testing their web server now as well…which has worked like a charm. I’ve got a lot on the go and don’t mind that you have to wrap your head around OmniFocus before you can really make it what you need it to be. There are other great apps out there in the native application realm (Things, The Hit List), the web app realm (Producteev2, Remember The Milk, Nozbe) and others that either work in tandem or do one thing really well (Evernote is one I sue for all the “other stuff”) but OmniFocus just keeps hooking me back in. It’s that good.
- Note2Self: This is great for those times that you need to quickly get something out of your head and don’t want to scramble to do so. Just record your voice memo and you can email it directly to yourself (or to an assistant, someone you delegate to, etc.) straight away. You can preset email addresses in the app and if you’re not in 3G range or just feel it can wait, you can save the note. Simple and useful…that’s why I like it. (And it’s available for Blackberry and Windows Mobile as well.)
The transition hasn’t been completely smooth – setting up OmniFocus again to work just as I need it to has taken some time. There’s plenty of ways to do it, and having a listen to the MacPowerUser podcast comparing OmniFocus to Things definitely helped. So even though it took some time, it was time well spent. Just as the money on my iPad was.
Not that I’m giving up paper completely. I still use my trusty actual Moleskine for journalling. For now.
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