This blog post is a culmination of a few events of late…
Firstly, my good pal Brent Hodgson has seen the light and made the jump from PC to Mac. (come to think of it Brent ‘kinda’ looks a little like the MAC guy).
Secondly, I’ve implemented a few changes in the way I manage my time and the way I get things done… which has resulted in some amazing results… and these changes have primarily come from threes sources: David Allen’s book ‘Getting Things Done’, Eben Pagan’s ‘Wake up Productive‘ Course and the book ‘Power Of Full Engagement’
And thirdly it’s largely thanks to some MAC software I am using to implement the ‘lessons and actions’ drawn from the above resources, that’s resulted in my ability to get more done, and I wanted to share some those Mac programs with everyone.
So here is my list of the top productivity tools and Mac Software for getting things done.
Apple’s Mail application offers some pretty powerful tools for organizing your email, but it could do so much more….
And thanks to indev software’s MailTags, it does. MailTags is a plug-in for MacMail that lets users attach metadata (multiple tags) to messages, which can be anything you want: Your own custom keywords, project names, or anything else you can think of to help organize your email and your life… I use tags such as @reply @discuss @phone @pay @dispatch, to donate the action I need to do regarding the particular email.
…and if you want to add notes to an email, that’s not a problem. MailTags adds a notes field to each message which I find invaluable, and those notes can even replace the subject line in the summary section of Mail..
Once you start adding your own tags to messages, you’ll want to take advantage of Mail’s Smart Mailbox feature. The keyword data MailTags adds to your messages is fully searchable, so it’s easy to create smart-mailboxes that automatically fill with just the messages you need… For example you can create a ‘@Phone’ mailbox (or simply use the search function) to only include/show the emails that require a follow-up phone call allowing you to dedicate uniterupted blocks of time to particular actions.
You can even set priorities for messages, and even set due dates for responding (which appear in iCal and your iPhone as To Do items ). This can be really helpful when you get a message you donâ€™t want to reply to right away, but you know you need to handle by, say, next Tuesday.
All in all, it’s been such a powerful tool for getting my inbox organized and under control.
You can find MailTags at http://www.indev.ca/MailTags.html
2. AudioBook Format on iTunes & iPods
Cookies are to the CookieMonster, what AudioBooks are to Me… Even to the point, where Fleur (my girlfriend who doesn’t have an entrepreneurial bone in her body) is ‘forced’ to fall asleep a couple of nights a week to some type of business recording or podcast.
And something I have been doing at lately, is listening to my audiobooks at double speed… I can get through content in half the time without any loss in comprehension – Studies show the average person speaks 125-150 words per minute yet you can comprehend up to 600 + words per-minute.
I do a lot of my listening to business audio visa my iPod, which has the feature of playing audiobooks at a ‘faster speed‘
The catch is that you can only increase the speed of audiobooks, and until recently it was almost impossible to convert a standard mp3 audio file or ‘music track’ to an audiobook inside iTunes.
But, with the release of iTunes 8 you can now quickly and easily tag any file in your iTunes library as an audiobook and move it into the Audiobooks section of iTunes and your iPod.
Just right-click a track and select Get Info, head to the Options tab, and then select Audiobook from the Media Kind drop-down menu. The file will instantly leave your Music library and head straight for your Audiobook library, where you can listen at twice the speed. The only remaining step is to tick the Remember Position checkbox if you haven’t already, and your tracks should now have easily found their way to your Audiobooks section, and even better, they should work like an audiobook.
As a side note, if anyone knows of a program, or wants to create a program, for the mac that will replicate http://www.fasteraudio.com/vip/index.php please let me know.
It took me awhile to really ‘GET’ the benefits of Evernote, but now I am experiencing the same feeling that Britney Spears would be… “what the hell was I thinking”
Evernote boasts a variety of features that make it a super-cool application, including automatic synchronization between your computer, the web and your other devices such as iPhones, tagging and sorting features, an online client that makes it accessible from anywhere via the web, and a search feature that can even search text stored within images.
The one thing that I have found Evernote great for is an always-accessible idea file… As ‘LifeHacker’ points out “It can be hard to think of new ideas constantly, and when you do come up with one, it tends to happen in a very strange, awkward spot. Evernote means that youâ€™ll almost never be caught without a way to capture it and compile an idea file – once that list starts filling up youâ€™ll never be short on something to write about.”
And it’s because of Evernote I have really been able to start pumping out blog posts again… Ever time I get an idea for a post, I simply create a new ‘note’ inside Evernote and then as inspiration hits (no matter where I am) I can add to the notes stored inside Evernote – via my laptop, and internet cafe or iPhone.
You can find Evernote at http://evernote.com/
Things is a task management applications based on the Getting Things Done process created by David Allen.
I am in the process of putting together a longer blog post on the ‘GTD’ process, which will be up in a day or two…
… but for now, the main premise of GTD and Things, is organizing all the ‘tasks’ that need to ‘actioned’ in order to complete a project.
The software has been built entirely around the GTD model and has an ‘inbox’ where you can do regular brain dumps of everything you need to do… You can then organize and sort these actions into their relevant project.
And give these ‘actions’ a context in the same manner as mentioned in MailTags: @Phone for a phone call action, @Online for a action I need the internet for, @Pay for an action that requires me to pay something etc etc etc
This then allows you to focus solely on the ‘next action’ that you must do to move your project forward… and it’s the focus on ‘cumulative actions‘ rather then ‘goals’ and the ability to easily focus solid blocks of time on a particular context, that has really changed my approach to time management.
You can find Things at: http://www.culturedcode.com/things/
Now Quicksilver is something I haven’t quite mastered (or really looked into yet), but it’s a tool that is very widely spoken about and used… so I thought I should atleast mention it here.
I should really read Merlin Manns guide ‘Quicksilver: Grab a copy and play along at home‘ but if I can’t listen to it as an audiobook at 2x speed I won’t get to it soon.
Can someone please ‘pitch’ this too me and tell me why I should be using Quicksilver.
And while you’re at it… What other Mac Software do you use to ‘Get Things Done’ & Be More Productive?”