Here, we run down a few recent faves that are helping us magnify our ability to make ideas happen:
Evernote. A one-stop system for visual filing.
Recently, I decided to completely digitize my personal files using Evernote. Receipts, medical files, and old business plans have all been imported into notebooks, while my myriad of magazine pulls have been similarly organized into a quickly accessible visual database (that’s entirely personalized). The iPhone app is pretty stellar as well, and great for getting a quick pic of things that need to be remembered on-the-go – everything from artworks seen in passing to apartment listings. [BA]
Upgrading to Pathfinder (on Merlin Mann’s recommendation) was like when I traded in my basic Nokia phone for an iPhone – entirely new vistas opened up. The coolest and most basic feature is the “dropstack” – a sort of holding pen for images and files, from which you can compress/zip, burn to disc, or drag them elsewhere. You can also open up “tabs” in the finder, just like in Firefox or Safari, to quickly navigate between different folders without ever opening multiple windows. And that’s just two nifty features of roughly a gajillion. [JKG]
Scheduling meetings for large groups can be like playing a game of Battleship – you send Google Calendar invitations like shots in the dark until you finally get a hit. Tungle makes the process transparent and painless, synching with your preferred calendar app and allowing you to propose numerous times simultaneously. Then, invitees tick off the times that work for them, and voilà, you’ve scheduled a meeting without seven emails.
I recently stumbled upon the Pomodoro Technique for time management, and this app is a fantastic digital accomplice. Using the adjustable timer, I set a 25-minute increment for dedicated work, and then allow myself 5 minutes for unfocused time. The app keeps track of each timed work session, and sounds a brief alarm when it’s time to take a break. For those of you who tend to wander when you should be working, this is a great way to take charge of your attention span. (There’s also a paper version on the Pomodoro site for an old-school approach.) [BA]
It’s easy enough to copy files by hand from your desktop to your laptop, but inevitably you find yourself traveling and (oops) you don’t have that latest version of an important document you need at your fingertips. Synchronize removes the element of human error, allowing me to specify key desktop folders that will always be mirrored on my laptop. The app also allows me to archive old files, so I know my information’s backed up and safe. [SB]
As I click through my GoogleReader each morning, I do a quick “Send to Instapaper” (you’ve activated Send To, right?), and the app aggregates all the articles I’m interested in reading. This drastically reduces my tendency to “article surf,” and allows me to sit down with a great reading list whenever I have some downtime. With the iPhone app, you’re covered in transit, waiting at the doctor’s office, or on line at the post office. The tilt scroll feature on the “pro” version ($4.99) is a must-see. [BA]