Another year is here and it’s time to get serious about the tools I use to get my job and life done. I try every few months to “downsize” what I use; but I am coming closer to the realization that I don’t have to be “minimal” to be effective.
I simply need to make sure that each tool in my toolset has a use and that I use it. That’s all.
Last year, the 2012 Edition did pretty well here at DevBurner, so hopefully this will provide some more fodder for you tool hungry fools.
Here we go.
Paperless and Automation
I love, love, love David Sparks newish eBook about going paperless. I am finally finding the correct workflow with:
- ScanSnap S1500 an amazing, duplex, you-need-this-now-so-don’t-wait scanner.
- JotNot Pro on iPad and iPhone for mobile scanning.
- Evernote and Skitch for keeping track of notes, screenshots, etc.
- GoodReader on iPhone and iPad. This is the way I manage files on my iOS devices. It has a little feature overload, but it really does do everything I could ever want.
- Hazel. I don’t know why I didn’t buy this sooner. Hazel basically automates all kinds of actions on the contents of a folder. My paperless system wouldn’t be as efficient without it. I’m barely cracking the service with this app and will be writing about it more and more this year.
- Launch Center Pro for iOS is a great little app that makes certain tasks on your iPhone much faster and found under one roof.
Productivity tools and systems
I found out this year that I’m flaky when it comes to productivity and “GTD” applications. While writing for Lifehack, I tried so many different todo and project management apps and thought that the new shiny one with the new shiny features was going to somehow improve my productivity. It didn’t. So, I’m going back to my rocks in 2013; using these systems and apps as support mechanisms above anything else.
- OmniFocus for Mac, iPhone, and iPad. Other than working in a Windows environment at my real job, OF always gets the job done for personal project and task planning.
- GTD. After listening to the 5-part “series” on Back to Work, revisiting Merlin Mann’s interview with David Allen, and also listening to a semi-recent MoM with David Allen, I have decided to make a strong recommitment to GTD in 2013.
- For calendaring I’m using Google Calendar, Calendar.app on Mac, Fantastical on Mac and iPhone.
- OmniPlan on Mac and iPad for large project planning at work this year.
- Mindnode for Mac, iPhone, and iPad for all my mindmapping needs.
- iWork Suite on Mac, iPhone, iPad
- Microsoft Office on Windows
- TextExpander for Mac and iOS and Breevy for Windows. I’m a cross-platform kind of guy, but without TextExpander my days seem longer, nights seem colder, and life just doesn’t feel the same. Breevy is a decent way to use my TE snippets on Windows.
- RescueTime. It’s hard to know if I’m getting things done efficiently and effectively. It’s also hard to know where all my time is going when I’m on my computers. RescueTime is a pretty great way to figure out what you are doing and where you can make some improvements.
At my full time job I’m a developer about 75% of the time. So, I have to make sure that I have tools that I can use to get my job done faster and easier.
- Visual Studio 2012. Programming on Windows? Well, then you will need this. Actually, I really like Visual Studio. Also, with the new addition of LightSwitch to the VS family of tools, I have found that I can get a ton more done for my end users.
- [Bootstrap] is a front-end framework made open source by the peeps over at Twitter. It’s a great way to get a web app up and running and looking good at the same time. It can be (and should be) used as a framework and then customized.
- Sublime Text 2. From a huge IDE to a nice, fast, fun editor. What I love about Sublime Text 2 is that it’s fun to use and works on Windows, Mac, and Linux.
- Git for version control.
- Ruby on Rails for my personal web development and projects.
Writing and reading tools
I’m going to be doing some more writing here and in other places across the web this year. It’s important to have some trusty writing tools so I can get an idea down as soon as I have it. Also, I read quite a bit so having a good workflow for that is essential as well.
- Instapaper. The best way to save articles for later and read them without any distractions. Works perfectly on my iPhone and iPad.
- Reeder. I tried to get away from Google Reader this year, but I just kept coming back. Reeder is the best and most fun way to read RSS feeds on my Mac, iPhone, and iPad.
- Byword for Mac and iOS. I’m writing this post in Byword now. It supports Markdown and not a lot of features. I love it for writing things between 100 and 5000 words.
- Scrivener for long form (greater than 10k words) writing. I’m going to write a book this year. Scrivener will be my companion in that journey.
- Drafts for iPhone and iPad. I love this app because it’s fast and I can send my text almost anywhere I want to. It’s replaced all text editors on my iPhone homescreen. I just start with Drafts and go from there.
- Day One for Mac, iPhone, and iPad is an amazing journaling application. It’s made me want to journal for a whole year now. I will continue with it.
That’s a lot of tooling. But I know for sure it’s not everything. There are so many little utilities and workflows that I use throughout my day that I’d bore you (and possibly myself) with all of the details. These are the heavy hitters and as the year progresses I will talk about them and others in depth.
Whatever tools you choose, remember there are just tools to get a job done. The job is more important than the tools used to do it. Hopefully there is something on this list that can help you in 2013 get more important work done.