I’m a sucker for productivity tools. On a good day, I’d say it’s because I deal with a pretty high volume of unstrutured tasks and information at work, on a bad day (and probably Lori would concur) I’d say it’s because I am time and task-management challanged. Either way, I am always on the lookout for a silver bullet, or as it ususally turns out, a few of them.
I’ve settled on a new set of tools that has been stable for the last six months or so (somewhat of a record, so I thought it worth noting). Right now I’m using the following:
FreeMind: Open source mind mapping software I use at the highest level to track all of the activities in my domain at work. I probably refer to it about once a week, just to make sure I am not letting any ideas or initiatives fall by the wayside, and to recalibrate my focus in the coming week.
GanttProject: Project management tool I use for anything that requires some level of planning. I’m sure I don’t use half of its capabilities, but it’s perfect for the kind of lightweight use I make of it.
Evernote: After bitching about the license and using another digital notes program, I’ve decided the benefits offered by Evernote outweight any concerns I have (and I think they may have either clarified or modified the license somewhat). Either way, Evernote is incredible and had helped me to really keep my e-mail inbox uncluttered (since I used to park e-mails with important information in my inbox).
Toodledo: My work to-do list. It’s the least favorite of my current tools, mostly becasue it doesn’t have a local client for my laptop. I am still offline or in situations with spotty connectivity (such as on the MBTA’s service commuting home) that having to maniputlate the list online is a problem. If I can find a list that has a nice local client and syncs with the iPhone (oh yeah, and is free) I’ll likely switch.
So I try not to lose track of things in FreeMind, plan what needs planned in GanttProject, take notes in Evernote, and draw together to-dos from Gantt and Evernote in Toodledo. And for my home to-do’s with Lori, we use Zenbe lists.