Productivity for 2016

I have done a bit of work in the last couple of days to update my personal productivity system. This is partly because I am becoming more part-time: my hours at church will be lower, and I have two other small part-time roles in addition to church. So I need to stay on top of my tasks more efficiently. Here are some of the things I have done:

  • I have worked hard to make my OmniFocus GTD system work better, especially streamlining its contexts and setting up new perspectives for focusing on one part of my life at a time. And I have the Apple Mail plugin set up to easily convert an email into a task. Siri feeds into this pretty reliably now and I often add a few reminders to my list by voice while I’m driving.
  • I am using Papers more and more for reading. I have even moved my reading todo list into Papers (I have a staging list in OmniFocus). Reading is too big a task to fit into a GTD system anyway, and this helps when I get PDFs as I just drop them into the reading list in Papers.
  • I intend to keep a daily journal in Day One, and to make that feasible I have automated the mechanical aspects. I now automatically log all completed OmniFocus tasks and most of my social media interactions into it. I am partway through automatically logging my calendar events, and need a solution to log my daily sent emails.
  • I had an overly complicated calendar setup, which is now much simpler and all on iCloud.
  • I have given up on using 3rd party email clients, and am just using Apple Mail on Mac and iOS. The main reason is that its search works fine, and on my Mac there are a couple of plugins that don’t work with 3rd party clients.
  • I am doing most of my initial writing in Ulysses. I then switch to another app for formatted versions but it’s a brilliant writing environment.
  • I am using Reeder as an interface to Feedly, mostly to keep my news reading away from my normal web browsing.

Things I am trying out, or will do:

  • Manuscripts. I bought this early because I am hoping it will turn out to be an ideal writing app for academic work. It is not there yet but is such a great idea.
  • SaneBox. This is relatively expensive, and my guess is that I’ll just continue to use unroll.me as my main tool for combating the email flood. The one super-cool thing SaneBox does is (optionally) remind me if a person hasn’t replied to an email within a chosen time period. The problem with that is it’s another place to check for tasks.
  • BusyContacts. I don’t think this is going to do the trick for my contact management. The stuff it does well is already dealt with by FullContact. What I’d most like to use is Daylite, as I am having more and more complex interactions to manage with people, often people I have never met face to face. The only things putting me off using Daylite is the cost, and the fact that it offers a calendar and non-GTD task system which I don’t want to use.
  • DevonThink. This always looks intriguing but I need to figure out what, if anything, it gives me beyond what Evernote does. Evernote always feels like an application that is one step away from being really useful. DevonThink looks kind of complicated.
  • I need a better web clipping system. I am actually thinking about shifting it all to Papers. The reason is that when I eventually want to cite something, I need the bibliographic info in Papers anyway. The problem is that I will need to be very disciplined in filling the info in when I clip a page. Likewise for Kindle highlights. Another option is just to put the bibliographic info in Papers and put the app link in Evernote. Or maybe I just clip the web pages as PDFs, as Spotlight search seems better than Evernote’s. One challenge is the huge backlog of saved pages in Evernote and Safari Reading List which I have never tagged properly. Another note-taking option which might free me from Evernote is Notability.
  • I am trying out Focus to avoid distraction while retaining access to non-time-wasting web sites.
  • Lots of people seem to think that TextExpander or aText are great. So far I can’t figure out whether they really will save me any time.
  • A few utilities: uBar, which I don’t think I will use, but which gives nice access to all of an app’s windows; Screens, which I might use; Pixave, which might be the answer to organising my now large collection of stock photos; and Launchbar and Albert, in case one of them turns out to be more useful than Spotlight (probably Alfred, esp if I can get it to produce Accordance citations easily).
  • I lost all my Accordance window settings, and need to get them set up again and a decent Logos setup.