My Conundrum

I am at a crossroads. As I have mentioned previously, I now use a iety of web based applications for my daily tasks. I have even found an easy to use, password protected, wiki that I am experimenting with trying to use for notes and such. I love Firefox for all of the reasons I have mentioned before (speed, customizability, etc.) but it is missing some things that I did not know how much I relied on until I was not able to use them (Mac OS X Services support, built in spell checking, autofilling of web forms to name a few). This has become even more apparent since I got on the web app bandwagon. Safari a better choice for many of the things I do but I like so many of the features of Firefox…

If anyone out there has an opinion or suggestion I would love your input.

A Week With My iPod as PDA (Part 3)…

Well, as I suggested previously, I realized that I really do not use a PDA much at all anymore. The combination of Moleskine and Backpack and Mobile Phone are powerful enough that I need nothing else when out and about. I may still use the iPod on those rare cases when I need to look up an appointment or contact but since I can have Backpack send SMS reminders to my phone for events and my most used contacts are in my phone I have found the need to do this is minimal at best.

If nothing else, this has allowed me to test my system of using those tools and prove their soundness. As a matter of fact, I am amazed at how well Backpack has become integrated into my workflow and I will do another post soon regarding this subject.

Now, I am just trying to come up with another “Week With” experiment to try because I am feeling rather uninspired at the moment.

Backpack is The New Black

I really wanted to post more about Backpack and how I have integrated it with my personal organization system-fu. As I may have mentioned before, I have become a bit of a convert to David Allen’s Getting Things Done methodology (as has the rest of the world it seems lately). While I am no Merlin Mann level guru, I have taken on a number of the principles that best apply to my workflow. Ever since the introduction of Backpack I have found it more and more indispensable.

The first way in which I use Backpack is for my context based lists. Instead of having a master to-do list I instead have separate lists based on context. One titled “@Computer” for instance for tasks that need to be done on or while at my computer. “@Home” for items to be done at home. “@Errands” for anything to be done while out and about. You get the picture I am sure. In Backpack, I have separate pages for each of these lists and add, complete and delete items as needed. I can also add notes, files and pictures related to those list items to that very same page.

Secondly, I find Backpack a great place to be able to store info and then, if I need to, share that important info with others. Bethany and I are taking a trip to Seattle in June. I thought it would be great to have a page that we could share and collaboratively add stuff to regarding the trip. In minutes I was able to create a page with our flight and hotel information and share that with her so that she and I can both add to it (a list of restaurants we want to visit while there for instance).

Lastly, the reminders feature in Backpack is killer. It is so simple yet so powerful. Even though I put calendar items in Now Up-to-Date, I actually put the reminder for that item in Backpack if it is something that requires it. Why? Well because having it both send me an e-mail (which I then have forwarded to all of my accounts) and an SMS message to my mobile phone ensures that I do not miss the reminder and get it anywhere. It just plain works.

One of the great parts of Backpack is that I can log in from anything that has a web browser. Secondly, I can add content to the lists via e-mail (A nifty feature of Backpack is that you can e-mail items to any page) so I can fire off an e-mail to add items if that is more convenient.

So here is my extended workflow beyond what has been discussed previously:

  1. Capture information in my Moleskine or in my Inbox (either the physical and virtual ones)
  2. If it is a to-do item I put it into one of my Backpack Lists. If it is a calendar item, it goes into Now Up-to-Date and Backpack if it needs a reminder. Notes can go a iety of places right now depending on what they are. Notational Velocity, NoteTaker and Backpack are all possible destinations. Note: I would love to eventually stream all of my notes into one location. Maybe, in my progression into using web based applications for the majority of the storage of my info, a Wiki might be a good idea.

  3. Rinse and Repeat

Well, there it is for what it is worth. As my org-fu improves I will provide further updates that it may also help yours or at least point you to some useful tools. At least now you can see why my last “Week With…” was a complete failure.

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