Before I start – a disclaimer: this will be a bit of a geeky post and completely irrelevant for anyone not on a Mac. If you don’t have a Mac, well then hopefully this gives you yet another reason to want one.
This is the first of a couple of posts about how I’ve set up my Mac. Personally I’m pretty happy with the way it’s working for me, and I figured that it would be great to share some of the tools that I use (… as I expect that I’ve spent a little bit of time tuning my setup, I figured it can be useful for others too!).
The Todo List – Things
First of all, I use Things for my todo list. It’s pretty to look at (if you’re going to spend a lot of time with your todos, better have something beautiful), it’s efficient, it’s easy to use and all in all does what I need it to. Additionally it syncs with my iPhone so I can always access my todos.
Project Reference Materials – Things Folders
I use Things Folders to store project reference materials. Project reference materials are any files that are associated with the projects I’m working with. Things Folders create a filesystem that is automatically updated with all your projects.
Project Reference Materials – Evernote
For project reference materials that are scraps of notes, bookmarks, webpages or links I use Evernote. Evernote is a great way to store just about any scrap of note or link. I have a couple of scripts that I modified from other’s sources that helps me sync my Evernote to Things.
EvernoteLinks – This script runs in the background and whenever a note in Evernote is tagged with the same name as a project in Things a link is created in the “notes field” of Things. The script was originally from this thread and I modified it slightly to suit my needs. Original of the script came from here.
Evernote2Things – This script automatically creates todos from any note that is tagged “todo” in Evernote. I have a slightly modified version to allow creating notes from e-mail, as mentioned below. Original of the script came from here.
To have these two scripts start when you start your computer, unzip the files in to the “Applications” director. Then go to “System Preferences”, choose “User Accounts” and then select your own user account, click “Login Items” and then click the “+” and find the two applications Everenote2Things and EvernoteLinks and add them to your list of login items.
Quick add of todos – via LaunchBar
Things have their own excellent feature for quickly adding a new todo (you can choose your own keys – but by default it is Ctrl+Space and Ctrl+Alt+Space), however since I use LaunchBar heavily, I can add items from LaunchBar directly (I find it’s just faster that way):
Quick add of todos – via eMail
I also like to forward and link e-mails to my todos. In this way, I can easily create a new todo related to an e-mail. I used to use Mailplane which integrated with Things so that Ctrl+Alt+Space would automatically link to the e-mail thread in question. Now I use Sparrow Mail which doesn’t have this feature, so I have used the above mentioned Evernote2Things to achieve the same thing.
What I do is that whenever I have an e-mail that requires a Todo, I forward that e-mail to my special “Evernote secret mail address” which is provided by Evernote. I have a special notebook called “todos” and a tag called “todo”, so when I e-mail I simply append “@todos” (which instructs Evernote to store this e-mail in the notebook “todo”) and “#todo” (which sets the tag “todo”) to the subject line.
Once Evernote has synced to my local program (which it does within a minute) Evernote2Things mentioned above automatically adds a todo in Things.