Whats in my toolbox?

Recently, Kevin Hoyt had a great post about how he gets things done. I was very surprised at how much what he outlines mirrors how I work.

So rather then rehash that, I thought it would be interesting to quickly highlight the things that I use every day and a bit at how I use them.

On my Mac

I have Apple Mail, iCal, Tweetdeck, Adium, Things, and Firefox open pretty much all the time. Firefox always has a tab open for Gmail, and a few other tabs either to internal sites, or to links that I’m getting from twitter or facebook. I usually have Evernote running, as well as some combination of Powerpoint, Excel and Word. I also tend to have the AIR based company directory open much of the time.

The one thing that I also have started to really rely on is Dropbox. Recently its versioning capabilities really saved me from having to redo a few hours or work on a document I was working on.

On my iPhone

I really miss the multitasking I had when I worked at Palm on webOS. I spend a bunch of time on a train most days, so I tend to use email, calendar, Safari, Tweetdeck and Facebook. I rotate through that list, starting up and shutting down each of those apps as I work through all in the information inputs that start my morning, or help me wind down my business day. I aslo tend to check the Linkedin mobile app every few days more than anything because I just find it interesting to see professional updates and connections from the folks I’m connected to.

I also use ESPN scorecenter, which was particularly handy during the baseball playoffs, I use Things on the iPhone to ensure that I’m capturing all the things I need to do. (Now I just wish it would make me actually do all of them) The fact that Things syncs with my Mac is great. I just wish it would sync in the background, via the cloud, and not have to require me to manually do it via bonjour network.

I use the Caltrain schedule app a bunch to refine travel times. I can’t imagine not having Yelp or Tripit. I don’t use them that much, but when I need them, they are there and work great. I love the fact that Dropbox syncs to my phone, and use that every now and then. Same for Evernote.

I’m guessing if you are still reading this that there haven’t been any surprises yet. Here’s one that I don’t see a lot of people talking about. I’ve found that I use the Comcast mobile app more than I ever expected, mostly to check voicemails, forward home phone to a cell phone, or to look to see who called. Its amazingly useful. I also check TV listings periodically on it. It has this notion of a universal inbox, with email, voice mail, etc, but since I don’t use Comcast email, thats just a feature that gets in the way. But overall, its a very useful app. I’m really looking forward to the day when I’ll be able to set my DVR via the app. Hey Comcast, I hope you are working on that. If not, please start.

I also use the camera on my iPhone to take pictures of my son bunch. That’s not surprising, but what I find myself surprised by is how often I try to capture video. I love being able to take quick videos and share them with grandparents. Its finally become easy enough for me to do that I actually do it.

I also want to mention Shazam. I’m surprised how often I tag a song I haven’t heard before just to know who it’s by and what it’s called.

The one app I’m looking forward to is lala. I uploaded all my music to lala.com and now I can hear virtually any song I own on any computer as well as easily and inexpensively buy new ones. Having that on my phone would mean I’d never have to think about syncing a subset of songs to my phone unless I was going on a plane.

So that’s it. I’m probably forgetting a few things, but this covers it for the mostpart. What’s in your toolbox?


2 thoughts on “Whats in my toolbox?

  1. Thanks for sharing Jonathan. I was also struck by Kevin’s post (and now yours) how similar my workflow is. (I’m chuckling at your mention of the Comcast app — I love that thing! — and yeah, also can’t wait for DVR scheduling).

    Probably the biggest difference is that I use Evernote for everything (including task management). I’ve found having one system helps keep me more focused (plus I’m Windows by day, Mac by night so Evernote won me over in that regard). The following is a very good series of articles explaining a great way to setup Evernote for GTD: http://examinehealth.com/personal-productivity/69-gtd-and-evernote.html

    • Thanks Bernie. If I was on Windows at work and Mac at home, I’d definitely consider doing what you are doing. I’m not a full GTD person yet, but perhaps on my way. From what i find of evernote, i think managing tasks in it would be a bit more effort than it is with Things. I’m wondering if I was on Windows what other task/to do managers exist that are inexpensive and sync to the iphone too….I think outlook tasks are pretty good, but they don’t sync to the iphone…

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