Friday, December 10, 2004

(My own personal paradigm shift, part 2)

Originally posted: Fri, 10 Dec 2004 08:26:38

Sitting in my hotel room at SIGDOC in October, I blogged about my "paradigm shift" in which I abandoned my previous forms of organizing my life -- based on taxonomies and hierarchies -- in favor of flatter, more combinable ways. Now it's December, and I'm happy with the progress.

Looking back, I think part of the change is due to my recent readings, which all seem to emphasize questioning, upending, or thinking outside hierarchies. But a lot of it has to do with new responsibilities I've taken on. At any rate, it's been a real shift.

Much of this shift has to been fueled by reading 43 Folders and trying out software. And this software has become vital to my working life, sparking some surprising shifts. I no longer use to-do lists, for instance, something that would be unthinkable anytime during the past six or seven years. I've found substitutes. So here's the roster of software I'm currently using. I started writing about these, but let's just link to the reviews instead.

- Quicksilver

- Notational Velocity

- Sciral Consistency

- BibDesk

- SubEthaEdit

- Mozilla Firefox

- Mozilla Thunderbird

And a failure. I tried several applications for managing complex projects, including xTime Project, OmniOutliner, and Process. But at the end of the day, I kept coming back to a simple Excel spreadsheet I had set up as an interim solution. Excel let me sort by any category and gave me extraordinary leeway in designing project fields. The only think it's missing is an incremental search. (Yes, I'm sure you could do this in OpenOffice or Gnumeric too.)

Try them out. And if you find some good apps, let me know.

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