I am no software evangelist. I’m also not a professional tech reviewer.
But I am a wearable health tech consultant, professor, health coach, track and field coach, biomechanist (my love!), father, husband, Sunday school teacher, blogger, author (check me out on Amazon self publishing - everyone starts somewhere, don’t judge), and grant/contract writer. So, I have plenty of need for good software.
To sum up my productivity philosophy, I like to work in the Peter Drucker/Ray Dalio/Jay-z/Royce Da 5’9/Jim Collins/The Apostle Paul-during-prison, spirit of efficiency. And since I led with Peter Drucker, I’ll quote him:
“It’s not enough to get things done. We must get the right things done, at the right time”. - Drucker
To that end, here are the apps and abbreviated, associated rationales for my use of them. I hope it helps someone find a little clarity. If not, I’ve surely rationalized to myself - my use of them.
Apple ecosystem (iPad especially): Last year, I switched my SIM card from iPhone 7 Plus to Samsung s9 so many times, I’ve lost count. But, I keep coming back to security, seamlessness between devices, the philosophy of Steve Jobs vs Android, software investment payoffs (OmniFocus, for example), design, and the diadem of complex simplicity. There’s no device like it. While I love the openness of Google/Android platforms, Apple’s ecosystem is more...purposeful to me.
So, here we go:
Airmail: Regardless of how many times I change jobs, I can access virtually any mail program with airmail.
5/25/19: Well, that didn’t take long. I just switched to spark, because Airmail just didn’t work for me. Maybe Federico and his iPad review had something to do with that.
In the end, it is likely I’ll end up back with apples stock mail. 80% of the time, this is where I am. Yep, with its lack of features and all, it still ‘just works’.
Omnifocus: It just works well. It is easy to dump a bunch of stuff in it, but if tracked and assessed correctly, it’ll only show you what you need to see in that moment. Plus, I like the story of how OmniFocus came to be. I wish I could have helped my parents like he did!
Drafts: I can capture anything. Anytime. Anywhere. With my voice, my Apple Watch (series 1!), and with my Mac. Oh, how I can’t wait to update my Apple Watch!
Devonthink: so much to say here. Here’s the cliff notes version: It’s a smart researcher. It’s a file archiver. It’s an email archiver. It’s alive! All you haters complaining about the interface: just stop. It’s good software managed by a small team who focuses on the thing that needs most focus these days: unadulterated intentionality and meaningful efficiency (i.e. not efficiency for the sake of bragging rights.)
Evernote: it just works. And I always said I’d leave an e-trail for my son and anyone else who’d like to see the path and trajectory of my life. Few other app can do this the way I envision it.
Scrivener: I used scrivener to formulate my pre-tenure package and my first book on spiritual wellness. That - in and of itself - makes me shout for joy. When it came to retrieving older presentations (for conferences and for teaching), accessing and viewing student/peer reviews, manuscripts, etc., and seeing this information side-by-side, copying/pasting/ comparing information against internet archives, reading and editing word documents, focus mode (what a beauty...), and so many other things, I, yet again, jump for joy.
(And for you writers: I meant for that last sentence to be overly long...)
Fantastical: OMG! Students and faculty love barging in the office, no matter how many signs you put on the door ( signs below provided to me, by courtesy of a wonderful professor and friend I’ve worked alongside in the past).
Student: “Dr C, I need to meet, STAT! I can’t get into class X, so i need to get into class Y, but professor Z won’t give me an override.”
Me: “It’ll be ok. Let’s meet during office hours. Which time slot would you like to meet in?”
Student: “Friday, 9am.”
Me (in my mind, “Ugh, I was going to use that time to get a few extra hours of sleep, then get that paper done..”)
Me (to the student, via smart entry in Fantastical): “Okay, Meeting with Frightened Student, Friday at 9am (typed just like that) it is. And really Ms. (Frightened Student), we’ll get you in that class, the world won’t end, and you’ll graduate on time.”
Thank you, Fantastical (Flexbits).
Journal: Now, this is the daddy of em’ all. I use a journal from Design Works in conjunction with the Day One Journal App. I’ve used a manual journal since the age of 10 (growing up in foster care will do that to you). I have used Day One since they first made the app available. My rationale is that I want my son to be able to pick both up, and learn from the life I’ve lived (once he’s of age) to understand what’s in both of them. I do the same thing with my Zondervan Bible. Notes are the archival cornerstone of my life, because they’re easy to document and easy to pass on. If they contain tags, metadata, and context like app-based journals, that’s great. But if manual, the reader can always flip back a few pages and piece stuff together (like Drake in Uncharted, Etzio (sp?) in Assassin’s Creed, or Indiana Jones (the original one). Either way, I keep both, and likely prefer the manual entry.
But Day One is also wonderful.
Like I said when I started this post: I’m no productivity tech expert, but these are my preferences, and I hope someone can benefit from finding some of these helpful.
Until next time:
“Let us pursue the things making for peace and the things that are up building to one another.” - The Apostle Paul
“Get the right people on the bus.” - Jim Collins
“Got to know all the ‘got-to-knows.” - Royce Da 5’9
“Pride always goeth before the fall, almost certainly.” - Jay-z
“Don’t worry about looking good - worry out achieving your goals.” - Ray Dalio