I am a flip-flopper. The newest thing is always best; the grass perpetually greener. It is why I just got a new phone, and why my employer using Windows XP (!!!) on all employee laptops until late last year drove me crazy.
In addition, my favorite form of procrastination is reading about new ways to do work. All the bases are covered – the illusion of work, thinking about work, theoretically improving future work – to feel productive without actually being productive. Lifehacker is the ESPN1 of feeling productive, my main source of finding new ways to work (especially the How I Work series).
This is most likely the reason that I cannot choose a to-do/note-taking/organizer program. There are so many, but I think I finally have it narrowed down to about 4.
My previous favorite was Workflowy, basically an infinite nested list. Todo.txt is the open-source nerd tool, which just uses a .txt file. Trello makes everything into a bulletin board with cards pinned on it, and Evernote does all the things, everywhere.
|Cost||$49/yr||Free||Free for personal||$45/yr|
|Tagging||Yes||Yes||Limited to 6||Yes|
|API||Working on it…||Unnecessary||Yes||Yes|
They all work great, but at slightly different things. Evernote would be the best option, with its ability to store photos. but most of its function comes from storage, not helping me to process that storage. I am still figuring that bit out, and will probably use one of the other tools to do it.4
My favorite right now is Trello. I tried it a year or so ago, and it seemed better suited for group projects. Now, they have a better mobile client, and the documentation is easier to find. Also, the keyboard shortcuts5 are great and make using it fun. I would highly recommend using one to sort out daily life. None of them will meet all your needs6, but you can make them work together to hit all your bases.
- Come to think of it, ESPN : sports :: Lifehacker : working. What percentage of ESPN’s programming is actually showing a sporting event? ↩
- OK, you got me, those are all referral links. Throw me a bone 🙂 ↩
- I’m only about a quarter of the way into the book. But from all the lifehacking articles I’ve read over the past few years, I know the concepts. When my wife tried reading it, and stopped in roughly the same place to go do something else, I told her she clearly learned all she needed. ↩
- There are ways to connect all these services to Evernote on the backend – forwarding Workflowy logs to Evernote, syncing with Trello boards, and todo.txt. ↩
- Keyboard shortcuts are the stickshift of the internet. Not always necessary, but makes things a lot smoother, and people who always use them swear by them. ↩
- That is more of an existential problem than a productivity problem. ↩