Favorite productivity computer programs

Yes, productive, really. While much surrounding a computer can become a huge waste of time, there are some programs that are truly productivity enhancers. Here are a few that I rely on every day. Disclaimer: no pecuniary interest, just a happy customer.

Caution: large article. If you see this on Facebook you’ll want to go to my blog to read and see the screen shots better.

Keybreeze:  As their site says, “Perform any task in a second” thus

Start the process from the hotkey

Once you press the hotkey, type entries to …

  • Open files, folders, and websites.
  • Search your computer.
  • Search websites.
  • Perform system tasks.
  • Control windows on your screen.
  • Paste custom text into a text field.
  • Automate actions.
  • Create notes; set reminders.
  • Launch plug-ins.

    Example of the window of commands

and just tap the semicolon twice to insert
a semicolon in a text field.

There is a free version for personal use that is quite good, and for $19.95 you get a commercial license with more features. Right now you get TWO licenses for $20 (as of 2/7/2010 anyway) so that’s a really good deal.

I use it to start up ALL of my programs, common websites, and more.

Ever have problems remembering things? Tired of making notes on your computer screen with a magic marker only to have to use whiteout to make changes?   🙂  Like to jot down or somehow remember stuff, either from a phone call or conversation, or something off of the internet?

Then try Evernote.

Depicting the types of media capable of being stored in Evernote

Again, there is a very adequate free version (Jen says I’m the king of free software) but I’ve opted for the $45/year “Pro” version because it does a lot of things very well. And I believe in supporting good software.  From their website:

Chances are, if you can see it or think of it, Evernote can help you remember it. Type a text note. Clip a web page. Snap a photo. Grab a screenshot. Evernote will keep it all safe.

Everything you capture is automatically processed, indexed, and made searchable. If you like, you can add tags or organize notes into different notebooks.

Search for notes by keywords, titles, and tags. Evernote magically makes printed and handwritten text inside your images searchable, too.

Just a few of the potential uses of Evernote ...

Only your imagination (or lack thereof) will hinder what you can do with Evernote for capturing thoughts and information.

I captured this screen shot using Evernote and it went immediately into a note. I then right-clicked on it in Evernote and saved it as a jpeg file so that I could upload it here.

You can store almost any kind of file or graphic.

And my favorite productivity-machine software is yet to come. It’s not free, but there is a free trial that gives you a great preview. I’ve written about it before, called “The Brain.” It now is not simply “The Brain” but rather “THE” brain, i.e. mine. Proceeding with all due speed I am dumping everything I know into it.  As the website says,

Simply type in your ideas. Drag and drop files and web pages. Any idea can be linked to anything else. Using your digital Brain is like cruising through a Web of your thinking. See new relationships. Discover connections. Go from the big picture of everything to a specific detail in seconds. Accelerate your mind.

Any type of document, a web link or a whole page, photos, free-form text, anything … literally … can be stored in, linked to/from, commented upon, searched, and otherwise used and referenced, very quickly. You have to go to the site to get even a moderate appreciation of the power, but here’s a preview.

One use I make is to document complex cases to keep track of the parties, lawyers, pleadings, deadlines, pending motions, research, and literally everything I want to recall from hearing to hearing. Here is the top level of the hierarchy of a case, actual screen shots from my Brain:

You see typical areas of info for a case.

Everything is organized in a hierarchy (which you choose) of parent (above), child (below) or sibling (side) relationship. Any item can have multiple parents, multiple children and/or multiple siblings.

When an item is selected, it becomes the central item and its parents, children and siblings are arranged around it, thusly:

Here you see something about the parties and lawyers

If you can see it, there is a small icon to the left of the Plaintiffs box, it’s actually a small photograph. Documents create their own identifiable icon (like the Word “W” of the Excel mini-sheet), but you can affix an icon of your choice as well. In this one, here is what I created for it:

Here's how to remember the lawyers not seen often.

I can easily remember all the lawyers. Although my cell phone shot (taken with their permission) is blurry, it serves its purpose.

I really can’t easily articulate in this space how powerful The Brain is. Here is a link to a page that will blow your mind if you’ll just watch the videos.

And be absolutely certain to click on the links in the box to the right and view the recorded webcast. Here is the graphic, click on it to view an amazing process, and some fascinating history lessons to boot:

Click on the graphic and sit back to enjoy ....

This concludes my brief review of but three (of hundreds) of productivity/organizing software that I’ve found to be especially useful and frankly, at least in my way of thinking and doing, important parts of my personal and professional digital life.

Enjoy.

Evernote and GTD | Productivity 101

Evernote and GTD: Setting up Evernote

I have been thinking about writing about my setup for quite some time now. Now that our building project in our home is almost finished I have time to get started with a series on how to make the best use of Evernote when you are using the Getting Things Done method for organizing your work.

via Evernote and GTD | Productivity 101.

The referenced blog has four articles on using Evernote within the GTD (Getting Things Done) paradigm. I’m beginning to develop a workable system there myself and find a lot of the insights in this article to be useful.

Evernote (www.evernote.com) is a fantastic tool. I don’t know how I could live without it at this point, especially now that I can scan documents directly to a PDF that goes into Evernote. The ability to sync desktop to internet and to mobile devices is superb. I just wish they had a BlackBerry version of the mobile client. That’s way overdue.