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Show Us Your Workflow! How Do You Make Tech Work for You?

Show Us Your Workflow | 40Tech

We write and converse a lot about productivity tools here on 40Tech, and the Grown-Up Geeks who frequent our small but fertile domain (that would be you) have always given us much to think about in terms of alternative methods and technologies. With that in mind, we’d love the opportunity to learn even more from you! We want to know your workflow; the tried and tested methods that you, personally, have found to get things done using tech.

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Post in the comments, or send us an email, whatever works best for you. We’d be really interested in selecting a few and working with you to turn them into posts. Maybe we can even discover some sort of uber-workflow within them all that will better all of our lives.

Yeah, that last bit may sound like a stretch, but don’t hold the cheesy wording against me – it could happen!

So what’s your workflow?

 

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About Bobby Travis

Bobby isn't 40-something, but is a strong supporter of the Grown-up Geek kind. He's a loving husband and father first, but is also a freelance writer, productivity nut, operatically trained singer, and (not-so) closet geek. Check out his random thoughts, wackiness, and Instagram pics on Tumblr, Twitter, or Google+-- or just head over to bobby-travis.com.

17 Responses to Show Us Your Workflow! How Do You Make Tech Work for You?

  1. Well, I have Chrome as my primary web browser. Since I mainly browse the internet on my computer, extensions are very important for helping me get things done. Here are the extensions I have installed:

    1) Docs PDF/Powerpoint viewer- one-click to open .doc and .ppt files in Google Docs, without the need to launch any office suite software. (Plus, I don’t have Microsoft Office)
    2) Downloads – A shortcut button to your downloads folder
    3) Flashblock – One of my favorites. It blocks the loading of any flash elements on a web page unless you allow it. Speeds up page loading, esp. since some ads online utilize flash.
    4) Google Mail Checker Plus – Displays the total unread messages in my Gmail inbox.
    5) Google Voice – Who doesn’t love Google Voice?
    6) TinEye Reverse Image Search – Allows you to easily locate the original form of images found on the web. Esp. handy for finding new images to put on my blog.
    7) Shareholic – I use this mainly to share links on Twitter.
    8) PriceBlink – Compare prices found at various online retailers while browsing a product page.
    9) Firebug (on Firefox) – The only reason why I still use Firefox.

    Another great app I use is 1Password Pro. Life would be miserable if this app wasn’t around. I used to use LastPass, but wasn’t fond of the idea of my passwords being stored in the cloud.

    And, who can forget Dropbox? File synchronization, online backup, no-hassle, it just works.

    Those are some of the apps/tools I have found to be incredibly useful. They have made my life so much easier.

    • Thanks Tony,

      There are a few there I’m not familiar with — I’m especially curious about Tin Eye.

      Do you use any sort of productivity tools in your flow? I’m pretty sure you’re an Evernote user, but do you have any other favorites that you combine together?

  2. I think I might have posted this in Bobby’s Evernote with 1 notebook post, but I have a pretty good system:
    1. Outlook for Calendar & Tasks, connected with Gmail.
    2. Evernote as my magic, portable reference & filing cabinet.
    3. OneNote as my written-note capture and Working space (on my tablet-pc) with a GTD Notebook for current Projects.

    I started to document my process here in the comments but it’s too detailed so I need to write it up properly and send it in for review.

  3. I’m a freelance copywriter, and my workflow system goes something like this:

    1. Gmail – This is my main inbox. I’ve setup a filter that would foward any email worthy of being referenced to my Evernote.

    2. Evernote – Thanks to Bobby’s article on the “one-notebook-to-rule-them-all” methodology, I now use Evernote as my main filing cabinet, but only for references. Nothing rivals the flexibility and on-the-fly capturing capabilities of Evernote. :)

    3. Action Method Online – AMO is fluid with the way I typically work with projects. Much of AMO’s referencing is very minimal, nothing advanced like Evernote’s capturing capabilities, but after reading CEO Scott Belsky’s book “Making Ideas Happen,” I can see why that may be the case. The focus is always on action, and any references should be used for something immediately actionable in the near future. Their research asserts that many who save references rarely look at them again.

    But, I still like Evernote, and I treat it like my extended AMO references. (So sue me, AMO die-hards! :P)

    4. Dropbox – For storing client work like files, contracts, etc.

    5. Highrise – Explicitly used for tracking leads and contacts.

    • Hi Bryann,

      I do freelance copy as well, so it’s good to know elements of my system have helped others in the field. I used to use Action Method Online — I wrote a post about it a while back, and even paid the yearly, which is amazing for me. The visual management of the tool was really cool, and the method is a great alternative for people who need a different approach than GTD. My main problem with it was that it came across as unfinished and was really slow to update. That was a long time ago, though, maybe it’s gotten better? Is there calendar (especially gCal) integration yet? I’m guessing no Evernote connectivity yet, by your post. I was really bugging them about that.

      What can you tell me about Highrise? What makes it worth the bucks for you?

      • Bobby,

        Nope, sadly there’s no gCal or Evernote integration yet. I fancy the gCal synchronization, too. That would be great since I’m a heavy gCal user.

        I can’t say how far AMO has progressed since 40tech’s review of it. I only jumped on it months ago. Last time I skimmed their support forums, they just finished cranking out the iPad app, and likewise the Android app beta is being wrapped up. Beyond that, not sure what other plans of improvement await the online app.

        Highrise is an intuitive contact management system. I think what first got me sold was both its effective organization and tracking of client relationships. With all the email and phone correspondence, I needed a way to see how my relationships with leads and clients were actually developing through time, and Highrise does it perfectly. I guess you can say it’s good at cleanly tracking “relationship-building.” Yerp.

      • I quite liked the AMO iPhone app. I’m quite certain Behance did a fantastic job on the iPad one, as well. It’s possible I would still be using Action Method Online if the tool got just a bit more love.

        Thanks for the info on Highrise. I’ve never invested in any of the 37Signals services, but they do get a lot of love from the business community.

  4. It used to be that Outlook controlled all my workflow. I had a Windows Mobile phone (and Pocket PC before that!) which synced my calendar, tasks, notes and email and there wasn’t much else around.

    I then bought a HTC Desire in the summer and have been trying to become cloud based ever since. Calendar is in Google, tasks are in Toodledo, notes are in Springpad and email is Google of course! I still download all my email to Outlook on my main PC, but I also use Thunderbird on other machines as I can use IMAP to Google and also get calendar and contacts from Google too.

    I also use DropBox for file sync and Evernote sometimes, though it seems a bit hard core at times. I’m sure you can do more in Evernote but Springpad is just a bit easier. (Plus they block Evernote at work :-( )

    Now I think your question is asking how we put all these services together. I don’t think I do!email tasks to Toodledo or notes to Evernote. I don’t put Springpad tasks in my Google calendar. This is partly because I don’t need to and partly because it’s difficult to get the different services talking to each other. I’d be keen to hear how people are integrating their services into one workflow.

    Which of my services do I pay for? I think that is for a different post! ;-)

    • I used to be an Outlook and Windows Mobile (even Pocket PC) guy too. I’ve moved up on the mobile food chain since then, but even before all of that, I burned Outlook at the stake. I much prefer my various web services.

      I think it would be fantastic if services like Toodledo, Evernote, and Springpad had clear lines of communication between them. I won’t hold my breath, however — because I don’t think it would be healthy… Thankfully, that all do hang out with Google Calendar, so it can be used as a sort of hub for the important (scheduled) things.

  5. to gather info quickly use Google Alerts and the chrome app “read later”

    every morning go through alerts, tweet interesting stuff and mark the others with read later app.

    When you have time you can go through those pages quickly.

    I recently started using springpad and I love it. So when I find an interesting page I would put it on springpad under a relevant book with the relevant GTD type tagging.

    I’ve moved from using Personal Brain as my main info storage as I find springpad sufficient for me. Don’t know what will happen when they start charging or go bankrupt. Guess having stuff on your PC is probably better. Best to have on both areas.

    I used to do GTD with OneNote and Outlook but found that when you have too many tasks it doesn’t work efficiently. (i.e. 500 tasks +) I moved all my personal tasks over to the iphone with the app pocket informant, and got a really good program for recruitment that takes care of all the task making.

    my life is a lot simpler now. Only problem is that every now and again some really cool easy apps come out, and then you have to change again….

    • Thanks for the comment Natie! I hear you completely on the flux of cloud services, but it looks like Springpad is here to stay, if their massive user adoption recently is any indication. I recently got a communication from them saying they reached 1 million users, and many of those were in just the past couple months.

      As for the constant lure of new and shiny tech… This is my affliction as well. :D

  6. For me its all about getting organized with less effort.
    My workflow relies on Evernote to do everything. I have a 3 step process:
    1. Evernote Clip
    2. Review
    3. Do
    Its supposed to be based on GTD though I try to minimize the time needed to collect, process, organize and review with a good Tag structure on Evernote.
    More details on my blog http://gieglas.com/382-getting-organized-with-evernote-gtd-methodology/

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