- https://xph.us/2013/01/22/inbox-zero-for-life.html for managing email
- bitlbee + weechat for managing social messaging. Slack for work.
- A custom deployment of https://github.com/gollum/gollum for managing all notes, personal and work related. Can easily share Markdown files with teammates / friends. https://github.com/zachlatta/mullog is code for custom deployment. I usually edit locally using vim and have tons of shell scripts specific to note management to automate file creation, renaming, and git usage. This is my most used life system and I'm almost constantly using it.
- Arch Linux with i3 and tons of custom scripts for managing how I use my computer. Have heavily customized my machine in https://github.com/zachlatta/dotfiles.
It's difficult to predict the future and unlikely that someone else will build a tool that will always meet my personal needs, especially as they change over time. Better to use systems that lend themselves to customization so I can always build systems that work for me – hence heavy reliance on scriptable programs.
Also Google Inbox's reminders were an honest to god game changer for me. I pretty much don't forget anything anymore. I even have a recurring "take out the trash" reminder pop every Sunday for example.
There's more to Inbox, like snoozing reminders (and emails). It just all comes together as just the right reminder package for my needs.
I have separate "teams" to sort my many different boards for my work-related notes, my side-business notes, and my family-related notes.
Planning out meals a week at a time also makes grocery shopping simple and painless.
- Zim for my todo and write down my ideas/projects http://zim-wiki.org/
- Syncthing to synchronize and backup :https://syncthing.net/
- Secret voice recorder to save a quick vocal message without the pain to turn on my phone and write my idea: https://play.google.com/store/apps/details?id=com.miragestac...
- GPSLogger to save my gps position every 10 minutes and save it as gpx, and synchronizing the files with my server : https://play.google.com/store/apps/details?id=com.mendhak.gp...
I also don't really track time for projects specifically, but rather say that my time spent was 'focused' on a work task or 'not focused'. Focused just means that I planned ahead and committed to do a task, as opposed to just picking up thing as I go along (which sometime works pretty well, and can be more creative).
As for larger distractions, or forgetting to switch the task in the time logger, I'm using an app that beeps me every 20 minutes so I notice the passing time better. I'm using BlipBlip for Android.
It can also help you get started with lucid dreaming, which is awesome.
Thanks for the useful response!
- Native notes tasks and calendar for iOS/OSX, I can sync it with work's exchange / iCloud / gmail and it works with "Siri - remind my to do x on y time" tried other dedicated apps, but this just makes everything simpler.
- Pomodoro app on my phone, this is simply amazing, best way to get work done
- Google sheets and Mint for budgeting etc.
I tried other apps and tools (RescueTime was nice but I can't use it at work or on iOS)
Didn't try IFTTT or similar tools but never found the need.
Some things I've used at various points in the past for specific goals:
-My fitness pal for tracking food
-Spreadsheets for tracking workouts. I found it worked easier if I just listed everything I was going to do weeks in advance and just cross it off as I did it, vs writing it down as I did it
-Tiny but gmail keyboard shortcuts - makes sorting and going through email a breeze.
-Back again chrome extension. When you land on a page it tells you how many times you've been on it that day. Useful for curbing the HN and reddit habit.
My main issue with apps and even paper notebooks is every time you go to the gym you have to take an action.
If I lay out a schedule for 6 weeks with exactly what I'm going to do with dates, all I have to do is cross it off. And if I don't remember to cross it off, it's fine because I can just go by the day.
I found I was much more likely to stick to a long program when I did that vs logging it the old fashioned way.
I use 1Password to synchronize and store logins, passwords, CC/bank info, and other specific personal numbers (passport/ID, membership programs, etc). This solves two problems: I can view the info easily without hunting for the information, and I can sync it easily with my spouse. Moving to this has simplified a lot of the tedious "number management" that is modern life.
Important single and recurring events for me and my spouse go in digital calendar that syncs to mobile devices, with reminders. I use this for everything - work meetings, travel, fill out my fantasy sports roster, change my toothbrush, etc. You shouldn't have to live off your calendar, but I've found this very useful for things I'd like to make sure I do but would forget with high frequency.
- Outlook for everything email/calendar/notes
- Alarm clock on the phone for stuff I might forget
I can sort that notebook by "date created" and see a log of my life going back in time and I've found it very useful.
I've always wanted to create an app that optimized for exactly something like this.
Like a Zenefits almost for personal life.
Basically it's a todo list based around habit formation. It also has journal functionality. I set it to open when I open my browser; the idea is that keeping track of these things should be as low friction as possible.
As an aside, journaling (which requires minimal fancy software, or none if you use a paper journal) has been critical in accounting for where my time goes and what I spend my time thinking about.
I use ledger to track my finances. Also low friction, high return; my frivolous expenditures have gone down remarkably since I started doing this last year.
1. Brainstorming/thinking - https://thoughtwriter.org (which I just launched)
2. Remembering stuff (books, shopping, project ideas) - list limited to just 100 items (so it can't get too long)
3. Tracking habits - daily, weekly, and monthly trackers that only track current period and previous one. (So I can make sure not to skip two periods in a row)
4. Planning - an hourly schedule and a weekly worksheet to track most important tasks, fun, etc.
5. Capturing new ideas - queue that deletes items older than a two days (so it forces me to review things, or just let them go)
- Use Evernote with 3 Notebooks (Inbox, Filed and Shared). Anything I think of that I want to remember later, regardless of what it is, I toss into Evernote Inbox. I later add tags to it and move it to Filed. This allows me to do a quick tag search (either by clicking on tags or typing them out) to find stuff very quickly. This works but Evernote is really meh it just is the only thing that fits how I use notes.
- Tasking I use Todoist but, honestly, I rarely end up using it. It's a chore with every Todo app. None of them sync with my calendar and, at the same time, is available to me on all devices while also allowing quick entry and quick re-organizing.
- I use Fitbit to track my movements. Works decently well unless I forget to wear it.
- Dropbox handles anything I want to sync to any computer (usually not very large amounts of data) and I keep common files and documents stored there.
That's it. My biggest problem is I've found that organization later or temporary organization is far better than any organization up front because nothing is perfect the first go around but there is almost NOTHING that lets you do this and, at the same time, offer good things like calendar integration and multiple platform support.
Wow, I didn't realize my post would end up being more of a rant than anything else. Hope it's helpful to someone else though.
I think the Android app is really great and allows me to add entries w/ dates via voice e.g. "OK Google, note to self - go to bank tomorrow". Not sure if iOS integration is as good!
For longer-term events, I used to be a heavy Google Calendar user while in college, but now I typically just throw events onto the Reminders app as well! I like to set them for a certain amount of time before the event in case I need to remind myself to accomplish a few sub-tasks in the days/hours beforehand. For example, if I'm flying out to a different city a month from now, I'd schedule a reminder about that flight for a few days before the day of the flight, and when it goes off I know to create some reminders like "do laundry" for the next day and "check in for flight" for the night before.
Of course, sticking with a calendar is probably the better approach for this entire thing. :P I still pop things on my calendar, but I just like the sense of checking items off once they're done.
After some years of use and multiple spikes into other setups, I migrated to using Emacs org-mode with git and mu4e for everything. It's cross platform, text only, does have a stable UX and API and the licenses don't expire all the time. Couldn't be happier!
Are you always by a keyboard or do you find yourself with just a phone sometimes?
But: I definively can look things up from org through an app called MobileOrg. Also I can put things into my inbox. Mail still works the same with the built in mail app.
- org-mode for meeting notes, ideas, todo-lists, agenda
- ledger for personal finances
- pass for password management
- Note Crypt Pro for tracking ideas on the run
- OpenScale for weight tracking
- Wunderlist for sharing shopping lists with my wife
The apps I use are
- I use Cloudron's built-in email with bluemail android app
- nextcloud for photos, files, contacts. on Android, davdroid works great. For passwords, I use Keepassx with sync to nextcloud. on android, there is keepass2android.
- meemo for my notes and bookmarking
- gogs for my git hosting.
- tinytinyrss for my rss feed. i really wish someone makes that ui a little more pretty but the android app works quiet well
- I have our family's baby blog, personal blog/website and my niece's blog on wordpress. There's a piwik setup for analytics as well (via wp piwik plugin).
What I do not self-host: Wire messenger (maybe Riot/Matrix app will become good enough some day but I need video calls). I used to use Skype but it has become very unreliable off late.
OneNote - use tags. I mostly use the checkbox and question tags. You can pull up every unchecked checkbox in a document or review everything labeled a question. Great for finding things you forgot to finish. I borrowed from Wiki and made an stub tag for things I want to fill out later after I'm done brainstorming.
OneNote - put double brackets around a word or phrase to create and link to a page with that name. Great wiki functionality.
Keep - Pin important actionable items. Make a widget and put it on your homescreen. Set it up so that at the end of a productive day your todo list is empty.
Keep - Use location based reminders. This feature alone has saved me many trips to the hardware store.
Keep - Use hashtags to tag items. A great way to jot down ideas and review sets of them at a later date.
At work, I have a similar system just with a bigger Rhodia notepad and Lamy Safari on my desk.
Beyond that, I occasionally use Siri as a kitchen timer or to remind me to do stuff if I don't have my notepad with me. Also Gmail/G-Suite for email and storage with my own domain name.
- Google Calendar is what we use to manage the family schedule (particularly kids events, etc.)
- Google Sheets for finances and other family stuff. It's simply fantastic. (I used it 10 years ago to plan my wedding.)
- Keepass and Lastpass for password management. (Keepass for critical "root of security" stuff, and lastpass for everything else.)
- I've been using Google Voice as my main phone number ever since it launched.
- Google Drive for almost all my data (scanned docs, taxes, books, projects, etc.)
- Crashplan to backup everything (including what's in Google Drive.)
If that is the case I don't use any tool. I don't use notes, neither software notes nor paper notes, and I don't use calendars. I try to keep my life free enough of stress so that I don't need calendars to remember what I have to do. If I can't remember what I need to buy, it probably means I don't need that item anyway.
I don't use spreadsheets or anything like that for tracking expenses either.
Of course I use stuff like e-mail, although I would not put that into life-management category.
I usually add items on the desktop version and then remove them on the mobile version when I'm at the store.
- Workflowy for structured idea-generation and brainmapping
- Gmail for all inbound tasks, that other people want me to complete. Chained with followupthen.io (which lets you bounce/snooze emails for specific time intervals)
- Gcal for fixed-date events (meetings, birthdays, vacations)
- Dashlane for password mgmt. Used to be unstable but great now!
iMessage: I travel a ton for business and this really keeps me in touch with people I care about. Everyone I care about has an iPhone so it works (including my children)
Trello: I'd like to use Things but Trello is easy to set up with Zapier to remind me to do things, and to invite other people to the board. Planning a vacation or just sorting out all my priorities it works. I really don't like the mobile app though. It's way too slow.
e-mail: Mostly incoming mail from companies I buy from, or notifications from my bank.
Apple Notes: It's great to type some stuff up and share it with the family. My oldest daughter has an ongoing note shared with my wife and I on how much we owe her for babysitting her younger siblings. Emojis are used to signify payment status.
Apple Reminders: I travel a lot and I'm shit at packing. I use reminders so I don't forget something. I often use it to remind me where I parked (I tell Siri to add a reminder). Also up until we started grocery shopping with Shipt I used to be the one to go because my wife hates the grocery store. She would share a grocery list with me in the reminders app and it's easy to add something last minute or see how close I am to being done in the store as I check things off.
At home: Paper for grocery lists, conversation and my wife's amazing memory for most other things. Sometimes e-mails have something essential, like flight numbers or registration codes. Oh, and the password manager on my phone. My wife keeps various journals on paper, and those help her track longer-term trends in her life. Sometimes I'll set a calendar notification on my phone, but that's a little rare.
To keep track of any temporary complexity I use a hard-cover notebook that keeps track of the complexity until I find a way to eliminate it.
The goal is to build abstractions so that the details don't matter. Managing detail is a trap. Complexity and "managing" said complexity is a code smell.
This declutters my browser and give's be quick access, I 'alt-tab' to my apps.
For example I have dedicated apps for Gmail, Trello and HN (I have the HN app in compact mode, floating mode and have it auto reload 5 mins).
Disclaimer I'm the developer, http://www.bulldockbrowser.com
Qbserve for time-tracking.
Just started using Todo, Microsoft's replacement for Wunderlist. Seems pretty decent.
Alexa for Pomodoro-like timer.
Pinboard for bookmarking.
And all of that (current and completed tasks) is saved in a file format that is really similar to json.
Oh yeah and it's free and opensource: https://taskwarrior.org
I've built a custom note taking app that I 'self-host' on Heroku. I've also got a bookmarking app I built running on there.
Open tabs on my mobile are my reading list. I only really read articles and posts on my phone when travelling etc.
The To-do app they have seems ok too, but I bet it'll be changing all the time, which will suck. Looking for next thing that would be equally inexpensive for OSX/iOS/cloud.
* Google Calendar for events and reminders
* Google Docs for finances and checklists
* Plain text editor on smartphone for personal notes (keeping them cloud-free)
* A few social networks for keeping in touch with people in my life
For reminders, meetings, events, etc I use Google Calendar.
- rclone + google drive
iOS: Fantastical, Notes
Mac: Fantastical, Notes/Quiver
Better to dump it out and just your brain for what you are working on at the moment.
- A pen. Simply something to write with. This is important as you may not always be in a situation where you can record items digitally.
- 1 3/8 x 1 7/8 Post-It notes. These are for quick, temporary notes. Things such as minor tasks, small reminders, or short messages to others, should be recorded using these. They are then either placed at my desk (home or work) or on the desk of the intended recipient.
- Pocket notepad. This is the companion of the pen and should be carried around everywhere. Where Post-It notes are intended to be disposed after completion, the notepad is for long term records. Anything written here should have a bit more information. Specifically the type of note (task, event, idea) and date/time. These are then transferred later on. I've carried a notepad for a while, but it was always a little disorganized. I found myself with notes without context or direction. Adding simple categories didn't really help organize the notepad, but it did help organize ideas that could be transferred to a more manageable program.
- Zim personal wiki: This is simply a knowledge base to organize everything. All the categorization from the notepad is used to direct where to record notes in your wiki. The root of it for me comes down to Personal, School, and Work. Each one has many sub pages intended for specific things. You can do this with almost any wiki. I've tried many and settled on Zim because it fit exactly what I was looking for. It's easy to use, desktop based, I can access is remotely, it works with my backup system, and I can publish it if needed. I would like to try org-mode eventually, but haven't gotten around to learning emacs yet.
- Google Calendar/Mail: The final piece is a global calendar and messaging system. Gmail fit that bill. If an event comes up, it's usually written to my notepad, manually transferred to Zim, then created in my Google Calendar.
- Motivation: The most difficult part was getting myself to commit to the whole thing. It may not sound that hard, but developing the whole system required a lot of trial and error and eventually drawing out the hierarchy of what worked best. Since this system is based on a lot of other's recommendations, part of that motivation is building it to suit yourself. If you want to be able to fully manage yourself, it can take time to build what you need.
I've used this system for several years now, but it took me much longer to perfect it. I've tried several apps to support it, but found that recording things digitally leaves them in a weird place of not being seen as often and easily forgotten about. Using the notepad provides the physical interaction of writing it (which helps commit it to memory) and the constant view of it, since I see my last notes before writing another. This may seem elementary for many people, but it does really help me out. The Post-Its started as a thing between my wife and I, but turned into a crucial part of the system. I had many notes in my notepad that didn't really need to be there. If they could be written and removed in a day, they seemed much more temporary. So I started carrying small Post-Its as well. I started the wiki for school, but ended up using it for work and home projects as well. The calendar/messaging piece is one that I wish I could automate from the wiki, but a lot of it is manual, which I don't mind. Each week I can sit down and record things from the previous week, while planning out the coming week. It's a small period of reflection which helps me out quite a bit.