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2019 reflection question

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Posted by Hugh
Jan 4, 2020 at 04:01 PM


Over the last twelve months, in an effort to get more done, I’ve been trialling anti-distraction software and, following David Sparks and others, “hyper-scheduling” (all on a Mac).

As far as anti-distraction applications are concerned, I’ve tried Freedom, Focus, Be Focused Pro and FocusMe. So far I’ve found FocusMe to be the most flexible, Focus and Freedom in its pro version to be in different ways expensive, and Be Focused Pro to be inexpensive but jarring in its design. My current preference is FocusMe (although I like Focus’s UI).

In hyper-scheduling trials I’ve tried Tick Tick and Skedpal. Skedpal was very intriguing but reminded me of similar apps with scheduling algorithms that I tried on Windows fifteen or more years ago, with immense possibilities for wasting time by tinkering. After trying Tick Tick I can understand why there are fans of it on this forum. It’s a reliable and nicely designed application, and works well on both Mac and iOS. In the end however for hyper-scheduling I returned to the combination that I already owned of OmniFocus and Fantastical, and drag-and-drop (because, though slightly less pretty than Tick Tick, the combination is reasonably simple to use and in the round works almost as well as Tick Tick does).


Posted by Hugh
Jan 4, 2020 at 04:55 PM


I should add - in answer to the question at the top of this thread - that based on this experience, tools such as these do work. I’m getting more done. But I ought also to add that there’s a very obvious lesson to be re-learnt here: crimp-wise, additional complexity can be more fun, but it can also undermine the productivity that tools such as these are supposed to enhance.


Posted by yosemite
Jan 4, 2020 at 10:14 PM


I’ve discovered that what I want is a combination of TreeSheets and workflowy and [[linking]] that idealy would use plain text / markdown / html for its format.  I’ve been experimenting with Excel trying to create something that gets most of each but sadly lacks the best of each.

As always for me, the two most important features by far are scale (maintaining speed even under huge loads) and instant-search.  Unfortunately nothing except some text editors and search engines do both (Sublime Text, EmEditor, Everything search, X1 search, Lookeen in some cases).  Excel and workflowy come close.  dynalist, checkvist, moo.do, etc, do not (they crawl under heavy loads).  And none of the text editors do the powerful outlining, [[linking]], or freeform nested grids of treesheets.

So I defiantly continue to CRIMP!!!


Posted by MadaboutDana
Jan 6, 2020 at 09:18 AM


I still CRIMP (very merrily), but my personal info management is now concentrated almost exclusively on NotePlan and Numbers (the latter for sketching out projects, workflows etc.) running, of course, on Mac (and iOS/iPadOS).

NotePlan is evolving quite rapidly and is one of the most impressively flexible schedulers of any, not least because of the wonderful way you can combine extensive notes with its Calendar overview (you can cause tasks in project Notes to show up in Calendar just by adding a date; you can also easily reschedule them).

It integrates with Calendar and Reminders, and it supports wiki-linking between all Notes/Calendar entries.

And Eduard is exceptionally responsive to suggestions.

Finally, the whole thing is, at bottom, text-based, so there’s no sense of proprietary lock-in.


Posted by Drewster
Jan 6, 2020 at 01:50 PM


MadaboutDana wrote:

>NotePlan is evolving quite rapidly and is one of the most impressively
>flexible schedulers of any, not least because of the wonderful way you
>can combine extensive notes with its Calendar overview (you can cause
>tasks in project Notes to show up in Calendar just by adding a date; you
>can also easily reschedule them).

I enjoyed using NotePlan, which I did religiously for about 6 months. However I realised that the information I was putting in was metaphorically disappearing into the void. The app wasn’t losing it, but due to the nature of its design, whatever I typed into each day was basically lost and forgotten once the next day rolled over.

I switched to Agenda because of the way it links project notes together in a timeline/ribbon of notes. This keeps past notes at front of mind and they are easy to find. Yet everything else about Agenda is frustrating, slow and clunky.

I’d be interested to hear your views of NotePlan in the context I’ve described - perhaps there is another way to structure notes in NotePlan that I didn’t figure out? It is a beautiful and functional app, and I would be happy to return if I could make it work for me.


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