Not too long ago, the main option for task management on the Mac was iCal’s To Do list. (Note I said option, not solution.) For serious task management, the Mac was a barren wasteland. Not anymore. Looking through the Mac and iOS App Stores, there seem to be more task management tools than fart apps. Those tools range from rudimentary checklists to gargantuan multi-feature, multi-platform systems. I know because I’ve tried a lot of them. For users, this newfound abundance of riches finally makes it possible for everybody to use their Macs (and iPhones and iPads) to manage their tasks and even, perhaps, get a little work done.
But while there are some software categories in which there is one clear best-in-breed solution, task management isn't one of them. Picking just one task manager as the best solution for everyone would assume that everybody has the exact same task management needs—which they don’t. The choice is different for everyone. Here’s how I made mine.
You want to reduce your reliance on email—but the rest of the world still wants to send you 100 messages a day. And you're not sure whether to cut it out entirely, or just a little bit at a time. How can you decide when to use email, and when to use other methods for communication? The experts weigh in:
Do use email for messages that can’t wait to be “found”
You can give impressive presentations from your iPad‚ and perhaps even leave your laptop behind‚ if you prepare well and know what to expect. It's even easier to take to the podium with newer technologies like AirPlay mirroring and the latest version of Keynote for iOS. Here are tips for moving presentations onto your iPad and delivering them live.
Get it together
Apple’s $10 Keynote for iOS () can import presentations made in Microsoft PowerPoint () or in Keynote for OS X (), but in both cases you’re likely to lose a great deal during the import process. Say goodbye to some fonts, transitions, and builds that aren’t available on the iPad, plus audio and more. (Presenter notes are supported, however, whether created on the iPad or imported from a PowerPoint or Keynote for Mac presentation.) Therefore, when feasible, create your presentation directly on the iPad.
OS X’s Folder Actions let you attach AppleScripts to specific folders so actions are performed automatically as soon as you add items to the folders. Once you know the basics of how Folder Actions work, you’ll inevitably start wondering what cool things they can do for you. Here are three interesting Folder Actions to try out.
1. Print files automatically
As much as you may dream of a paperless office, you may still receive documents you need to print. If you only have a single printer, and don’t need to tweak settings for different types of documents, you can create a Folder Action that will automatically print any files you add to a folder.
One of the great things about OS X is that it’s like the real world. You store your files in folders; when you don’t want something, you put it in the Trash. But on your Mac, a folder isn’t really just a folder, and that’s not a bad thing. Take for example, Folder Actions. With this handy feature, you can attach AppleScripts to specific folders and have these scripts run automatically whenever you add files to the folders. That means that you can automatically get an alert when files are added to a specific folder, change the Finder labels when you put them in a folder, or unzip archives. Here’s how Folder Actions work, and how you can use them to save time.
Turn on Folder Actions globally
To use Folder Actions, you must first turn this feature on globally. To do this, right-click or Control-click on any folder and choose Services -> Folder Actions Setup. (If you only have a few Services, you may not have a Services menu and will instead see the Folder Actions Setup menu item at the bottom of the contextual menu.) When you choose Folder Actions Setup, a small window opens showing a list of AppleScripts. Select Enable Folder Actions in the window and then quit (Command-Q).
The following is an excerpt from David Sparks’s ebook, Paperless (2012, available from iTunes or as a PDF from the author’s website), in which he explains his "paperless" workflow. File-naming is just one part of that workflow, but it enables him to find files and to automate the process of managing them.
I once actually named my scanned water bill Invoice.pdf. What was I thinking, naming a file Invoice.pdf? Looking at my water bills folder, there was no standard naming format; for some files, such as Invoice.pdf, there was no way to tell if it was even related to the water utility. To make matters worse, my telephone, electrical, and waste management folders for the same year also had files in them called Invoice.pdf. So I had multiple documents from about the same time with exactly the same name. Just swell.
The fact that I am a reformed sinner explains why I’m about to get all anal retentive about naming files.
Google+ may not have taken the social networking world by storm the way Google hoped, but it does offer useful tools for the workplace and project-oriented groups. Hangouts, the company’s online video chat technology, offers a simple way for people to get together and meet, no external software required. The video service also integrates with Google's other free tools, so that you can talk while working together on a Google Doc or share your screen to troubleshoot a problem.