- For many years there was practically no alternative to Mail.app on the Mac, but luckily that changed in the last couple of years and even corporate Exchange users like me now have more options; Macworld provides a good run down of all main contenders for managing your email surge on OS X
- Talking about email management: Indev has released v3.0 of its popular Mail-Act-On plugin for Mail.app; I am getting a lot of value out of it and use it successfully in my version of #InboxZero — post coming
- Kickstarter celebrated one billion of project funding early in the week and published an amazingly well done page with insightful statistics; Kickstarter for me took crowd-funding mainstream and hence has changed the way people go about investments forever
- Ken Case, CEO of the OmniGroup, stuck his head out in the OmniFocus forums and managing expectations those anxiously waiting (raising hand) for OmniFocus 2 for Mac to ship
- Also in the productivity space we might see a resurrection of the once serious contender in Mac task management: The Hit List; Potion Factory (well, Andy Kim) behind the app has been acquired by Karelia which may provide for consistent development and support of a promising app that felt too abandon too often by its developer
- The typeface flavour of the year seems to be Avenir as people look for alternatives to the "over-Helveticasation" of iOS; A very nice and free alternative is also ClearSans
- If you are looking for free web fonts similar to a commercial font then "Whats the Closest Google Font?" is for you
- Who is not battling with the optimal Wifi setup and coverage? David Sparks recommends a neat little Mac application called Wifi Explorer that gives you insights to signal strength and Wifi channel conflicts with your neighbour's networks
There is always a new setting or option to discover in Mac OS X. Some of which are so clever that you would never ever look for them — sounds like a contradiction, but really is like this most of the time.
With Notifications and Do Not Disturb Apple brought some of iOS' features "back to the Mac" in Mavericks. With notifications there has always been this annoying (for the audience) and sometimes even embarrassing (for the presenter) moment during presentations.
But Apple thought this – of course – and provided the below genius setting in the System Preferences for Notifications.
So there are no more excuses for your spouses's iMessages about taking the trash out popping up in board meeting presentations.
As some readers noticed, the OmniFocus for Mac I am currently using looks different.
But this is not a new OmniFocus 2 for Mac beta , it is just the "Modernize" Theme by Jon de la Vega. For the former I am waiting like all of you.
Unlike other themes, this one goes deep under OmniFocus' hood replacing icons and a few other application graphics. Hence you need to run a little shell command from the terminal to install it.
curl -L -O https://github.com/deadsunrise/Omnifocus-modernize-theme/archive/master.zip unzip master.zip; rm master.zip cd Omnifocus-modernize-theme-master sh ./install.sh
The installation runs flawlessly and you end up with a modern looking version of OmniFocus 1 which should help shorten the wait for OmniFocus 2.
While I suspect a beta to launch in the next few weeks, I do neither know when OmniFocus 2 for Mac releases nor if it looks anything like this theme which is based on the last betas.
When I shared a screenshot of my Weekly Review routine in OmniFocus on Friday I was surprised by the number of people that came back and wanted an editable copy of my checklist for their own use and adaption. So here we go.
It is over 10 years now that I am using Getting Things Done® or a form of it. My system has changed and loosened over the years as may practices that required effort initially have become automatic behaviours, but what has not changed in all these years is the review I am trying to have every week on Friday or Saturday.
It is not every week that I get to it, but latest after two weeks without one I absolutely need to check in with myself and see what is going on for me and what is not. Just to keep sane, really.
Many still think of a Weekly Review to be a 1.5-2 hours exercise and shy away from it. In reality it can be as short as 30 minutes. Maybe just every 3 or 6 months you should consider sitting down a little longer to look at your goals, vision in life and work through "trigger lists" so you do not miss any aspects.
My Weekly Review as per the below checklist is short and effective, unless I skipped it the week before which then requires some more time to catch-up.
My Weekly Review Checklist
Sometimes I have only time and energy on a Friday to complete the first block (Get Clear) and will take on the others on Saturday afternoon when I am more relaxed.
This checklist is a set of three action groups (set to be 'marked complete when completing last item') inside of a OmniFocus project which repeats every week on Friday 4pm with a due date on the following Sunday at 4pm and is also automatically marked complete when all actions are done.
The italic elements are the notes of the respective actions.
Get Clear (Action Group)
- Collect Loose Papers and Materials
Gather all accumulated business cards, receipts, and miscellaneous paper-based materials into your in-basket
Empty laptop bag and wallet
Collect and scan paper from around the house
- Get “IN” to Zero
Process completely all outstanding paper materials, journal and meeting notes, voicemails, dictation, and e-mails
Mail.app, Downloads/Finder Inbox, Evernote Inbox, Jabber Voicemail
- Empty Your Head
Put in writing and process any uncaptured new projects, action items, waiting-for’s, someday-maybe’s, etc.
Get Current (Action Group)
- Review Next Action List
Mark off completed actions. Review for reminders of further action steps to record.
- Review Previous Calendar Data
Review past calendar (since last review) in detail for remaining action items, reference data, etc., and transfer into the active system
- Review Upcoming Calendar
Review upcoming calendar events - long (next 2-3 months) and short term (next week). Capture actions triggered.
- Review Waiting-For & Agendas List
Record appropriate actions for any needed follow-up. Check off received ones. Look at subject for meetings/1.1s scheduled for next week.
- Review Project (and Larger Outcome) Lists
Evaluate status of projects, goals and outcomes, one by one, ensuring at least one current action item on each. Browse through project plans, support material & any other work-in-progress material to trigger new actions, completions, waiting-for’s, etc.
Ruthlessly remove or retire projects that are obsolete, got stalled for too long or no longer offer any clear or desired outcome (why did I even started this?)
- Review Any Relevant Checklists
Use as a trigger for any new actions.
Get Creative (Action Group)
- Review Someday/Maybe List(s)
Review for any projects which may now have become active, and transfer to “Projects.” Delete items no longer of interest.
Review OmniFocus Someday/Maybe bucket lists and Evernote 'Ideas' notes
- Be Creative & Courageous
Any new, wonderful, hare-brained, creative, thought-provoking, risk-taking ideas to add into your system???
Review A Little Better
The simplest tip is also the oldest one: Make sure you have uninterrupted time (close the real life and virtual door) and enough energy for your Weekly Review. It should also be a bit of a pleasure to go through the things that determine progress for you in professional and private life.
When you use other reference system like Evernote or simple folders in Finder you can either copy & paste note links from Evernote or drag and drop Finder folders as an alias into the note section of your OmniFocus action. This will make access to those things a lot faster and easier when reviewing.
You can even "drop" applications like Calendar or specific mailboxes of Mail.app into the note section in OmniFocus for quick access when working the respective review actions.
Finally, every review is personal and you may have a few things less or a few things more in your checklist. There are maybe project reporting checklists from work that you want to include or one of these clever parenting checklists that make sure your kids' upcoming week is thoroughly planned and in hand.
What ever floats your boat – just do not overdo it! This is just a checkpoint and should be an engaging one. You should feel better in control and able to let your mind wander to new exciting places after you checked in with things. If you are trying to avoid the weekly review, you are doing it wrong.
A little bit of a mixed bag this week was. Sound a little Master Yoda'ish, I suppose. Anyway, some good news and useful links still to my collection they made it:
- The Force was noticeably shaking when Apple removed AppleScript in the last major update of iWork and people feared that this was going down the wrong alley for power users all together; Fear no more as AppleScript support came back in the recent Numbers 3.1 release
- Tulio Jarocki is one heck of a Journaling Jedi and has posted incredible good articles about his Day One usage; Demonstrating Publish, the latest feature in the Day One arsenal, he gives very inspiring tips on 'what to journal'
- If you are looking for some simple, but still well designed iPhone Wallpapers to go with the reduced iOS 7 look and feel Thomas Ricciardiello has something for you
- Finally, as a final picking from the 30th Mac anniversary last week, a number of smart folks figured out that Apple used a font with all those nice icons of Mac models released in the past 10,950 days to show them on their Macintosh birthday website; Get it and have fun with it!