New Job, New IMac. New Workflows?

I will be starting a new job next week, I’ll will be working as an executive assistant at a church, and I will have various responsibilities including payroll, acting as the primary financial contact at the church (read: keeping the lights on), automating common office things for myself and the rest of the staff and managing volunteers.
I will be given a new iMac to work with. This will be the first clean machine for me in nearly 10 years and I’ve been wrapping my head around what I want to do. Here’s the basics of what I’ll be doing from the start (you are bound to see a lot of MPU fingerprints I think :thinking:)

Apps I’ll be running from the start


  • Hazel
  • Keyboard maestro
  • TextExpander
  • 1Password
  • Alfred
  • Bartender


  • Omnifocus
  • PdfPenPro
  • Devonthink Pro

Workflows/ systems that I am wanting to be intentional about on the new machine.

  • I have not had a predictable/reproducible file organization and naming system. And as such I don’t think that I’ve been working from a position Of strength when it comes to automation where my data is concerned.
  • I would really like to mirror my omnifocus projects with a system for storing support files. I would love input as to how you all are approaching this.
  • I’ll have all new calendars, a fresh, clean mailbox, and all of that stuff. So I will be looking close at the threads attached to the mail/calendar episodes and would gladly welcome any input here!

I look forward to the discussion! If you have any suggestions for sitting up a new Mac, I’d love any input even if it doesn’t fit with my bullet points above!

What apps are you going to use to make stuff with and to communicate with others? Lots of lipservice are give to your choices but they are second rank apps. They support the system. Not saying they could not be excellent examples of their type.

Spreadsheet/Databases, tools to communicate with volunteers, tools that your volunteers can use to support you and your work.

We have a database system I will work in.

All the apps listed above have been in my workflow for years. If you have a better suggestion in any of the categories I’d love to try them!

I feel that the structure underneath the system is my main concern. If I build a good foundation all of the questions regarding the ins and outs of the database will be questions I can answer as I go.

If the apps are ones you like and have use fo years great. Are you looking change some of them out?

Don’t know that my suggestions would be helpful or interesting. Example, I can say i use Things. But that would be a waste… The subject of task managers has been covered in hundreds of posts. It may be that other members have applicable experience to share.

Wish you well in your new job. May your tools support your mission.

Not sure what you’re asking. If you have personal apps and workflows you like, and the job has certain apps they need you to use, you’re set.

Whenever I setup a new machine I open my new machine Omni focus project and follow it and create a new one with the few steps that have changed since the last time.

If you have the chance go all in on cloud, there is nothing better then having everything everywhere, combined with my earlier point about having instructions on how to get a new machine ready to work you can turn a broken machine crisis into a few hours of inconvenience.

I have spent a far amount of time bouncing around churches over the years, and as much as I like automation too crazy. Every beginning has an end and so don’t write automations such that you need a comp science degree to maintain the system.

That is not to say don’t push things, change is good, automation is good, you probably have the ability to bring people from the community alongside and teach them, more then once I have been tempted to start a computer group through my local church as a give back. (Currently I just bum around the Internet giving advice on topics that I am no expert in :wink: )

From my experience in churches for many years, I would say the most important things are the basics: calendar, reminders, notes, and address book. Our church’s admin. is constantly having people tell her things on the fly, reminding people of things, scheduling rooms, etc. Having a setup that captures this swirling flow of information quickly and allows you to find bits and pieces of information quickly is key (in my opinion).

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I’d add LibreOffice for word processing and spreadsheets. And I’d stick with stock Calendar app. For me I’d ignore reminders and use Omnifocus instead.

If you are writing newsletters or keepign a web site blog updated I’d suggest Scrivener for the organizaition tools. I’ve got a nice blof set up for all the web sites I use so i have a place for potential blog posts and also the final ones.

On filenaming I’ve been through many iterations over the eyars but have settled on a pretty consistent standard now for the last 5 years. I am slowly converting old archives to my new standard. Short form is one big filing cabinet folder for both reference materials and for hibernating projects. 1 folder for Active projects within it a single layer of project folders. No spaces in file names. All dates are YYY-MM-DD at the beginning if the item is dated. If circa dates use YYYYc etc. Enough detail in the file name to be pretty close to what the item is. Standardize on a very few file types. Clean out a couple of folders every week to delete old stuff but in general storage is cheap so keep most everything. Before any major software upgrade of any tool test on another system and verify old archive file formats are still supported. Plan on conversion to newer formats as needed with error checking duplication software thus avoiding bitrot.

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