Newb Help OSX Workflow?

I’m looking for a different workflow including tags, finder, dock and I wanted to know where to begin. There’s a wealth of information here but having a hard time locating the basics

I’d like to start with the fundamentals and work my way from their. Thank you in advance.

You’ll have to elaborate a bit. What exactly do you want to do? A workflow is just a series of steps to accomplish a task. We can’t really help if we don’t know what you’re trying to accomplish.

I’m looking to start with a very clear way to organize my file system and dock. For instance I have a lot of different files from web development to blog articles to writing and over the years have developed some really poor habits. I found this website after consulting a way to simply clear out the dock. It was a good article that I read what it didn’t go deeply into some fundamentals of basic organizational patterns that can be used to simplify a workflow.

I have a variety of workflows from work tasks to personal tasks intertwined and is becoming a miasma of competing documents with different dates and categories. It’s a mess and now time to step back and re-assess. If you are starting from scratch – how would you start out organizing your applications?

Some tips:

  • unify naming standards (f.i. yyyymmdd-[name] ) And clearly separate areas of focus (f.e. work - private - family)
  • move all files off the mac or to a specific folder and look at your directory structure first. How are you going to organize it? I always do a mindmap to organize it in my mind first, that way I can take the time to think it through.
  • slowly add files back in the ecosystem. Dribble them back in while you work and organize them the way you planned. They’re available anyway and spotlight is good at finding files, so you’ll be able to get at them if you need them.
  • Use simple tooling to keep the data and workflows structured and organized. (Hazel/iCloud/Notes app/Keyboard Maestro/Textexpander (for naming files quickly) Add Hazel to the setup first, and start buidling from there.

It takes some time, and is a pain sometimes. But I’ve gone through it a couple of years ago and believe me it is worth it.

And for the dock: I only have a few apps in there, the rest I find and run using Alfred. And of course it is on the left side of my screen :slight_smile:


This is very helpful. For the most part I have naming conventions for all web related/Web development projects. Further, additional and different naming conventions for design work.

I started to do spend a fair amount of time writing and now for a good system using various apps to accomplish a goal of minimizing distractions. To do so – I’ve been writing in markdown for a while. I downloaded a markdown writer called byword and found this video to be helpful. The video clearly breaks down the authors organizational patterns and I’ve reached out to him without getting into the specifics. However – I’m looking to get my documents files/folders etc. to be as well organized as possible. After a decade of mismanagement and changing computers – I’ve made some stupid and lazy mistakes and I decided to focus on honing in on office setups as well as desktop setups.
Any additional thoughts are greatly appreciated. Thank you for allOf the above and I’m going to try cooperating this into my workflow/ecosystem.

The video link mentioned below:

I like the screencast!

One remark: be careful on using tags that you have to change often, in my experience this can quickly create clutter and be very labor intensive.

Have fun and let us know how you got on!

Can’t help on the dock, I keep in it all the apps I regularly use. but here’s my take on filing system reorganization. I’m in the middle of doing a complete and massive overhaul of my system.

I have a laptop, desktop, iPhone and iPad that all need some set or subset of my digital files.

I have 5 digital “file cabinets” as folders on my main computer. They are labeled Active_Projects, File_Cabinet and then 3, one for each organization where I am a current officer. Within those I have a single layer of folders that sort by name. In my system all someday/maybe folders are kept in my main file cabinet folder, not separate. This is a work in progress so I have many more folders than that right now as I am cleaning up the system. For now as I find stuff related to either organization I just dump the file into that organizations’ top folder and move on as I am focusing on my personal stuff for now.

Within each “file cabinet” folder I have a single layer of folders that sort alphabetically automatically. There are a very few of the folders that actually have a second layer but that is in the minority. Everything goes into a folder, even if it’s just a single file. The digital equivalent of David Allen’s file a single piece of paper.

I have a very few groupings that I manage by naming their respective folders in a way that makes sense. i.e I have folders like Software-Scapple, Software-Omnifocus, Sheep-Breeding, Sheep-Disease_OPP, Sheep-Disease_Scrapie.

I have DEVONThink for small bits of reference and that is undergoing a re-org as well. I do separate the DT stuff into that which I need on the portable devices (iPhone or iPad) and that that I only need on the 2 larger computers. The group names in DEVONThink are the same as the file cabinet and folder names on my main system. One DEVONThink database is an index of my file cabinet folders because I like how I can search in DT better than in Spotlight.

I sync the main and laptop computers with my Active Projects and Reference folders. Association folders only live on the main machine. No folders synch to the iPad or iPhone instead I use DEVONThink to sync items I need on the portable devices.

Use standard filenames with no spaces in the filename so that they are readable on all operating systems.

Use standard file formats that are open source or ubiquitous for my system as much as possible. (ODT, ODS, PNG, TIFF, CSV, SQLITE, JPEG, PDF, ZIP, DMG)

Dated files are in the format --


Circa dates use -00- in place of any missing data. Dates that are not circa but to a single level just go that far i.e. 2016_. or 2016-01_.

Range dates use _ between the data ranges i.e 2014-10-05_2015-01-01_.

Hazel rules to automatically file things that come in repeatedly. This is being added to now.

Hope that helps

This is incredibly helpful. Thank you. I’ve had some order slowly added in over the years but the addition of various suggestions here as well as some of the apps will make it slightly less daunting.

I’m trying to write all my articles, notes etc. in markdown. I’m still searching for better markdown tool outside of a text editor. Byword is aesthetically pleasing and Focused does a nice job of presenting previews – however each one lack a few features. I tried Bear for a little while – but the formatting was slightly off and each document needed to be rewritten.

Thank you again for your insights.