Since the last of December I have been overhauling, rather than tweaking, my workflow. As noted in this original post, my goal each year is to go through this exercise at the end of the year and once finished, to maintain my workflow and related applications and services for the remainder of the year to avoid the inefficient habit of constant fiddling with “processes and programs” rather than actually producing—being productive.
I am six weeks behind schedule but I have completed this work and am now committed to my new workflow.
I made these significant changes from the past year.
- I have moved from Apple mail to Spark on all devices. Why? Because although Spark has its frustrations, on balance, I’ve decided Spark’s power features outweigh its frustrations.
- I have moved from Ulysses to Scrivener. Why? Because I save the cost of one subscription, which I more than make up for below :-), and because Scrivener can do everything Ulysses can do and much more. I made the mistake of abandoning Scrivener well over a year ago. I will not make that mistake again.
- Notwithstanding my prior protestations, I have decided to use Fantastical and pay what I believe is a high price. Why? Because my original subscription still had several months on it and I accidentally paid for a second year so now I’m good through 2022. Don’t even ask how I did that! More importantly, I have decided that I can make good use of Fantastical’s power features and I much prefer the GUI.
- I have moved from Apple Notes to Craft. Why? Because over the last several years I have run into periodic syncing problems with Apple Notes that have taken a lot of time to resolve, because I like the deep cross linking available in Craft and because unlike AN, I can export my entire note structure in multiple formats, something I cannot do in AN. I also like the Page and Card feature. Craft also has the ability to create handwritten notes using the Apple Pencil.
- I have decided to import rather than index my material in DEVONthink. Why? Because it saves several steps, I am able to use the sorter on my desktop, and I have faster access to several DT features. And, though it may be my imagination, syncing seems faster.
- I have decided to stop using markdown. Why? Because I realized that when using markdown I’m adding a lot of unnecessary keystrokes and visual overhead to everything I write. Those extra strokes add up and given the programs I’m using, aren’t necessary for 99% of my writing. Additionally, I can future proof anything I do using the export, compile, or conversion features of Craft, Scrivener, and DT.
- Moving from PDF Expert to DEVONthink for annotating PDFs. Because DTTG v2 was so bad, I’d never considered using it to annotate PDFs until I read this post. After reading it I gave it a try using DTTG 3. It works great! Why? Because now I can house all PDFs in DT and never move them again and I can annotate as needed using both my iPad (my preferred PDF reading platform) and MBP. And because DT has excellent OCR, I can manage everything related to PDFs with one program.
- From Apple Contacts to CardHop. Why? Because 1) it has a menu icon for quick access and 2) because I can manage groups on my iPad, something that one cannot do with Apple Contacts.
So, those are the changes to my workflow for this coming year—and I hope long afterward. I for one am getting tired of succumbing to the siren call of the new. Obviously, that is not to say that one should not investigate and change as needed—as evidenced above—but I want to minimize that temptation and maximize getting the work done with less time devoted to managing apps and hardware.