Zen & the Art of Macintosh Maintenance: Just F***ing Do It!!! Part II | IT With IQ

Zen & the Art of Macintosh Maintenance: Just F***ing Do It!!! Part II

. January 30, 2010 . 0 Comments

So, in the last post, we discussed how to start de-cluttering your technical life. We moved files off your desktop, and into specified folders. We dumped photos into iphoto, music into itunes, and generally got the ball rolling in a great technological makeover for the packrats among us. I know how to do this, because I too am a packrat… with one difference. I can find whatever I might be looking for in a matter of moments, or maybe with a few keystrokes or a quick swipe of my mouse.

In this post and the one’s to follow, we will continue the process, by talking about how to de-clutter some of your specific applications, and how to use other applications to de-clutter your computer in general.

First up: To Do Lists
I know you have one, or two, or twenty-seven to-do lists, but do you follow them? Do you keep up with them? Or are they just more stuff?

For me, I find that one To-Do LIst just doesn’t cut it. That list would be a million miles long, and I would never accomplish anything on it because I would just be far to intimidated by it, and the important stuff would get last amongst everything else. I need separate list for each of the separate parts of my life:
• A grocery List
• A Call List
• A Bills List
• A Work To-Do List
• A Home To-Do LIst
• A Things to purchase list
• A Things to research List

And so on… You get the point.

So to accomplish that, I use an awesome Mac Application called THINGS. (You can find it by going to this link) It is a simple, and well constructed application that also has an iphone app it syncs with (which you can find here)

Together these two apps have literally saved my job a thousand times over. They allow you to create as many to-do lists as you need, and cross reference them. You create separate “Areas of Responsibility” and link several projects to each (Home, Work, Money, etc….)

Every time I have something to do, I put it here. In addition to being able to organize by project, you are also able to designate priority (Today, Next, Someday, or Scheduled) so that you can put the most important, crucial things at the top of the list to prevent them from getting totally swallowed by the multitude of less relevant chores and tasks. You can also schedule when a task goes from someday to next or to today, automating the tasks of keeping track of when something MUST be done by.

Each to-do has a date section, a notes section, and a tags section so you can easily sort and categorize with simple keywords. The notes section is a great place to put phone numbers (so that you can make a cal from the iphone app with one button click), or a log of actions you have taken towards completing that item, or a confirmation number or a contact name, or anything else that you want to link to that item to help you keep track of it. When you complete an item, you just click on the check mark, and it drops to the bottom of the list, and will eventually drop off the list and into your completed “logbook”.

I keep a project for each of my clients, with a list of all the things I need to do for that client, all the specs for their separate machines, all the serial numbers for any programs they have, and any passwords that they use. This way I always have the information I need right at my fingertips. And if I ever need to print out a project, all the info prints out with it in a totally organized and clean way making it super easy for me to follow up on each item even if I’m not by my computer or phone (which happens seldom, but you get the point).

I keep a project list of people I need to call, along with their numbers, notes if I leave them a message, the topic or need for my call, and any additional information. This makes keeping track of my calls a breeze.

I keep a project list of all the bills I need to pay, with dates, account numbers, bill payment history etc… I keep a list of everyone I owe money to, everyone who owes money to me, all the invoices I need to send out… and many more. The point is don’t hold it in your head, or try to remember it, or write it on slips of paper that you will lose…. put it into an organizational program, and then JUST FUCKING DO IT!!!!

And the best part about Things is that whatever you do on your computer syncs flawlessly with the phone, so you have all your notes with you when you need them, and you can make changes, or add new to-dos, or mark things as completed, or file your todos from wherever you are.

Simply Brilliant!!!!


Next up, Safari and Mail.

MacWhisperer Out!!!!

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