My Workflow from 5/23/06

(This post is from May 23, 2006 — it was something that I wrote for an unknown reason, must have been for an old blog, and has been hiding in Yojimbo all this time. I am gone through and cleaned it up a bit and added in details as I remember them. I have also tried to get any links to some of the software mentioned.)

As I mentioned in a previous post I now use OD4Contact as part of my daily workflow. The greatest benefit of this new workflow for me is organization. I have made some major switches in my workflow’s recently to get better organization. I now tag all my files (using Quicksilver) so that I can quickly find them with Spotlight. I do not use folders any more — instead I dump everything in the documents folder after I have tagged it. I use spotlight and the open recent commands in individual programs to find files that I need.

Yojimbo organizes web clippings, links, and general notes and thoughts (including blog entries). I like Yojimbo because it has a nice little drawer that sits on the side of the screen and uses .Mac to sync with my other computer1 . The heart of my workflow is OD4Contact, I take notes on all my phone calls with the program so that it is filed under the proper contact and is easily accessible for reference at later times2 .

Here is how I work…

New Notes / Links / Web Archives

I create and store all of these in Yojimbo, since these are items that are for my personal use that I refer to often the .Mac syncing is a must — I can get the info on either computer without worrying. Yojimbo is also a much cheaper option for me that the seemingly more robust DEVONThink. I keep the drawer on the corner of my screen with all of the topics of my thoughts (my three companies, and the personal interest projects).

This is a place to brainstorm and really allows me to get down information fast and in an organized way.

Files / Documents

The next step is organizing the pdf/doc/jpg/xls files, as well as others. When I make a new file I save it to a folder on my desktop labeled inbox. This folder is for all documents that I am currently working with and it can get very full. Before anything leaves this folder I tag the Spotlight comments section using Quicksilver. This is very fast and easy to integrate. I then move the files to the documents folder when I am finished working with them on a regular basis, this allows my fast recall using spotlight, but it is no longer cluttering my inbox folder.

I use You Synchronize (no longer available) to keep both Macs in sync.

(ed note: I do remember all the trouble and pane I went through to keep both Macs in sync the way I do today with Simplenote sync and Dropbox — I do not miss those days.)


As mentioned I use OD4Contact to keep all my correspondence in order — whenever I need to do something with correspondence or anything else I create a new task in OD4 and then assign the category, and contacts (seems tedious I know, but beneficial in the end). Then I use the new call/email/chat/mailing buttons to create that new correspondence, making sure to note when I contacted them, about what, what was said (phone call), and if follow-up is needed.

Email is handled categorically, with the Inbox remaining empty at all times (I can’t stand a full inbox). I offset this with five other mailboxes in Apple’s, I have one for my new company, which contains any information that deals with that company. The next is the Drafts mailbox that Apple creates for you. Then I have one that is called Follow-up, as you may have guessed I move all emails that I need to follow-up on in to this folder.

Next I have a folder marked “old” — this is simply where every email ends up before I archive it. Lastly I have a mailbox called Reference, which is emails that I need to reference for current projects and to-dos (especially tracking numbers and such). I compliment this mailbox system with Mailtags, Mail Act-on, and the Notification plug-in. I will let you figure out how best to use those mail plug-ins for yourself, but once you get used to them, they are a huge time saver.3

(That’s all there was of the post, but I have a feeling it was longer at one point. Anyways it’s neat to look back at this and how much programs like OmniFocus or stuff from 37signals — hell just Dropbox — has changed everything.)

  1. If memory serves I wrote this when I had either a Mac mini + Powerbook or a Mac Pro, Mac mini and MacBook Pro. 

  2. This is before Highrise came out. 

  3. I can’t believe how long I have been using Mailtags and Mail Act-on. 

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Article Details

by Ben Brooks
4 minutes to read.


(This post is from May 23, 2006 — it was something that I wrote for an unknown reason, must have been for an old blog, and has been hiding in Yojimbo all this time. I am gone through and cleaned it up a bit and added in details as I remember them. I have also […]