I recently started using a new paid system add-on called Pop Clip which saves me tons of time as I work in every application. A little menu appears whenever you select text and gives you access to your top desired actions to perform on that selected text. You just set it up and off you go.
They have over 100 actions you can install to customize your workflow and needs. You can copy & paste, and access actions like search, spelling, dictionary and even post to-dos to your to-do app or Evernote or updates to social media.
I've added some of the typographic changes I'm always making plus connections to Todoist and Evernote and that alone has saved me hours. They connect to a lots of other apps and social media services as well. If you spend just a little time configuring it, you will absolutely save a ton of time and lower your workflow stress.
Note: It does take a little getting used to if you're used to using keyboard shortcuts for copy and paste. It can feel like the interface is getting in your way, but after I accepted the pop-up offers for copy and paste, it actually improved my speed and overall workflow.
It costs $4.99 and is well worth every penny.
Here's a screenshot of the few additions I've added so far to give you an idea:
You can see a complete list of extensions here.
Got questions about it? Let me know in the comments and I'll be glad to answer.
Source: PopClip for Mac
Scrivener Helps You Pull It All Together
Ever wondered how in blazes you capture, organize and store all your ideas for blog posts so you always have access to them and can quickly find them and start writing?
And secondarily, but perhaps even more importantly, do you pine for a program that works with you instead of fighting you every step of the way as you attempt the sometimes hideously challenging work of writing useful and interesting blog posts?
These questions have plagued me for many years.
In the beginning, and for a long time thereafter, I struggled to manage my ideas and my written words. I wrote ideas on scraps of paper, tried bookmarking links on Delicious to jog my memory and save reference material for later, created multiple text documents in TextEdit and stored these in folders, emailed myself ideas and partial drafts, and tried many far more arcane and useless methods to manage my written words.
Of course some might (somewhat rightfully) suggest that all this effort to find a way to write was just a manifestation of Resistance, but that’s a post for another day.
Throughout it all though, when it came time to actually bang out a post, I had a devil of a time finding all the various bits of digital and physical mnemonic rubbish I had created and set to whirling metaphorically and literally all around my life. In other words, I was frustrated before I even sat down to write because I knew it would be a royal pain to gather my wits and bits. And since it was frustrating, I would rarely end up writing at all.
6 Things I Had to Have
So to recap, my writing frustrations led me to want:
- Somewhere to save ideas so that I could easily find and categorize them
- Easy and smart management of drafts and revisions
- A way to quickly see my word count without undue effort
- Great tools—better stuff than the basics in WordPress or TextEdit (the equivalent of Notepad for Windows users) but a simple and easy interface
- Relief from the frustration and pain with the WordPress composition screen
- Having everything synchronize over the network so I could write online or offline and on whichever device I happened to be using at the moment
Enter Scrivener, the Answer to Every Sane Blogger’s Dreams
A couple years ago I found Scrivener and played with it and thought it was wonderful. But at the time I was blinded by other tools and just didn’t think of Scrivener as a blogging tool. My loss. About 6 months ago I re-discovered it and I can tell you that not only did it address all 6 of the aforementioned desires, it went way beyond that and taught me to be a more organized writer to boot.
Now I also use Scrivener to:
- Store PDFs, pictures, links and sites in my research bin
- Highlight keywords in my post so I can see SEO issues quickly
- Speak my text back to me—I love this! (yes you can do this in the OS X system, but this is also integrated so no need to run outside the app.)
- Sync with DropBox so yes, even though there isn’t a Scrivener app for iPad, you can use SimpleNote and DropBox and easily sync your work between your iPad and your desktop or notebook computer.
Why Writing Inside WordPress Sucks
Some bloggers have suggested that you should just save drafts on your server in WordPress and write inside the composition screen in WordPress. But honestly, that sucks for 2 reasons that I can think of now, and probably more reasons I’ll think of later.
- I have definitely had a browser lock up, or a server hiccup on ‘Save’ and lost all my work more than once.
- (As if 1 weren’t reason enough not to write in WordPress!) I can’t FIND anything quickly and easily when I’m looking for it.
- And 3 (oh look, I thought of another one!) I can’t stand writing in that little window—I’m forever dragging the right-hand corner downward and trying to move it around so that the line that I’m actually typing is right in front of me, etc.
- And another thing—I have to flip around among my bookmarks site, my text document filled with reminders, and more things I can’t remember at the moment while editing and writing.
The Pièce de Résistance
When you’re writing in Scrivener, you can set it to full screen and then suddenly, wonderfully, masterfully you are presented with a layout with type that is the size you’ve set, a darkened background to eliminate distraction and, the pièce de résistance, a constantly rising text line that stays at the same level as you type so you never have to scroll the page as you continue to fill the screen with brilliant tappity taps!
Here’s the thing—Scrivener is a marvelous piece of software and what’s neat is that even though it appeals to a crazy-wide variety of humans doing superbly disparate types of writing, it doesn’t feel kitchen-sinky or Microsoft-Wordy in the least. In fact, the tools stay out of your way and let you get to the business at hand (by which I mean writing in case you were thinking marmalade sifting or tarmac shaving).
Note that the latest version of Scrivener was recently released (version 2.0) and I'm even more pleased with it as I continue to learn its new features. Also, this program has traditionally been available on the Macintosh only, but they've also released a version for Windows.
There are so many other features I haven't touched upon, but I figure if you're even remotely curious, you can find out a lot more about Scrivener on their website.
I wrote this because I thought it was important to feature Scrivener as a blogging tool and get the attention of bloggers who might have overlooked it. Truly, if you’re blogging and not using Scrivener, you may well be caving in to Resistance more often than you know.
I recently unboxed and set up Apple's new MacBook Air and I must say I was prepared to be unimpressed. Why? I had heard others say it was underpowered and it was actually too thin. Ha, figure that. Others had complained that there was no DVD/CD drive and no ethernet port so it's crippled. So you might be surprised when I tell you I agree entirely and moreso with the Consumer Reports MacBook Air review that gives it high marks and a recommended status. I imagine there's also a good reason for the average user rating of a solid 5 stars too.
Note: I updated this post on 28 September 2008 to reflect new options and better prices.
I've been needing a new external hard drive myself for a while now and after considerable research and deliberation, I selected one that did the trick. This drive is by Fantom and the reviews are consistently very good. The company also appears to be very responsive to faulty, or defective products.
Sometimes you just need a fast, cheap computer and you need it yesterday. And when I say cheap, I mean cheap; I mean as little as you can possibly pay, but still well built and with support that actually answers the phone.
We're assuming here that a Mac is out of the question for various reasons.
This is a box I can recommend. Check the reviews. I think this one will be the right answer. I've gotten Acer products on a number of occasions and been very happy with the product and their support on the rare times I've had to call.
And if you need a low-cost, high quality LCD monitor to go with that, check this out. I think you'll be more than happy with it (this monitor is NOT intended for high end color critical design work!) But it will be fantastic for 100% of what 99.9% of folks who use a computer need a monitor to do.
Hanns·G HW-191APB Black 19″ 5ms Widescreen LCD Monitor Built-in Speakers
Your comments are most welcome!
I've been going through it. I'm planning on doing the entire 16 hour transformation about 10 days from today and I can't wait.
There are some podcasts that really make it even easier to wrap your head around how this works and what you can expect—also hints and examples. Merlin Mann’s 43 Folders also covers Getting Things Done and just about anything else you might want to know about organizing and productivity.
I'm really looking forward to a huge change in the way my life works by using this.
If you find yourself frustrated by the overwhelming list of stuff you have to and want to do, you should definitely give this book a thorough review.
Check it out here:
Getting Things Done: The Art of Stress-Free Productivity