I'm a mac power user - which basically means I use the keyboard a lot and have optimised my workflow using tools I researched to get things done as quickly as possible without losing my "flow". I'm still working on this process, but here's how I am currently doing.
Firstly, my objective is to create, and to create as closely to my thoughts as possible. I'm a designer and developer, and I aspire to write. In all of these I need "flow" - distraction-less creation.
I've spent countless hours researching and honing the tricks and tools to help me. It's far from perfect, but for what it's worth I present it to you as others have presented to me:
Own your Mac
This is material for another complete post, but in general owning your computer is pretty important. Point-to-point jumping and controlling tasks is key: in Chinese Philosophy I believe this idea is called "Wu wei" (action without doing) which is the underlying idea behind a toolbar called Quicksilver.
Tools for this:
Quicksilver, Apple's own Spotlight, Alfred or equivalents: The Mac Spotlight can help you find files quickly, open them directly and more - it can shave plenty of time off your point-to-point mouse clicking. Alfred is a similar tool which goes further - for example you can quickly grab a file and email it as to someone as easily as typing a sentence. Or move files between folders you commonly use. Alfred and Spotlight learn from your actions, making actions quicker the more you use them.
Own keyboard shortcuts - You can save literally one-million wasted hours of your life by knowing and using keyboard shortcuts instead of menus. Who doesn't know and use control-z, and the copy and paste shortcuts - would you really go back to using the Edit menu and the mouse? Know your shortcuts and a new world opens up where you are the boss of the computer.
By extension - Own your Browser.
Own your Admin
In our everyday activity we create endless admin: emails, todo lists etc. Owning these things by sorting and filing quickly is key. The methods and tools I have found all follow the same principle to varying degrees:
New (Inbox) - Collects everything that is new,
Next - Prioritise what's important, keep this list short.
Someday Lists - Put everything that isn't in "Next" into "Someday" lists, maybe you'll get back to them one day.
Tools for this:
Things for Mac: an excellent GTD method ToDo list. Same principles - New, Next and Someday.
Mailbox: Take control of your inbox using the same principles - New, Next and Someday:
I will write more specifically for Designers Developers and for Writers, because I have endless research and results on these subjects too.
For now, onward!
Published by: admin in Workflow