My Desktop Organising Hub

Who would have thought it! After all of my experimentation with productivity apps and services … my favourite is probably still the big-hitting and awfully smart Omnifocus … I’ve come to rely more and more on my Mail application. It’s now pretty much my organising hub. How did this happen?

Well, a couple of things. First I am no longer in full-time work for a single employer so the office organising hub which was Entourage is now gone from my life. Phew say I; there goes Outlook as well. Now it’s over to me to set up a system that works well and with a minimum of button pressing.

I tend to rely on the iWork suite of tools for word processing and spread sheeting, whilst the Mail app that comes standard on Macs is handily integrating my iCal, as well as my To Do lists and notes. I didn’t set out to do this deliberately either … but the smart design backend makes sure everything just clicks together … integrates in a way that suits my needs.

OK. I have an iPhone and a MobileMe account, so my mail accounts, calendars and contacts are constantly updated across my computers … an iMac and my trusty G4 Powerbook … which is still managing very nicely thank you very much. Mail is smart enough to know who’s who in my address book so typing a few letters of the name in the address panels bring will up a selection to choose from. Here’s the good bit though … if there are dates and names in the body or header of an email, a mouse-hover across these will provided a pop up menu so you can save to Contacts and/or iCal. Too easy. When it comes to creating a To Do or a Note, I can do this directly in Mail and it appears in the Calendar on all of my computers and my iPhone. Again a snap.

And just as always, Smart Mailboxes or ordinary ones created on my iMac or my iDisk can filter out clients or companies and pop them where they ought to be. Neat. These smart filters are very powerful and from my experience of groaning, email overwhelmed colleagues … vastly underrated and underused.

Yes I know this sounds like a bit of a commercial for Mac stuff, and I’d be lying if I said I wasn’t an Apple fan girl … I’ve been in the club since 1984. MobileMe is still buggy and the iPhone 3G is having growing pains, but by and large the suite of tools and apps just work … as they say, out of the box and that’s how I like it.

But getting back to Mail, sometimes it’s the more obvious tools that get overlooked … the one that does the job thoroughly in the easiest way will always get my vote.

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