Productivity Links

I spent a lot of time this weekend thinking about links, but I
couldn’t come up with a really good set to put together. Then I was
reading Paul Stamatiou’s excellent post, How To: Cultivate That Killer
, and it made me think about the great productivity blogs
that are out there.

I should mention that I’m a productivity aficionado. What that
means is that I dream of finding the magic system that’s eventually
going to make me completely productive. I read productivity books and
blogs, I watch videos and I listen to tapes. That said, I haven’t
hit on the perfect system for me. I get somewhat bored of keeping
the same system going all of the time, which is, I guess, what makes being a
productivity hobbyist so much fun.

So I’ve pretty much accepted the fact that I won’t be as productive
as I dream of being, but you know the
old quote,
“Winning is not everything – but making the effort to win is.” The
links listed below will help in your efforts to be more
productive. Even if you only find a few things here that make sense
for you, I think you’ll find that you can be more productive.

  • 43 Folders – 43 Folders is one
    of the premiere productivity sites on the Web.From the site
    description: 43 Folders is an independent web site by Merlin
    Mann.Topics that come up a lot include: productivity and time
    management tips, “life hacks” to improve efficiency and get things off
    your mind, interesting Mac OS X programs and technologies, ideas about
    modest ways to improve your life and reduce stress, and cool or
    helpful shortcuts that make life a bit easier.
  • Lifehacker – Another great
    site. From their own FAQ: Lifehacker, the software and productivity
    guide, is a blog that covers tips and tricks for streamlining your
    life with computers (and sometimes without). Updated several times
    daily, Lifehacker points out software downloads, web sites,
    do-it-yourself projects, how-to’s, tutorials, shortcuts and tips for
    going beyond the default settings and getting things done in the most
    clever, unexpected and efficient ways. Think of Lifehacker as
    self-help for geeks.
  • D*I*Y Planner – Does paper make you more productive? A lot of times I
    take the advice from this site and I make similar tools in Word and
    Excel. From the site’s description: We are a community of people who
    see the value of paper as a medium for planning, productivity,
    creative expression, and exploring ideas. We encourage visitors to
    share advice and inspiration, and we love to see submissions for
    templates, kit images and story articles. We are also the official
    home of the free D*I*Y Planner kits. Please enjoy your stay, and make
    yourself at home!
  • moleskinerie and notebookism – These two sites are all about notebooks
    and are great for artists and thinkers who like to use notebooks to
    capture data.

Of course, there are more of these kinds of sites out there. These are the ones that I try to read all the time. After you take a look at these sites, come back and take a look at how you can use the tips you find with your Office for Mac
products. The two Office tools that I mostly associate with
productivity are Word for Mac in Notebook Layout View and the
Project Center in Entourage. (Though arguably an office suite is all about productivity.) Also be sure to check out
the Articles
and Tips at Mactopia
. This is the link for Word tips, but you’ll
find tips for all the products at the site. I learn something new
nearly every time I visit these pages.

Comments (6)

  1. Don says:

    As a more recent converter to Mac my comments my be off course a little but:

    1. Is it necessary to wait for the next revision of Office to get a universal binary? My impression is that performance of the Office app itself would go up significantly and would breath a lot of new life into this product making it well worth the effort.

    What-ya-say, everyone else seems to be able to get their apps converted to universal binaries so I can’t believe that Microsoft can’t. (Is there a money thing here I’m missing?)

    2. This one is a little off the subject but while I’m here – I am a native English (American) speaker living in Japan. For me OS X was a savior in that I could select English and OS along with almost all the apps I use, except Office, switched over to English as well.

    Is it too much to ask for this kind of functionality from Microsoft as well?

    Looking forward to good things from you all.


  2. opensourcefan says:

    Please elaborate on why this notebook view is such a good idea. I looked through the superficial stuff that came with the Office ’04 uprade but I’m not convinced it’s going to make my life easier.

    In fact, it looks to me, like it totally locks me into some kind of MS-only formatting or lose whatever I’m working on.

    I use TextEdit for 80% of my regular text processing. I only use Word when I need an advanced text processing feature like headers/footers, etc . It’s all about compatibility.

    (I also will sometimes run Appleworks in Classic and use that because it’s far easier to set up macros in AW or CW then Word.)

  3. Schwieb says:

    Hi Don,

    Office 2004 was built on CFM technologies.  In order to make a Universal Binary, we needed to move Office to Mach technologies first.  We were already a year or so into that work in Office 12 when Apple announced the Intel transition.  If we had dropped *everything* on Office 12, we’d still have had to repeat most of that year of work on Office 2004 and then we’d still have to add the Intel compatbility work on top of that.  The net effect is that we really wouldn’t have had Office 2004UB out a whole lot sooner than Office 12 will be (because of the need to duplicate so much work) and Office 12 will have newer features and support for WinOffice 2007 features like the new Open XML file formats.

  4. nadyne says:

    osfan – I can’t speak for anyone else, but here’s what I do.  I use the Notebook Layout view for the umpteen million recurring meetings that I attend.  I have one file for each of the recurring meetings that I have.  Then I use the tabs along the right side for each individual occurrence of the meeting.  This makes it easy for me to keep all of my notes about one thing together.  So I’ve got one file for my meetings with my manager, another one for the weekly Entourage meeting, etc.  I also use it for the notes that I keep from my usability studies, ethnography, and other related research.  

  5. chuckbo says:

    I haven’t read the book yet, but the Manager Tools podcast says very good things about David Allan’s book Getting Things Done. You may have already run into that one. As an aside (and I don’t know if you have any rules discouraging us from mentioning other companies’ products), but I see that OmniGroup is preparing a new personal productivity program based on the concepts of that book.


  6. Rand says:

    The ‘Getting Things Done’ (GTD) site at has a very good manual about setting up Entourage to implement the GTD strategy. You can download it for $10 from .

    I highly recommend David Allen’s ‘Getting Things Done’ book. I’ve read a lot of books on productivity and getting organized, but this one is by far the best most practical.