I use my Mac to organize myself. Email. Bookmarks. Projects. Tasks. To Do Lists. Clippings. Schedules.
My newest problem is how to organize all my organizers. Which one of many is best?
The tools we use on our Macs to keep us organized are many and varied and that’s not likely to change.
Remember, Apple ignited the personal computer revolution back over 30 years ago. It’s a personal Mac, too.
That means we can use our Macs to personalize all that we do at the center of our digital hub.
This year there’s been much emphasis on personal organizers for Mac users.
Apple gives us some with Mail and Safari and iCal and AddressBook; all necessary, all free, all insufficient.
More recently the most severe organizing problem I’ve encountered is which organizer tool to use.
Damn. They’re all good (well, most of them). So good that I sometimes dream of someone helping me organize the organizers.
There’s not much I haven’t used to keep myself in Organized Heaven and away from Disorganized Hell.
Recently, I came across a relatively new utility for Mac OS X that has more than promise. It’s a sterling reality in a familiar paradigm.
Developer Michael Tsai is the guy who publishes SpamSieve, easily the best spam filter for Mac OS X.
Michael also publishes Eagle Filer.
I know. It’s a dumb name for something that needs to stand out in a crowded field of organizers. SpamSieve is no better but works great.
It turns out that Eagle Filer works great, too. The paradigm is instantly familiar to users of iTunes, iPhoto, Mail, and other Mac applications and utilities.
The left column lists the library of information you collect, and a collection of folders to segregate and categorize your pieces.
The right column lists the details of what’s in the library or what’s collected in the various folders, all of which you can customize to fit your needs.
Where’ Eagle Filer differs from some organizers is the ability to capture just about everything in the library with a click or drag and drop.
Email, web pages, graphics, PDFs, Word documents—all the stuff that crosses your screen each day can get sucked into Eagle Filer for storage.
It’s a file manager, hence the name Eagle Filer. Yet it does more, and does it in a way that’s instantly intuitive.
Eagle Filer works with a combination of a key click, and a pop up window that sucks files into the library.
Grab a file, drop it into the pop up window and it’s instantly saved.
Each file you save—whether snippet of information, a graphic, a document, a web page or report—can be filed into different folders and you do the labeling.
Not into drag and drop? Try the F-1 key (or whatever key your designate) in various applications and information can be selected and sucked into the library with no more effort than a keystroke.
Searching for what you’ve collected is instant and much faster than Mac OS X’s Spotlight. Eagle Filer takes advantage of OS X Tiger’s Core Data SQL database which tracks everything you add to the library.
You can flag items, track items, add keywords, and more. This is a remarkably intuitive application that’s very powerful, but hides the complexity.
In between is BareBones’ delightful Yojimbo, which in many ways is similar to Eagle Filer.
Both store all kinds of items, both use a database to manage the pieces, both are solid and dependable.
I like the interface in Yojimbo but I also find it more complicated, as it also does more than Eagle Filer.
The trick to handling all these great Mac applications is knowing what you want, and have a willingness to try a new application for awhile.
I like Mori because it adapts to my style of organzing and doesn’t force me into a specific organizational model as does Notebook and other outliner products.
Eagle Filer is different and similar at the same time.
It’s also not an inexpensive product, but with that comes a lot of elegant power to collect and organize what crosses your eyes and your Mac each day.
Organizing tools are very personal. The problem I’ve run into while trying to organize myself is that each of the popular Mac organizing tools has something, some set of features that I want and need.
There’s just no single utility that has them all. That’s a problem. What are you using to keep yourself organized on your Mac? What’s working and what’s not and why?
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