Group Interview – Productive Software

If you made a list of the software that helps you stay productive, what do you think people would be most surprised to find on that list?

That is the question Productivity501 asked a number of productivity experts. Below are their responses.

A little program called On The Job from Stunt Software. It’s a simple time tracker and invoice generator for projects. But here’s how I also use it: I have entered what would be my hourly rate based on my projects and income. Then, as I field phone calls, do tasks, and muck around, I click the starter button on the timer, the “Stop” at the end. The value of what I just did immediately appears on the screen. Wow. After one day of seeing how I was using valuable time unwisely–and how much I was giving away to clients inadvertently–my habits began to change. Give it a shot.
Steve Roesler from All Things Workplace (rss)

Being able to see where your time is actually going is very valuable. I like the idea of having a dollar amount associated with it.

Google Calendar and Tada List. Honestly, I think the most surprising thing would be my complete lack of software. I’m a minimalist, and most productivity problems don’t need more technology–they need less.
Scott H Young from (rss)

Good point. I’ve seen lots of people who try to solve every problem by getting a new piece of software. After awhile they have so many pieces of software that they can’t keep up with it. If you can break your common tasks down to their core components you’ll find solutions that you might overlook otherwise. For example, if you think you need a contact management system, you may find that what you really need is a good way to organize a list. Maybe a new piece of contact management software fits the bill, but maybe you can do everything you need even better just using a spreadsheet.

Lookout Search. The search functionality in Outlook sucks. All of my emails, meetings, etc, are in outlook.Using the Lookout Search plugin helps me find information quickly.
John Reeve from Intervals find time (rss)

I have given up on the idea of having an empty inbox and just rely on the search functionality built into Apple Mail. Along with Spotlight I find this makes it easy to find everything. It is good to hear that there are some good options out there for Outlook users.

TextMate. It’s the text editor I use to write my books for the Pragmatic Bookshelf. Because I use a markup language, the formatting doesn’t get in the way of my writing. And, TextMate makes the writing easy–as long as I know what I need to say!
Johanna Rothman from Managing Products Development (rss)

I consider TextMate one of my secret weapons as well. When it is easy to just create a new text file, I find I let fewer things slip through the cracks. What I love about TextMate is the add-in capabilities. If I need to sort everything line by line or wrap it in an html tag, TextMate makes this easy to do.

I think the would be surprised to find hardware on the list. That is, a blackboard and pen and paper. I use to write down notes, ideas and tasks that need my attention on those places, and it works.
Daniel Scocco from Daily Bits (rss)

What I don’t like about paper is that it doesn’t show up in my searches on my computer. Also my handwriting isn’t particularly great, so I don’t enjoy reading things I’ve written by hand. I do have a notebook that I keep with me and although I don’t use it much, it is a life saver for those times I need it.

TextEdit. It’s the most basic software and I use it the most often. All of my writing and coding is done in it — which is about 75 percent of my work product.
Erin PJDoland from Unclutterer (rss)

Before getting TextMate I used TextEdit. (For those of you unfamiliar with TextEdit, it is a simple open source text editor that comes with OS X.) For writing code, I usually use Eclipse for Java and vim for shorter scripts.

When I’m using TextEdit, I usually miss some of the shortcuts I use in TextMate for dealing with HTML, sorting, etc.

Haha… probably my Moleskine notebook. I’ve been a huge evangelist of online productivity tools, but when it comes to mapping ideas and being really creative, there is still nothing close to a blank sheet of paper and pen. You can just let the ideas flow straight on to the paper. Digital tools, although handy, still get in the way sometimes.
Glen Stansberry from LifeDev (rss)

I usually use paper as part of a thinking process. Ever since reading a book on Mindmapping back in highschool, I’ve found this an effective way of thinking. Interestingly when I’m composing music, I find that the actual creative aspect works best (for me) using just staff paper and a pencil. When I come back to edit or orchestrate I’ll use a notation program, but when it comes to writing melodies, the computer tends to get in the way of the creative process. I don’t find the same thing for the written word however.


  1. says

    Notepad or MS Word would have to be my fav necessity for any meetings and discussions. But any quick note takings will still be done with my trusty pen and paper.

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