Time Management For Mac OS: reviewing Slife

I’ve been a GTDer for more than 2 years but I have never ceased to look for new and better ways to improve my working process. The other day I received a comment from one of my readers on the post Manage Your Time As You Manage Your Money. It was something about a new time management application for Mac (and Windows, meanwhile) for time management, called Slife. It was a free download and I gave it a try.

The application is somewhere in the same league as time tracking services like Wakoopa, but there are some subtle differences that make Slife a very interesting baby. So, what is this Slife doing anyway?

Well, it basically tracks your time spent on your computer, with a higher granularity than other applications, letting you know not only with which applications you are spending the most of your time, but also which documents or web pages your are visiting most often (attention, twitter users 😉 ). So you will end up with some sort of report of the most used applications during your working sessions. The reporting is done in real time, with a clear, iCal-like interface (click for larger picture).

Time Management With Slife

Time Management With Slife

Did you see those little points and dashes? That’s where the granularity I spoke above takes place, if you click on one of those spots you will see the exact document on which you spent time, in my case, of course, twitter :-).

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Power Blogging With Mac Journal – GTD Style

I started to use Mac Journal 2 years ago. Initially I was using it only for my journaling activities. I needed something a little more versatile than my plain text file structure, and with some searching facilities integrated. Fortunately, Mac Journal proved to have all this, and even more. I soon discovered that I can remotely publish to my blogs from within Journal, download posts into it (for backup or just convenience) and brainstorm my future posts.

During the past few months, since I decided to make from blogging my main activity – after selling my online publishing business – I started to use Journal intensively. In this post I’ll share how I use Mac Journal for blogging, how I set up my blogging environment and how I applied, using Mac Journal’s powerful “smart journals” feature, a GTD-like blogging scaffold.

Setting Up A Remote Blog From Within Mac Journal

This is not a mandatory step, as you can always use your online blogging admin interface, but it might be of interest. You can add a blog to your journal by selecting the option “Edit blog server” from the “Journal” menu. A pop-up with some simple options will appear. If you’re on a wordpress set up, as most of the people, you should check the “Movable Type” type of your publishing method. A good idea is to add “xmlrpc.php” to your post URL and the admin username. That’s it, you’re now connected to your blog and can start publish remotely. You can even download the entries from your blog into Mac Journal, by choosing “Download entires from blog…” from the same “Journal” menu. Of course, you can have more than one blog set up, if you have more than one.

Establish Your Blogging Habits

Mac Journal lets you apply some sort of meta data to your posts. That will not be transferred to your blog, but it’s a convenient way to organize your blogging habits. Some of that meta data is: status, priority and ranking. There are also others like: tags, annotations or even colored label, if you want, which can be used for some neat visual effects. Let’s see how we can use this meta data in order to set up a more productive blogging environment.

First of all, you need a congruent blog routine for this to work. If you’re going to use this on a daily basis, you have to establish some rules for your idea brainstorming or future posts. My data input set up is like this: whenever I add an idea for a post, I also add the status, which is most of the time “Not Started”, for ideas that are just popping out of my head, the priority, which can be any number from 1 to 5, and a rating and color label (this is only for internal auditing purposes).

The priority number is used for slipping up posts into “Next Posts” and “Someday / Maybe” posts and it uses a 3/4 threshold. Meaning any priority between 1 and 3 (inclusive) will go on the “Someday / Maybe” posts, and any priority between 4 (inclusive) and 5 will go into “Next Posts”. “Someday /Maybe” and “Next Posts” are smart journals. And they can get really smart, you’ll see. The rating and label are just metrics for auditing my blog activity. With a color label I can see at a glance how many working post I have, how many published, and so on.

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