We’ve experimented with quite a few technologies to be used for personal organization and productivity.Â Most recently we have been using Google Apps, MindManager (planning), Backpack (projects) and Qumana (blog).
Google Apps:Â So far we’re a little disappointed.Â We are going to stick with Google Apps for our Research 2.0 business because it works well enough for email but the other applications are just plain flaky.Â We have had to abandon many a spreadsheet due to sporadic performance or freezes.Â We just don’t have any patience for that so will be using Microsoft Excel for our work unless and until something changes there.Â Documents are a little easier to work with but again we find ourselves still doing most things in Word instead.
MindManager: We’ve tried earlier versions but the new one rocks.Â We are using V6 for Mac and it seems to answer many of our demands for planning flexible networks of tasks, projects, flows and so on.Â The latest version makes it easy to incorporate notes, files and links which was the key ingredient missing from the earlier versions we tried.Â Although it is expensive for us it’s worth the price. (There is a free trial download.)Â We had been using Yojimbo which is fairly solid but the network model in MindMap is far more reflective of how we plan and model.
Backpack:Â We like the products from 37Signals and use the little brother (Ta-Da Lists) for some family projects and the big brother (Basecamp) for clients.Â Backpack seems just right for us as a personal project tool.Â We use it mostly for organizing material since it has the key feature of allowing email access to projects. This makes it very practical to add bits of content, thoughts, links or whatever to projects with a simple email and get project data sent to you on request as an email.
Qumana:Â Updating blogs is not fun online.Â Even one is a pain and having several makes it essential to find a better way of doing it.Â Of the tools we tried Qumana is the best since it has plenty of features but is very easy to use, extremely stable (hasn’t crashed in several days with three sites open) and cheap.Â Â Â The ability to build posts and do everything offline is essential.Â If one is doing a personal blog about what your cat did today you don’t need it but if you are publishing a professional blog or doing multiple blogs you will love this software.
Hope those of you picking through tools to do these types of things will find this information helpful.