Devices in search of a workflow

The beginnings of bringing coherency to my iPad mini workflow (using the wonderful iThoughts app). Click for larger view.

I ordered my iPad Mini the first day it was on sale, a first for me, as I’ve usually given the gadgets time to season in the marketplace before spending my money on them. But I’ve long been intrigued by portable computing (the list of these devices I’ve bought in the past includes, not in any particular order: Psion5, PsionRevo, NEC MobilePro, PocketPC, & Palm). Last year I got an iPod Touch, mostly for the music feature. I delved into the productivity apps almost immediately, and saw there was, indeed, a lot of potential there. But the iPod Touch is too small for doing much more than adding a calendar listing or entering a new contact. I had stayed away from the iPad because I felt the form factor was too large for my needs. That is, it didn’t seem too much more portable than my 13″ MacBook Pro, and it lacked the keyboard. But the Mini, now there was a device that was small enough to be easily portable, but large enough to actually use to create and capture information.

I pulled the Mini out of packaging nine days ago and immediately the app flood gates opened.

The types of productivity applications available for iOS is staggering. Many of them are junk. But an impressive number are truly innovative and fun to use. For a software junkie, putting these apps through their paces is irresistible. But there comes a time when even I have to settle into a stable, efficient workflow or else the iPad will just be an entertainment device — albeit in a kinda nerdy way.

Over the next few weeks, I intend to chronicle my efforts to bring app discipline to my workflow. This will mean narrowing down the number of apps I use on the Mini to a reasonable handful. Here is a list of the current contenders (in no intentional order):

Diagramming/mind mapping:

  • iThoughts
  • MagicalPad

Outlining/List Making:

  • CicrusPonies Notebook
  • OmniOutliner
  • CarbonFin Outliner


  • Notebooks
  • DayOne
  • MacJournal
  • Awesome Notes
  • Evernote
  • Qwik Cards
  • Trunk Notes

Task/Project Management:

  • TaskPaper
  • Cotton
  • Projectbook
  • Daily Notes
  • Priority Matrix


  • Index Card
  • Outliner Pro
  • Daedelus
  • iaWriter
  • Nebulous Notes

Two certainties:

  • Bento (structured data)
  • PocketInformant (calendar, contacts)

I’ve begun to work through the requirements for the apps I settle on. You can see it in a screen shot of one of my current favorites, iThoughts, in the picture at the top of this post.

More to come.



Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )


Connecting to %s