Three Fun Organization Tools
A grant was awarded this past year at my institution to support faculty in becoming more organized. Faculty have been encouraged to voluntarily attend weekly meetings and review a book called Getting Things Done: The Art of Stress-Free Productivity by David Allen.
As a complement to these discussions, some organizational tools have been introduced and demonstrated. Zotero.com and Todoist.com were two such tools. A third resource that I recently stumbled upon is called List.it.com.
You may have heard of Zotero if you’re in the business of writing scientific papers. It is basically a free citation tool that collects, manages, and cites your research sources. The information it collects is stored online in your web browser. Because it is a Firefox extension, it is not platform neutral. In other words, you can’t use it with Internet Explorer, Safari, or Google Chrome. It also tends is geared towards the sciences, and is a little less robust than products like RefWorks and EndNote in terms of the different citation styles available for output (e.g. creating your citation list/bibliography in the main citation formats). However, it is a slick product, fairly easy to use and portable (unless you start saving PDFs to your local computer and connecting them to Zotero, which is another very useful feature by the way!)
Todoist (I suspect that the domain name “Todolist” was already taken) is basically a free online to-do-list that can interact with Gmail and mobile devices. You basically create a list of things you need to do or get (e.g. meetings, goals, grocery list, etc.). It has a simple interface that is intuitive to use, supports a smart calendar, and can be hierarchies of lists (e.g. sub-projects). A neat feature to this product is the ability to link your Gmail to specific tasks. Overall, this is a very slick product.
If you read my blog regularly, you’re aware that I’m an advocate for privacy. To place too much info about oneself online & ultimately in the public domain is in a sense asking for trouble. This would be my main complain about Todoist. However, to be fair this complaint extends to any personal information management (PIM) tool or social network. Just use common sense about posting personal information!!!.
List.it is similar to Todoist, and moves the post-it note concept online. This MIT product is also a Firefox extension, which means it only works with this particular browser (sorry, not Safari, Chrome, or IE). It basically helps capture fleeting thoughts that may not necessarily go into a list or calendar, and it allows you to organize your notes similar to post-it notes.