Acomplice is a wonderful piece of task management software. It’s easy to use, it helps manage projects, both for individuals and groups, it syncs with a U3 geek stick, it organises notes and activities and dates and so on. I love it, I think it’s great…
…and I don’t use it.
All I need is a to-do list which I can order in terms of priority. I don’t need to work with others, I don’t need to delegate and track and match to my (non-existent) PDA, I don’t need to outline or filter or take notes. If I did, I’d be glad to use Accomplice and I’m happy to recommend it widely. But it’s simply too powerful for my needs (it even says “You can start by just listing your to-dos, but rest assured there’s a lot more power under the hood when you need it…” and unfortunately I don’t).
Why not use it anyway, if I like it so much? Because every extra bit of software on my computer is a fractional time-waster. It needs to be updated with new versions, it needs to be opened in addition to the other programs I use every day, it needs to be part of my organisational structure, it needs to be considered for when I upgrade or replace my laptop…as petty as it sounds, it takes a slice of my attention for a job that my existing software (in this case, the Task function of my Outlook), or even a simple piece of paper, can handle for me.
I’m not trying to single Accomplice out, except to make the point that even very good, useful programs can be time-wasters if they are not used as they meant to be used.
Do an audit of the software on your computer. How many programs do you actually use? Of the ones you use minimally, do you already have a different piece of software that can handle those jobs? Of the ones you use more often, are you using them to their full functionality, or is there a ‘lite’ version available that would do the job? Are there competing programs which would do the job you personally need better, quicker or more efficiently?
On the other hand, are there various computer-based jobs that would be made easier or better-managed if you had a particular program to help you? Check productivity sites for any particular useful mentions. Accomplice might be the software for you.
By streamlining your software suites, you save yourself time, money, hard-drive usage and space, and carve out just that little bit more room in your brain for focusing on writing.