I’m always tweaking and adjusting my workflow, but here’s what I’m currently doing as far as the core tasks of managing email, appointments, and to-dos:
I use Airmail, which is more aesthetically pleasing than Apple Mail, runs faster than Apple Mail (at least for me), and has fantastic integrations with other apps. For example, I can link an email to a calendar entry, a Trello Board, or my Things to-do list. The ability to link emails has been a game-changer for me in terms of being able to clear out my inbox every day–if an email is related to a task I need to do, I just link it to a Things to-do entry, and then archive the email without worrying that I’ll forget about the task.
I use Apple Calendar–not the most exciting app, but very serviceable. For awhile I had switched to Fantastical (Premium), which is a more aesthetically pleasing app, but the subscription pricing is ridiculously overpriced for the extra features provided, so I cancelled my subscription and returned to Apple Calendar.
I’m now using Amazing Marvin as my task manager, and have decided it is truly the most amazing to-do list app. The feature set and customizability is unrivaled–I’ve tried dozens of to-do apps over the years, and certainly all of the main ones (OmniFocus, Todoist, Apple Reminders, Things, Microsoft Outlook Tasks, 2Do…) and none of them come close to Amazing Marvin. That being said, it’s feature set is so big, and the customizability so comprehensive, that you practically need a Ph.D. just to use it. So if you don’t want to put in the time and energy to perfecting it, I would recommend Things as an alternative.
Things (aka Things 3) is an excellent to-do list app–it’s visually clean (like it’s nearest rival, Todoist) but has slightly better features than Todoist. It doesn’t have as many features as OmniFocus, but the OmniFocus interface is incredibly cluttered and unintuitive, which drains all the joy out of to-do list management. Missing from Things (and from almost every other personal to-do app, other than Amazing Marvin) is the ability to set task durations. Hopefully the Things design team will see the light on that subject soon and add it in as a feature, though I’m not holding my breath since the response I got from the development team was, “Setting durations is an approach deliberately omitted from Things because we’ve found that reserving blocks of time for to-dos was often counter-productive for people.” That response is bizarre to me because not realizing how much time each task takes, and therefore how many tasks you should schedule in your day, is a major obstacle for many people and is the whole reason why time-blocking has become such a popular time-management/to-do strategy and is recommended by virtually every productivity expert.
On the horizon…
I’m currently testing out corporate project management apps to see if any prove useful as far as personal productivity. In addition, I’m experimenting with whether a new slate of “backlink apps” (for lack of a better descriptor) are useful for keeping track of information.