Action Figure or Dinosaur?

By Posted in - Seven Things on November 10th, 2008 0 Comments

I’ve always been a bit of a perfectionist. Sometimes this is useful, because it pushes me to do the best work that I can.  In other aspects of my life, my perfectionism can be a hindrance. Take for example, my struggles with organization.

As a youngster, my mother made several attempts to help me keep a cleaner room.  On one occasion, she bought four or five Rubbermaid bins and designated each one for a certain kind of toy. So maybe one had written on it in black marker, “Action Figures.”  Another would be “Vehicles” and another “Dinosaurs.” This noble plan of hers always broke down when I came across a toy of mine that didn’t fit in to any of the categories.  If I had an action figure that was also a dinosaur, where did it go?  Was it more action figure or more dinosaur?  What if I couldn’t decide? That toy usually went on the floor.

I don’t play with action figures much these days, but similar dilemmas still crop up. There are so many different types of information that I deal with on a daily basis here at JLB Works, and this information doesn’t always fall into categories as neatly as I would like.

Invariably there are some odds and ends that seem important that don’t quite fit under any particular project heading or documents folder. Sometimes I just need to capture an image or URL or text snippet in the middle an unrelated task and don’t want to be slowed down. While my system for dealing with bits of relevant info is (and probably always will be) still evolving, I did recently find a tool that makes the task much easier for me.

Shovebox, by Wonder Warp Software, allows me to collect those stray bits of information and arrange them (or export them) as necessary. One characteristic of the application that I love is that it can accept so many different types of input.  I can drag and drop in virtually any common document format, from PDFs to RTFs to JPGs.

The beauty of Shovebox is that its design meshes speed and flexibility. It makes it quick and easy to capture a bit of important info, so that I can keep moving on the larger task at hand; but there are plenty of option for organizing. It lets me compose a “quick jot” to speedily get down a line or two of text or create a “text note” for longer entries.  I can also snag an image directly from iSight or import the contents of my clipboard (really handy for saving URLs).

While I can collect information without much thought and have Shovebox arrange each entry in simple chronological order, it also allows me to get more organized as I go.  I can create as many folders as I need to, and can flag and label entries by color.  I would like to see keyword tagging capability added in a future update, but content stored in Shovebox is searchable from within the program, which is good enough for now.

There is plenty more to like about this application, such as its export ability, its unobtrusive position in the taskbar, and its fast learning curve. However, rather than detail those features in this space, I recommend that Mac users (unfortunately, not available for PC) check out the free trial version of Shovebox and see if they find it as helpful as I have.


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