So, the key to managing information is having it available when you need it, but not letting it clutter your mind or life until then.

A potential approach, for the geeky-minded Mac user. If you’ve ever wondered what use Automator or AppleScript might be, here’s one way I use them. Even then, this post is probably really boring.

I keep notes on the projects and photogifts I am working on in iPhoto, in a quick-to-launch TextEdit file. I never need these notes unless I am actually in iPhoto, doing stuff.

So, I made an Automator workflow that opens my iPhoto Notes file, and saved it in the script menu that always sits in the main Mac menubar.

So—information accessible in two clicks when I need it; but entirely out of the way and not cluttering my OS-wide Favorites menu since I don’t need it that often. Nothing for me to remember about where I saved a file or what I named it (or what words I used in it—full-text search isn’t really the end-all, be-all of file organization, if you ask me). To keep the script menu from becoming cluttered, I saved the workflow in username/Library/Scripts/Applications/iPhoto. Putting it in an application-named folder inside Applications means it will only show up in the script menu when iPhoto is active. (Huh. Maybe you’d think an Apple application might have its own script menu, to make it easier to use AppleScript? Apparently not. Thank you, Apple.)

This is Microsoft’s idea—it’s my attempt to replicate the Work menu in MS Word, which lets you pin certain files that you want quick access to, but that you don’t access enough to keep them in the Recent Documents menu. My Work menu generally consists of my current syllabi, and the Extended CV file where I enter every little thing I’ve done re teaching workshops, showing up at a prospective students day, etc.

The other use I’ve found for this approach is reminding myself to what size I want to crop a photo for my blog header, information I need maybe every 3 months (except for using it 3 times in the last week or so). For this one I used an actual script in Script Editor rather than an Automator workflow (thank you, Apple, for doing a half-assed job with Automator so it isn’t nearly as useful as it could be).

tell application “Acorn”
display dialog “Ocean Mist Theme, default header size is 736×229.”
end tell

“Display dialog” pops up a little dialog instead of launching TextEdit to show me a file, a wee bit quicker for short bits of information.

(I don’t understand how it is that Acorn 1 understands “display dialog” but doesn’t seem to be scriptable such that I could just automate the resize and the crop setting, but okay.)