how do I minimize the number of applications I use to track various areas of my life?
September 7, 2009 8:44 AM   Subscribe

how do I minimize the number of applications I use, while still keeping my organization online? Over the past year, I have been trying to go fully paperless, and web-based. This meant migrating from Outlook to Gmail, Gcal, etc. However, now I am drowning in apps. I have Wesabe for finances, Google for calendar and mail, Todoist for todo lists, WeightWatchers app to track my food, another app to track my workouts. Is there any way around that? Unfortunately, I am finding that an app meant solely for a specific task work better than an all in one solution... Has anyone figured out the best way? Help!
posted by esolo to Technology (8 answers total) 9 users marked this as a favorite
You can keep track of a "to do list" in gmail, that might help a little. Also, if you want to use separate applications, I use minitask for a to do list and it sits in my system tray which minimizes clutter.

There's also an application that will dock other programs in your system tray, which may help, but I can't remember its name right now. Maybe someone else can come up with it?
posted by kylej at 9:16 AM on September 7, 2009

Well, the great thing about most of the apps that you mentioned is that they all create XML/RSS feeds so the data is portable. This means that you can view the data using any one of a number of aggregators.

Seems like your problem is that you don't like having to visit many websites to interact with all of your apps. Try using iGoogle or NetVibes to create a "Dashboard" for yourself... With your mail, calendar, todo list, recent transactions, calorie counter, etc. all on one page.

(Todoist is the only one that, I think, doesn't provide this. You might want to consider switching to RTM or TadaLists).
posted by lucidreamstate at 9:19 AM on September 7, 2009 [3 favorites]

Oops, it looks like you were talking about only online apps. Sorry about that, but the to do list in Gmail should still work for you.
posted by kylej at 9:22 AM on September 7, 2009

google tasks works pretty well for todo lists, easy to access on your mobile device as well.
posted by zentrification at 9:27 AM on September 7, 2009 [1 favorite]

Best answer: You might find gadgets for use with iGoogle that either work with tools you're already use, or which make suitable replacements for those things (for example, there are multiple Weight Watchers point tracker gadgets). You can search for gadgets by going to iGoogle, and clicking the "Add Stuff" link.
posted by jimfl at 9:41 AM on September 7, 2009 [1 favorite]

Yes, I had this problem too when I tried to go full-on Web 2.0, with one app for tracking every little thing and all that. I kinda just ended up going back to paper and keeping only Gmail and Gcal.
posted by Theloupgarou at 9:45 AM on September 7, 2009

Best answer: I saw a presentation from 2004 where the speaker presented results from interviewing lots of high profile technical people ( notes from Doctorow) .

One of the main points is that these people use one app for everything. plaintext and regex, or email and procmail, or even excel spreadsheets. Personally, I use RSS for a lot of stuff, but I'm finding yahoo pipes to be stagnant and may need to branch out to local processing tools, or invent them.

The challenge is that you also want to go mobile and track your life in more detail. Presumably you don't work out in front of the computer or eat every meal at your desk. It may be that the things you need haven't been created yet. For example, sorting out an app list to make things more visible based on past access location and access time.
posted by pwnguin at 3:05 PM on September 7, 2009 [2 favorites]

Consolidate food and workout tracking with - allows you to track both and when you do it calculates your calorie consumption (input) and use (output including resting use and workout/exercise use).

You can add foods, meals, and workouts to the community database too.
posted by unclezeb at 5:59 AM on September 8, 2009

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