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Merlin’s weekly podcast with Dan Benjamin. We talk about creativity, independence, and making things you love.

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Open Thread: What's your killer app?

The other day I was talking with someone about the novel and non-obvious ways that people use Excel in their work and home life. Gotta say, I've personally seen some pretty amazing stuff happen when people take a favorite app, get really good at it, then bend it to their will. (And Excel is perfect for this.)

This tracks to Danny's Life Hack concept by which the alpha geeks were achieving lofty heights of productivity partly by mastering 1-3 "killer apps" -- then using them to solve most of their information and functional problems in fairly novel ways.

So my question for you: What's your killer app? Is there one place where 80% or more of your activity takes place (by choice)? Vim? Excel? Perl? Firefox? Post-it Notes? What's yours and when did you realize you'd become a badass at using it?

Scott's picture

Entourage. For its all-in-one GTD...

Entourage. For its all-in-one GTD magic.

When I get an order email, I hit an F key and an AppleScript takes the info, puts it into a Contact form, adds the correct Category (depending on what was ordered) and pulls up a new email with the customer's email and boilerplate text, thanking them for the order.

When someone emails me something I'll have to deal with in XX amount of days, I hit another keyboard shortcut, which pulls up a dated task. with the body of the email. I type the action I need to do in the Subject line, hit Return, and delete the email. Then 10 days later (or 3 months or whatever), that task appears on my screen.

It took a solid 10 months to bend E'rage to work with GTD, because there wasn't any system out there that worked (even David Allen's white paper on How To GTD Dance with Entourage). But it's now a slick system and is the center of my business universe.

I'd say my runner up for killer apps is Spell Catcher. Not for spelling, but for its shortcuts to any and all much-used text, URLs, and boilerplate paragraphs.




An Oblique Strategy:
Honor thy error as a hidden intention


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