I’ve been using a Macintosh more lately. Some things about the UI are very nice; others are a bit annoying. However, one third-party application adds a lot of value — Quicksilver. You’ll find lots of good articles and tutorials online (even screencasts on YouTube), so there’s no need for me to re-create any of those. Quicksilver provides good means of launching applications, opening files, manipulating images (convert, re-size), interacting with e-mail and contacts, plus a long litany of other things. I had something a bit different in mind. I also wanted to implement some of the “Getting Things Done” concepts in the way I organized the filesystem. To that end, I created several folders in my documents directory, and aliases on the desktop:
- Waiting for…
I even borrowed the freely-available icons from Ready-Set-Do! Select each folder, use CMD-I to get file information, and replace each folder’s icon with the one you want. After doing that, my folders’ aliases look like this:
I used the numbers in the folder names so that I could easily find them with Quicksilver (the hotkey stroke to launch QS, followed by a single digit is usually enough to get the folder I want), and so they would be self-organizing. Since the GTD inbox is where everything that you get out of your head, or download, starts, I then set Firefox to put all downloads in the Inbox folder. I really wanted to find a way to move files to any of these folders without a lot of mousing around. This is where Quicksilver comes in. You can assign actions to key strokes. I wanted to be able to select a set of objects, hit a key stroke combination and have those objects moved to one of those folders. To achieve this, you first have to make an adjustment to the Quicksilver catalog. QS has proxy objects, including one for the current selection, and this is exactly what I needed. Make sure that proxy objects are selected in the Quicksilver section of the catalog, as shown below:
Now we’re ready to create our triggers. In the triggers section of the QS preferences, use the plus-sign at the bottom to add a new custom trigger. For the object upon which we want to take action, just start typing “current selection” and the proxy object should show up. Then tab to the action, and start typing “move to”, and finally, tab the next frame, and start typing the name of the folder to which you want the selection to be moved. For example, you have something moved to the Inbox folder, your trigger setup will look like this:
After you save, click on the circled “i” (for information) when you have the newly created trigger highlighted. An information window will emerge; in the settings pane, click on the edit button for the hot key. I use CTRL+OPTION+CMD+<number>, where <number> corresponds to the folder number.
Repeat this for each of the folders. Then, when you select a set of objects, just strike the preset hot key, and the object(s) will be moved to that folder!
If you prefer a “distributed” approach, where objects are not coalesced in specific filesystem folders, you can use labels and smart folders. From the finder, create a new smart folder, and in the new smart folder setup, click on the plus-sign (‘+’) next to the Save button, and then either choose File label from the pull-down criteria list, or select Other…, check the File label item. You can then use this as your search criteria for the smart folder. Save the smart folder, and even add it to the sidebar. Create a smart folder for your inbox, etc., associating a file label color to each.
Now for the Quicksilver triggers… The procedure is much the same as described above, but the action for the current selection is ‘Set Label…’ followed by the appropriate label.
Regardless of the approach you take, keeping your thoughts and visual cues organized will help keep you on task with what’s important to do.