I've been using a nifty little free productivity program (app) called Springpad. It's similar to Evernote which I also use and really like. But I'm kind of getting Springpad and having fun with it! Springpad is designed to help you organize your daily life in an effective and visually pleasing manner. Best of all, it's free.
Springpad has plenty of templates for organizing the most common work-related tasks such as shopping, recipe planning, grocery lists and so on, but users can easily create their own custom lists of tasks. You can also write notes and save them in folders which you name. I started a folder called "Lorine's Blogs" and in it I keep a list of blog post titles and ideas - topics I might want to write about. I also write some of my blog posts and save them on Springpad rather than compose them directly in Blogger (which is the blog format I use). This also allows hubs to proof-read my posts before I publish them.
Hubs also writes a genealogy blog (Ancestors At Rest) but he likes me to proof-read his posts before he publishes them. It wasn't working well for him to save them as drafts in Blogger, because I couldn't make changes if I wanted or needed to. So now he uses a folder in my Springpad where he writes and saves his blog posts and I go in and add suggestions or correct typos.
How does this work for genealogy? I'm sure there are many ways I haven't thought of but here are a few I'm working on:
1. You can easily create a research to-do list in the Check List area. Then when you are at a Library or Family History Centre or even a local museum you can easily open Springpad and look to see what's on your list of items. Did I mention you can get the Springpad app for your mobile phone or iPad? That allows you to access your work from any of your devices.
2. In the Task List area you can create a "Task" for each ancestor you are currently researching. Enter some basic facts (birth, marriage, death) as well as location and time periods for that ancestor, and add a point form list of their spouse and children and you have a mini-genealogy group sheet at your fingertips. I like to list all the census records that my ancestor was alive for - and beside each year I tick off if I have found them (and where). That allows me to very quickly determine if I need to have a search in a specific census year or years.
Inside "All My Stuff" you see Flagged Stuff (items you have flagged) and Alerts (items for which you've set a reminder). Then you see Types and under that are your choices of Notes, Tasks and Check List. Simply click on one and start writing or open a previously saved item.
The last section is Tags. This is where you will see tags (keywords) that you have added to your notes which help you find and organize what you've added. One of my Tags is "Sharing Memories" This is a tag I will add to any Sharing Memories posts I write and save in Springpad. By clicking on that tag, all my posts tagged with that phrase will display for me. I've tagged several of my notes with the words "Interviews" and "RootsTech" Clicking on either of those keywords brings up all notes or tasks for that tag.
There's much more you can do with Springpad but let me leave you with this brief overview. As I play around with it over the next few weeks I should be able to write more about this productivity tool.
It'd be great if readers could jump in with their own ideas or uses for Springpad for genealogy.
Non-Disclaimer: I really like Springpad and receive nothing from the company for telling you about it. In fact they've never heard of me and don't even know I'm writing this review/tutorial!