Workflow is key.

Everyone has a workflow, whether you’re a designer, writer, photographer, or editor. Workflow is something that is essential in keeping your mind on track during a project. If you’re like me, something that breaks an established workflow can really slow down progress on whatever you’re doing.

If you haven’t ever really thought about “your workflow” in those exact terms, I encourage you to examine how you do things. How you organize your desk, computer desktop, file system, etc. says a lot about how you think and execute tasks for a project. For me, I work best when my desk has very little on it other than what’s related to what I’m doing that week. My computer desktop has to be clean with no more than a couple of pertinent files or folders on it.

In terms of in-project workflow, what I do varies based on the type of project I’m working on. But, there are a few things that are always the same.

Coming from an OS X world, I use Exposé and Spaces constantly. Exposé is my most primary tool for switching applications. Since I work from a MacBook, I have to do whatever I can to make the most of the 13.3″ screen by using Spaces. I run applications like Photoshop, Illustrator, and GarageBand each in their own space to reduce desktop clutter (it’s also nice to use the entire screen in something like Photoshop).

If you’re on a Mac and haven’t given Exposé and/or Spaces a try yet, check them out (they’re built into your System Preferences if you haven’t ever seen them).

Exposé in action, with just a few windows open

Spaces (up to 16 spaces can be open at once)

And, the System Preferences pane where they're found

Other than that, I use an application launcher called Quicksilver to open the vast number of other applications that aren’t located on my dock. Application launchers aren’t for everyone, but if you’re like me and use keystrokes to perform a lot of operation on your computer, an application launcher is an indispensable tool. On a Mac, Spotlight serves well as a default launcher and file finding system, but if you like keystrokes, a launcher like Quicksilver is for you. Quicksilver has way too many plugins and features to describe in this post, but if you want to know about its full capabilities, check out this in-depth review. And check out some other launchers available for the Mac.

So what’s your ideal workflow? Comment away!



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