How to reduce the paper chaos is one of the things nearly everyone is coping with. Especially if your work is creative, if you are searching for innovation, if you have to manage projects, meetings and contacts you really get lost. Great ideas, solutions and approaches just disappear. A variety of software tools assist the Mac users to get store, find and manage this information and knowledge.

Personal Information Manager like SOHO Organizer, Daylight or Entourage
… are trying to manage your personal appointments, addresses, notes and to-dos. SOHO Organizer is speeding up the PIM-scene again which Palm Desktop founded some years ago. If you are working in small teams, tools like Chronos SOHO Organizer or Marketcircle’s Daylight may be the right choice. Microsoft is trying to merge PIM and E-Mail in Entourage. Probably a question of taste whether you want to use an MS tool for me, the capabilities of the program to structure and manage notes and ideas do not fit to my needs. Without a centralized PIM tool mails, addresses and meetings can be managed with the powerful OS X standard tool Apple Mail, Addressbook, iCal and iSync.

Journals – like Journler or MacJournal
… are using the metaphor of a paper journal – all the notes are filed under the creation date. That solution is perfect for blogger: Some of the tools even offer direct publishing features into popular blog systems. Structuring notes and ideas is not their strength.

Digital notebooks like Mori, SOHO Notes or Yojimbo
… are collecting different kinds of information like notes, bookmarks or passwords. And they offer different ways of structuring and tagging those objects. It’s a real upgrade to the paper based notebook, which helps you to structure and find your information later on.

"Indexer" like DevonThink or K.I.T.
… are extending the digital notebook by including external information stored on your computer into their info and tag structure. They try to be a central index and management-tool for all your information. In case of DevonThink these tools also use sophisticated search technologies to cope with the flood of information.

Knowledgemapper like Mindjet Mindmapper or NovaMind
… are offering a visual form of idea and note structuring. That innovative approach is perfect for structuring thoughts, brainstormings, ideas and topics within one single document. But structuring multiple documents is still missing.

Outliner & GTD tools like OmniOutliner, Inbox or ActionTastic
… are focusing on the management of tasks and to-dos and try to reduce the inbox stack of files on our desk. David Allen’s method Getting Things Done, also known as GTD, has inspired the developer community to create a bunch of extensions of existing outline tools – like kGTD for OmniOutliner Pro or even brand new software-tools Inbox or the open source tool Actiontastic. Just to get things done 😉

Which tool or which mix of tools fits best? That is really a matter of your personal needs, your working method and your inner temptation. There is a lot to test and to compare …

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