Increasing Productivity with Gnome’s Tomboy

I have found a new productivity tool, which I find is really help me. Well, OK, I didn’t find it, it was shown to me by a fellow geek. But I have to say it is rather fantastic. So what is it? Well, unless you didn’t read the title to this post you’ll know that it is Tomboy. It’s described as

A simple and easy to use desktop note-taking application.

but I can tell you that whilst it is indeed a note-taking application, and in fact very simple and easy to use, it has bags of power to help organise your life.

How So?

Well, whilst this isn’t going to be an in depth review of any sort, I will instead tell you how it’s been helping me in the productivity arena.

View my Tomboy setup

View my Tomboy setup

For starters it is just so easy to create a new note. If you set it up so you can use Highlighted WikiWords. This instantly creates a link when you write WordsLikeThis to a new, blank note. Simply click on the link and started editing the new note. This doesn’t sound particularly revolutionary in itself, but it is this simple ease-of-use which makes it so powerful.

When you start off with Tomboy there is the “main note” called Start Here. I permanently have this on the right hand side of my desktop, listing the most important things that I must remember or know. If you have al look at the screenshot you can see that I have listed the main clients I’m working on, some reminder todos, meetings (my hospital appointment – I forgot my last one) and some server details I use all the time.

You’ll also see that I have a list of the things I need todo today, in the rather originally named TodaysTodo note.

Tomboy and Getting Things Done

I’ve read David Allen‘s book: Getting Things Done (GTD), and whilst I haven’t followed it too much (I will one day, I promise) I know that it is hugely influential, and a very intelligent system – hmm, why aren’t I using it? In my mind, Tomboy is perfect for GTD where you can have a little list of “@” notes all linking off the main Start Here note. I’m sure you out there will be able to utilise Tomboy far better than I can in a GTD (or note quite so GTD) way.

Note Taking

Tomboy is a note-taking application, so obviously its main purpose in life is to help you take note. But as I have said, it is so damn easy. Gone are the days of faffing about trying to open up Gedit or find a pen and piece of paper. Now I simply right click on the icon, create a new note and start tapping the keyboard in some delightfully haphazard way that resembles the English language. Now I don’t have to use my brain to remember anything ever again!

Other Stuff

Not only does Tomboy offer increased productivity, help you remember stuff and keep your life generally in order, but it also comes with a few extra tools. Firstly there are the plugins, so you can integrate with BugZilla or export as HTML but you can even backup/synchronise your notes to another machine. Also it appears that TomBoy is being actively developed – always a plus.

Anyway, stop listening to me, instead download it, and play around to see if it can help you.


Other blog posts that might help you use Tomboy as a productivity tool:

  • dannielo

    For implementing GTD you can use this web-based application:

    You can use it to manage your goals, projects and tasks, set next actions and contexts, use checklists, schedules and a calendar.
    A mobile version is available too.