I was complaining to Berta yesterday about my inability to focus on one task long enough to complete it. There are just too many distractions to organize my thoughts on anything.

One main thing I would really like to do is get the groupware project rolling. It seems I’m just not going to have the time to do anything with it for a while, except for maybe dabbling with interface elements. It would be very neat if you could integrate it with a personal desktop time management application, too. Something could sit in your Windows tray that conencts to the groupware to fetch current tasks and notes. It would also keep your personal notes current, and could sync to the groupware so that when you leave the office and go home you still have all your notes. But I’m daydreaming again.

Berta’s solution to the task focus problem was to create a list of things to do. The “To-Do List”. One of Berta’s key features is that she makes a lot of lists. You should see the stack of steno pads that we have at the house. If not blank or doodled upon by Abby (and sometimes even in spite of that), they contain lists of things. Not just to-do lists, but shopping lists, garage sale lists, people to call lists, things around the house that need fixed lists, stuff that Owen has to do before we can sell our house lists - you name it, she’s got a list.

When I was first thinking about this list idea (a concept that I could never commit to - I don’t know why) it seemed like a good idea to start something. I would prefer to have a way to keep track of some things as I work during the day. Maybe it won’t be so bad that I’ll end up with 8 billion lists and have to list them all.

So I downloaded a tool; because I’m that kind of person. It’s called ShirusuPad. It’s a no-install application (aren’t those the best!) that pops up a tabbed little sticky-note-like thing on the computer desktop. Normally, I’d scoff at such a thing, but hear me out about these features and maybe you’ll see what I’m talking about.

First off, it activates very easily. In the preferences, I set it up so that when I sit my mouse on the left border of the screen, it just pops up. This is much better than activating it from the tray, which you can also do. When you’re done looking at it, you just continue where you were and the window fades away.

Apart from letting you take notes in stick-note fashion, ShirusuPad lets you build actual to-do lists. It’s pretty much like any other to-do list program with names and priorities, but it pops up with the note taking window. You can create new to-do lists on separate tabs, along with notes.

Notes will also pop-out of the tabs and stick to the desktop. I’m not sure I will ever use this ability. Something neat would be if an external application could attach notes to a specific program or, even better, when a specific file was open in a specific program. Yeah, that would be very cool.

Another neat feature of ShirusuPad is the clipboard capture feature. Instead of just pressing Ctrl-C to copy, hold it down. A window will pop up to create a new note tab from the copied text. It’s a neat little shortcut.

Maybe I’m making too much of this. To me it’s just neat.

So I’m going to give that a go starting today. It can’t hurt too much if you don’t need to install it. Right now the executable is sitting on my desktop. It created a couple of folders there to store data, so if I keep it I’ll probably move it somewhere more tucked away.

Hopefully Berta’s list idea will make me more productive. We’ll see.