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A few observations that I have made regarding my preferred tools.

Nothing makes the end of vacation more apparent than the first few weeks at work. I guess that is rather natural, but recently it was even more so than usual. The last two and a half weeks were full of to-be-met deadlines with a lot of arrangements that had to be written. Yet I did somehow manage, alongside of my usual amount teaching, to write all in all 11 eleven arrangements while still trying to be also being available at home and not to stress too much about it.

It was overall a good, real-life test for my workflows if you will and it turned out, mostly well.

During this time I realized, once again, that I not only prefer-to but also work much better in the mornings than, what would be after a long day at work, in the evenings. In the evenings/nights I tend to be mostly braindead, at least it feels that way, and unable to focus on anything, causing even small tasks to last a manyfold. To be able to meet my deadlines, I decided to get up very early, as in 4am (aka stupid-o’clock) and started to do my arrangement work after some quick catching up on my feeds while having a nice cup of coffee.

In the beginning it was a bit tough, but after a few days I got used to it and it started to get easier. It seems a bit over the top, but this way, I was able to finish one arrangement per day before actually leaving to work and didn’t had to stress about this the whole day. In fact it felt so effective that I think I might get this a habit, if though 5am might be more appropriate in a less deadline-y situation.

During this period I came once more to realize how much more I prefer to use an iPad over a laptop. Since music notation is not yet possible to that extent that I would need it to on the iPad, I was carrying around, and working most of the time from my MacBook. While working from it is of course fun and ultimately more powerful I realized that don’t like to write or better type that much on the laptop. It feels I always have to lift my hands onto the computer to type and, as an extra annoying bonus, it’s getting warm over time, giving me a somewhat anxious feeling on my wrists. I know, this could easily be solved by using an external keyboard, but carrying one (extra) keyboard around for an device which already has one, seems too redundant to be actually useful.

The moment you realize you are working in a stock photo

I enjoy the MacBook at home, it’s like a desktop computer but it turns out that I missed the ease and focus of working from the iPad when being out and about. Since this period is now over, I’m looking forward to get my old workflows back.

And talking about workflows (awesome, I know).

OmniFocus

It might be a little cumbersome to use but without OmniFocus I wouldn’t have been able at all to pull this work off, and get it organized. With some nice custom perspectives I was able to always only see what I wanted and needed to see at that specific moment. Which serves as a reminder to myself to set-up some more location based perspectives.

The best thing is that with the latest updates the app is consistent on all platforms. Perspectives appear and work the same on all devices and with push-to-sync the apps are always updated. It is essential for everything that I do, have to do or should do.

Musescore 2

I started to use Musescore when version 2.0 got released some time in March, and haven’t looked back since. These last few weeks though, were it’s first real test for me. Suffice to say it worked wonderfully and, even though I am still learning the app, managed to do everything I needed in reasonable time. To be honest, many tasks where easier done in MuseScore, than in Finale or Sibelius which I have used before.

Writing Apps

Oh my, again. Just when I thought that I should settle with Ulysses, I came once more to realize that I prefer to use simple, Markdown, text-files. Aside the obvious benefits of transportabilty and longeivity it is just that more convenient for me. Hence, after a short stint with Atom.io, I switched back, to the one app that I like the most: iA Writer. I get the nice writing experience that I am looking for all in one app, having all in one place and can’t fiddle at all1.

Even though that my workload has reduced significantly by now I try to continue to do some work in the early mornings and have it become a habit. So far it had worked quite fine. If I can keep this up for a while you might actually also see some more frequent updates around here. But better not to be too optimistic.

The obvious TL;DR

Get up early and do stuff and stick with to the tools that work for you.


  1. More on this in the near future, just a bit more elaborate. 

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