in OS X

Are you using tags on your Mac? If you don’t have mavericks (or the Yosemite beta) then the answer will be an obvious no but I’m willing to bet that even many mavericks users aren’t using tags. After all, at first glance they may seem to mimic a lot of the functionality of folders but in reality they are a powerful organisational tool that you should consider checking out.

Tags are like Contexts

If you are familiar with “Getting Things Done” then you’ll already be familiar with the context idea, but if you aren’t then let me explain. A context is a mindset, perspective, location or piece of equipment for when you are carrying out certain tasks. So “At Work” is a context as is “Boss” and so is “phone” all of these situations (or contexts) will make you carry out different tasks. Furthermore, you won’t be able to carry out these tasks without being in these context.

They are useful because they encourage you to do the right task at the right time and also consider what you need to get a task done. Using tags to denote contexts in your files can help you rapidly get to items that you need at a certain moment, no matter what “project” or folder they belong to.

Two sub sets of tags

The two common groupings of tags or contexts can be broke into

  1. aspect of life (i.e. family, work, side project, budget, etc)
  2. progress of task (i.e. waiting for, completed, archived, etc)

Of course, the beauty of tags is you can apply both an aspect and a progress tag to one file or folder. Thus if you want to check on work projects that you are waiting for someone to get back to you on, you can just click on waiting for and see the ones which also have a work tag on them.

Alternative uses for Tags?

This is not the only way to use tags though, many people have their own uses for tags but in general a great principle is to think about a function which extends beyond folder constraints that you will want to either search for or an item of meta data you want to see easily.

Here are some alternative uses of tags

Do you use tags on your Mac? How?

[Photo Credit: sylvar via Compfight cc]

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