Back in December, I posted about my research and writing workflow, anticipating the flood of papers, presentations and documents I would be writing this year as we evaluate and report on a series of projects.

Recently, I had been working on tidying up Zotero and Mendeley across my machines (a 4.5 year old MacBook and a 3 year old iMac) and it was slow going. The computers are mostly synced except for a few apps, like Zotero. A couple of months ago the hard drive in my iMac completely failed and couldn’t be recovered following its trip to the Genius Bar. TimeMachine runs from my MacBook only. So, voilá, I have the references in Zotero but no longer most of the files. Which in a way is good because it’s almost like a clean slate, deleting old interests.

Scrivener, while a great tool for fiction, isn’t working out so well for other types of writing for me. I am also finding fragments of ideas and notes everywhere in other apps from NotationalVelocity to Evernote, in emails and OmniFocus. Somewhere along the way, IFTTT was added to copy starred tweets to Instapaper, and my reading queue overflowed. Too many tools, too much fragmentation. So much to my surprise, it’s turned out that the tried and true method of Word + reference manager (Zotero now, Endnote when I was in school) really is the best workflow for me. Have you found your workflow has changed, or just pivoted around the same type of tools?

Originally published on the blog