Stikkit-- Out with the mental clutter

I like to believe that my brain is useful for analysis, synthesis, and creativity. Clearly it is not proficient at storing details like specific dates and looming reminders. Nonetheless, a great deal of my mental energy is devoted to trying to remember such details and fearing the consequences of the inevitable “it slipped my mind”. As counselled by GTD, I need a good and trustworthy system for removing these important, but distracting, details and having them reappear when needed. I’ve finally settled in on the new product from values of n called Stikkit.

Stikkit appeals to me for two main reasons: easy data entry and smart text processing. Stikkit uses the metaphor of the yellow sticky note for capturing text. When you create a new note, you are presented with a simple text field — nothing more. However, Stikkit parses your note for some key words and extracts information to make the note more useful. For example, if you type:

Phone call with John Smith on Feb 1 at 1pm

Stikkit realises that you are describing an event scheduled for February 1st at one in the afternoon with a person (“peep” in Stikkit slang) named John Smith. A separate note will be created to track information about John Smith and will be linked to the phone call note. If you add the text “remind me” to the note, Stikkit will send you an email and SMS message prior to the event. You can also include tags to group notes together with the keywords “tag as”.

A recent update to peeps makes them even more useful. Stikkit now collects information about people as you create notes. So, for example, if I later post:

- Send documents to John Smith

Stikkit will recognise John Smith and update my peep for him with the email address provided. In this way, Stikkit becomes more useful as you continue to add information to notes. Also, the prefixed “-” causes Stikkit to recognise this note as a todo. I can then list all of my todos and check them off as they are completed.

This text processing greatly simplifies data entry, since I don’t need to click around to create todos are choose dates from a calendar picker. Just type in the text, hit save, and I’m done. Fortunately, Stikkit has been designed to be smart rather than clever. The distinction here is that Stikkit relies on some key words (such as at, for, to) to mark up notes consistently and reliably. Clever software is exemplified by Microsoft Word’s autocorrect or clipboard assistant. My first goal when encountering these “features” is to turn them off. I find they rarely do the right thing and end up being a hindrance. Stikkit is well worth a look. For a great overview check out the screencasts in the forum.