Do the tools maketh the man?
I’m the kind of person who, when they get into a new hobby, has to buy all the “best” kit a newbie hobbyist can lay his hands on.
This is the reason I have scuba gear, climbing gear, camera gear, power tools and other random crap littered across my garage / loft / cupboards.
On my productivity crusade, I’ve been (relatively) restrained. My purchases have been limited to:
- Doxie Go (such good value for money)*
- Eye-Fi Card*
- Cheap pens for Sketchnoting (Tesco own brand, they sucked mightily)
- Expensive pens for Sketchnoting* (Sharpie ‘Pen’ fine tip, they rock mightily)
- Cheap stylus* for experimenting with sketchnoting on Mrs Cutlery’s iPad (largely unused)
- Cheap bluetooth keyboard* for writing blog articles on the iPhone on the train (heavily used)
- Nozbe subscription
You could argue that much of this isn’t necessary to improve productivity, and you’d be right. The widgets that have been most productivity-inducing have to be the Doxie Go and the Sharpie Pens.
App, App Baby
Just recently though I seem to have caught the App bug. I think I’ve been resisting for so long that it’s finally all coming out in one big splurge.
The productivity app afficionados amongst you will be saying “seriously, where have you been?” when you see my list, but for me it’s been an exciting journey into seeing how I can crank up my productivity using some seriously simple yet seriously funky apps, including:
- Launch Center Pro
- Byword (replacing my previous text writer of choice, WriteRoom)
- Day One
Reaping the benefits of Integration
I’ve been astonished at how a good app can really crank up your phone usage. Launch Center Pro has some super sweet action-based shortcuts (I have a context menu that launches pre-composed texts and emails to my wife for example) and Drafts will send little text snippets to pretty much anywhere on my phone or on the Web (listen to the Mikes on mics podcast with Greg Pierce of Agile Tortoise for a great breakdown of Drafts).
It has become apparent to me that Integration is where it’s at. The real power of a number of these apps – Launch Center Pro, Drafts etc – is the way they integrate with other apps and other tools in your productivity ecosystem (such as Evernote and Dropbox).
This increased back-and-forth flow between systems enables you to pick and choose tools & utilities that work best for you and let the ideas, tasks, actions etc flow freely between them to end up in the places they need to be in order to suit your productivity system.
I have to say the prospect of putting this to work in a dedicated GTD system got me salivating and although I’m in the minority of people who don’t use Omnifocus it’s got me thinking that Nozbe are really going to have to throw some effort at this area in order to keep my attention and my loyalty in the future.
Some will say I could have achieved all my productivity goals with pen and paper only. Some will say that I could spend the cash I laid out on the gadgets on a Virtual Assistant (or a spa weekend).
I think you’re probably right – but that feeling you get when the productivity cogs are whirring and your new purchases are humming in harmony with each other is hard to substitute, and anything that keeps me motivated to achieve my goals has to be money well spent.
What gadgets do you use to improve your productivity mojo? Or would you rather stick to the basics? Join the conversation and comment below!
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