Sharing the tools that I use to stay productive

It’s a new year (allegedly*), and I’m finding new ways to share who I am and what kind of work I love to do. I call it Tools I Use. Check it out, or read more about why I wrote it up.

A search for systems

One topic I absolutely love comes in the form of personal productivity tools. It’s an exercise in systems thinking, which for me, is a fancy way of saying the habits we choose will change more than we can imagine ahead of time**. In systems thinking speak, that’s called emergence: the impossible-to-know advantages (and disadvantages) that emerge from our choice in systems.

The way we organize ourselves–from hand-written bullet lists to complex spreadsheets–defines our system’s bounds. I genuinely don’t believe there is one tool to rule them all because that presumes we’re all optimizing for the same outcomes. We’re not. You’re you, I’m me.

But, we can sure learn a lot from seeing how other people attempt to navigate their system, and then we can tune to our unique situation. We could use the exact same tools following different principles and get to our individual (and arguably equivalently useful) systems. I think that’s beautiful.

What I love the most about it is how it’s a non-zero-sum game. If I help you be more productive through tool choice, I benefit because now you can teach me how to use it in new and exciting ways. If it’s open source, bugs become easier to spot with more eyes. Most importantly, I feel so much joy from helping others find systems that work for them.

So here are the weird and wonderful set of tools I use to build a system to stay productive, inspired, and engaged with the world. I will update it as I make significant shifts through its Changelog. If you have any tips, I’d love to hear from you (via Twitter is best but you can try to email).

Happy New Year. I hope it’s one where you rise to the heights of your goals through better systems.

* The verdict is out.
** Systems thinking is more than that, but if you know that, then you already know that. , but if you know that, then you already know that.