Tools of the trade

One of my many, many terrible habits is jumping from app to app in the hope that there’s a magical combination of software solutions that will somehow double my productivity.

Of course, I realise this is madness and is the kind of think I’d discuss with a coaching client if they brought it up! In particular, I’ve been jumping between notes apps and task management apps, as if I was getting paid to review them. When in fact, all that’s happening is increased confusion and duplication of effort.

But I think, this week, I’ve finally arrived at a combination of tools for work that has the fewest drawbacks. I won’t claim any of these applications is perfect, but taken as a whole, they work for me.

Things 3 is for my tasks and projects and keeps me honest. Every single thing I remember I need to do gets put in Things 3. Everything from taking my meds in the morning, to invoicing clients, to writing blogs posts for work. Everything. And that’s the only place tasks and reminders go. That way, I know where to look and never have the nagging feeling that I’m forgetting something, somewhere.

For project notes, it’s Craft. While ad hoc thoughts and hand-scribbled notes and receipts might end up in Apple Notes, the detail behind all my work projects goes into Craft. I love its structure, its flexibility, its sharing functionality and how it behaves on all my devices. The main thing is a great offline mode, for when I’m on flights, on trains with a bad connection or a client office where I can’t get on the network.

Reflective notes, book notes, ongoing learning and writing - this all takes places in Obsidian. I only ever access it when I’m on a laptop or desktop machine, as its iOS apps are pants.

And that’s it.

This combination of tools helps me keep on top of my commitments, stay organised and reduce levels of self-induced stress. My plan is to stick with these for the next few months - no deviations to other apps - and ensure all the information I need to work effectively is where it’s supposed to be.

Richard MacKinnon @TheMacPsych