When reading blogs like this, its easy to get overwhelmed by the sheer number of apps that get mentioned. Geeks like me are very passionate about the tools and tricks that we use, and in our desire to help everyone in the universe understand just how much better your lives would be if only you would use whatever thing we are screaming at you to try this week, we lose you.
Why am I telling you all of this… well, it’s two-fold. First I want to let you know that part of the change you’ll be seeing with this site is smaller, more tactical uses of the apps I’ve already shared. Partly because I’m coming to the end of the applications that I use heavily, but mainly so I can start to give you a better idea of how you might benefit.
I also want to take a step back from the tool and focus more on the work. When you really embrace the idea of a workflow, this all becomes a bit more manageable. Rather than thinking of tools, you begin to hone in on the things you’d like to be better at. You begin to identify your pain points and start to wonder how you can do better. All too often, our passion for a particular app (ok, apps) causes us to think more about the solution than the problems we face.
Think about it like this:
- I wanted to get better at managing email, so I started looking to get out of my inbox.
- I wanted to write more, so I researched how to write seamlessly between my phone and computers.
- I wanted to write larger pieces, so I found a better method for organizing my thoughts.
- I wanted to post more often, so I learned how to best write for and post to the web.
- I wanted to organize my paperwork, so I determined how to best store and retrieve it.
- I wanted to do a better job managing tasks, so I sought out a way to wrangle them all.
Notice, no apps… just a problem and a starting point. Write yours down, lay out your most obvious challenges, think about the possible solution. From there you can begin to prioritize and attack them one at a time. It wasn’t until I stopped looking for the latest, greatest, hottest app and started focusing on actual problems that things started to get better.
A single workflow approach makes it easier to find and eliminate the onslaught of tools and apps that come our way. And since we’re focusing on one thing at at time, it stops us from looking for silver bullets and blanket solutions… which is a good thing, considering they don’t exist.
I’m sure I will geek out from time to time (and by time to time, I mean often). I’m sure I’ll eventually yell at you to try something shiny and new once more. But when I do, look at your list of problems and ask yourself, does this app, this tip, this tactic really solve anything? If not, lucky you! One less problem to deal with, one less app to try.