As I start wrapping up the broadest strokes of the Techie Scheky series1 and start to get into some of my geeky workflows, I want to take a quick step back and talk about some of the overarching philosophies I’ve been cultivating (and stealing) from things I’ve learned through my unwitting mentors from all around the web. These concepts are still forming, but they are starting to work for me and I thought that even in their uncooked form, they may help you as well.
The Answer To Too Much Technology is More Technology
When I started on this little adventure to get more productive, I was extremely overwhelmed. It felt as if there had to be an answer to all the additional input we face every single day from our smart phones, laptops, iPads, email accounts and social media profile. I felt as if there were real benefits to everything that was happening on the web, but that there has to be an answer to the overload. Thankfully, there is! The answer to all of this technology overload… more technology. The difference between what’s right and what you are probably doing now: taking the time to find and use the right technology.
Intimidating Does Not Equal Difficult
The tools that can make every aspect of our home and work life easier look scary. We shy away from things that can make our lives easier because they seem hard. The truth, more often than not, the tools we are avoiding are far more intimidating than they are difficult to use. Once you overcome that anxious first reaction to something new, you will find most of these programs to be surprisingly intuitive, impressively powerful and extremely useful.
Swiss Army Knives are NOT Solutions
Finding the right tool for the right job can be a challenge and this is where we often get lost. The temptation is to find a Swiss Army Knife, a killer app that can do everything. In theory, you want something that slices, dices and makes Julianne fries. In reality, no one really wants Julianne fries and all of the selling points that caused us to buy the app in the first place end up being bloated with features that we do not need. These features that intimidate, keep us from letting technology to save us from drowning.
Simple Solutions Offer Robust Results
Where I’ve found success and where I believe you can too is in finding more focused applications that work together to make you a more productive and less overloaded person. In getting away from apps that theoretically do everything, you can focusing in on smaller programs that do one or two things really, really well. It’s taken time and a good amount of frustration to find the right mix of tools that work together in concert2. Blending the best simple apps together leads to far more robust results than will ever be found while searching for that fantasy fix-all application.
Go From Inbox to Action Box
More than anything, I’ve tried to leverage tools to help me turn an excess of information into results. What started as a friend passing along Merlin Mann’s Inbox Zero talk (if you haven’t watched this yet, abandon this website and watch now!) has turned into a passion for getting away my inboxes and into action boxes. It is a matter of channeling all of the input into actionable steps in a more focused environment that lead to results. By getting away from doing my work in the same places that I receive it, I end up in a for more controlled and action-oriented environment. Too often, this cohabitation of input and attempted output causes the important work (or better yet the interesting work) to fall to the wayside. I’ve found that putting a little bit of distance between the two can go a long way.
As I said earlier, these ideas are really just forming as I try to get my act together. I just thought I’d share some of the ideals that are working for me and hope that you find them useful as well. I’m certain that I will continue to touch back and expand on these ideas as my efforts continue to evolve, so if you found them helpful, I encourage you to subscribe for free and follow along.