Over the years, I've grow very self-aware of the fact that I can focus too much on tooling sometimes. It's important to remember that outcomes are what matters, not the tools. But there's also a reason why tools are such a conversational centerpiece. Tools influence those outcomes a lot of the time, sometimes in a pretty big way! At least Abraham Lincoln thought so:
“If I only had an hour to chop down a tree, I would spend the first 45 minutes sharpening my axe.”
So with that introduction in mind, I thought it would be fun to list out some of the tools in my personal and professional stack that I'm really enjoying right now. This write-up was largely inspired by Brian Lovin's stack, which I also recommend checking out. Hope you enjoy it.
This is the operating system that powers all of my notetaking, planning, writing, and reflection. We also lean on it quite heavily at Metabase and I've learned to really appreciate the tool in a workplace context as well. Website.
This has been my go-to journaling tool for around 4 years now. The features are pretty standard for the most part, but the real power is in sticking with it over time so that every day you get multiple entries from "On this day" in past years. Really powerful stuff. Website.
I adopted Pastebot within the last year, but it's totally changed my workflow. It basically allows you to copy and save a bunch of things, then paste later as opposed to having only one string saved at a given time. Huge time-saver if you're coding or writing a bunch. Website.
Especially within remote companies, it's so hard to communicate all the context you want via text, and taking a bunch of synchronous calls sucks, so Loom is the best alternative I know of. And it really delivers. Website.
This is a basic one, but I probably enjoy 99% of my experiences with the Spotify mobile and desktop apps. Their personalized playlists are always spot-on and it's almost never difficult to do what I want to do in the app. Bonus points if you pair with Sonos speakers. Website.
I used to use the FaceTime app to check my reflection before a call or for whatever other (probably vain) reason. Turns out, Hand Mirror is much faster. Big upgrade for something I do several times a day. Website.
Ghost is my headless CMS of choice, powering this blog. There are some quirks that I need to fix on the technical side, but overall, I enjoy the editor experience quite a bit. Website.
I've been a big fan of Alfred for some time. It's probably one of the first things I install when setting up a new machine. There's some fancy stuff you can do with the Mac Spotlight replacement, but I mainly use it to open apps and find files. Still, game changer. Website.
This is my go-to tool for all things personal finance. I prefer Personal Capital to Mint since it focuses more on investments and net worth tracking vs. budgeting, which I haven't found to be all that effective or desirable for me. Website.
I do my best to meditate for 20 minutes each morning, so I really enjoy how Waking Up posts a new meditation recording on the homepage each day. Previously, I would make my way through Headspace courses over and over again, which was nice in it's own way, but got quite repetitive. Website.
Along with Notion, Things makes up the other half of my productivity operating system. I track all my daily tasks and reminders here, as well as project progress, and even a nightly sketch of my schedule for the upcoming day. Website.
Strava has does a shockingly good job building out a fitness-specific social network. I see people on there that I haven't talked to in years, and get ideas and motivation for where and how long to plan my next workout for. It's extra nice synced with an Apple Watch. Website.
If you aren't familiar with Swarm, it's an iPhone app that passively tracks your location and allows you to retroactively "check in" to places. I prefer to keep all my stuff private, and use it more as a granular journal to look at all the places I've been within a city. Website.
I recently started putting on ambient rain noises before bed, and it's kind of amazing. I found it a little annoying at first, but as I get more used to it, it's become a great way to get to sleep faster. The mobile app has a bunch of different options to spice it up from time to time. Website.
I'm always surprised to see how few people living in New York or other major hubs use Citymapper as their primary navigation tool. It's much better than Google or Apple Maps for taking into account public transportation and other various options. Website.
I've been using Github more in my current gig and I'm consistently impressed by the attention to detail and how smooth the experience is. Props to the team there for a great product. Website.
Similar to Github, I've been leaning on Figma more in my current role as well. As someone who grew up using Sketch and other desktop applications, Figma is magic, and it's easy enough to use that I feel like I'm almost decent at design every once in a while. Website.
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