Streamlining my Tool Stack

I have a confession to make: “I like tools, maybe a little too much…”

  • Hand tools
  • Power tools
  • Drawing tools
  • Graphic Design tools
  • Web tools
  • Technology tools

You get the idea.

The other day as I was preparing to teach a class on technology skills, I found myself down the rabbit hole once again. This time it was tools for document collaboration. Forget about Google docs; there’s also Confluence, Workflowy, Quip, and Notion. In the past, I’ve tried and used each of these at one point or another.

There is a never-ending quest for the perfect tool, and I felt myself being sucked back into the vortex, “Maybe I should try this out again?” Then it hit me:

Your tool is a means, not the end. Don’t let it get in the way of the work!

There are many tools to use for work. Each has strengths, weaknesses, and ideal use cases. Don’t worry about it that much. Pick a good one and do something great.

My Tooling Goals

1. No New Tools

At least for the rest of 2019, I do not plan to add any additional tools to my workflow. As much as I’m intrigued by Workflowy, I’m not coming back to it for the near future. Sorry friend!

2. Portable Data

I don’t want to become locked into a system where I have to keep paying to keep information in a proprietary system. I want to be able to grab a file directory, throw it on a hard drive or a different cloud provider, and be on my way.

3. Less Digital & Physical Clutter

Keep reading; you’ll see what I mean.

Therefore, Consolidate

I have a few tools that perform the same or similar functions. The main problem area is file & writing storage.

I have files, notes, documents, pictures, and more stored across each of the following:

  • Google Drive - Most documents live here, especially those I use often
  • Dropbox - Only contains current writing at the moment
  • Amazon Photos - Family Photos
  • iCloud - iPhone & iPad backups as well as iPhone photos
  • Backblaze - Full Work PC Backup
  • Evernote - Archive of writings, notes, journals, and some important documents
  • Notion - Some documents, Journal thoughts stored here, don’t use at the moment
  • Exports from Workflowy - When I stopped using Workflowy, I exported all the data from that account to archive, but I couldn’t tell you where it is for the life of me. The bummer is that I had written many journal entries there. Those are important to me, and I want to archive them.
  • Google Keep - Some notes stored here
  • Paper notebooks - Somewhere around here there’s a box of paper notebooks and journals
  • Paper documents - Fireboxes, My Desk, Random stacks of folders

By the end of the year, I plan to consolidate storage to a more sane list and have a better archiving system.

If you’ve read this far and have had any success in streamlining your data storage, I would love to hear about your setup! Drop me an email.

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