I was just asked this as part of an online training program in which I participate: what are some tools/gear/apps/systems/etc that I use better than most people? My list goes to eleven:
1. I use Asana to track tasks, projects, and responsibilities for people on my various teams.
2. I use the text expander aText to save time I would otherwise spend tapping a keyboard.
3. I use an Inbox, a Tickler File, and my filing cabinet reasonably well, albeit not perfectly. These are suggested in David Allen’s Getting Things Done.
4. I use Freedom to restrict my internet access successfully.
5. I use an executive assistant service called Belay for administrative stuff related to travel, writing, research, social media, and such. I can concentrate on what I do best because I know I have a rockstar assistant who is taking care of a lot of i-dotting and t-crossing.
6. The Bose Noise-Cancelling Headphones (QC35) I mentioned the other day are awesome. I can sit in my office with a fan running and while I hear the Big Important Noises I don’t really hear the fan or my fingers on the keyboard. I also bought a noise-cancelling boom mic for it that allowed me to dictate a blog post while walking around campus (into the wind!) and two rough drafts of blog posts/articles/teaching nubs while on an elliptical machine at a very loud gym this morning.
7. I track everything I eat and all my exercise using MyFitnessPal. I’ve lost 25 pounds from my peak weight and 15-20 from where I was in August. I also have a UA Healthbox, which is a scale that Bluetooth syncs with my phone and that also records body fat percentage. I still need to make time to figure out how to make the most of these, but I’ve been using MyFitnessPal pretty regularly.
8. My Calendar. If it isn’t on the calendar, it isn’t happening. This has gotten me in trouble before, but it hasn’t been that bad.
10. I’ve gotten better at using the garbage can and the Goodwill donation box, though it would be a real stretch to say I use them better than the average person. That thing that “might come in handy someday” might very well come in handy right now to someone else. Set it free!
11. I carry my Moleskine journal with me everywhere I go, and it’s my catch-all capture device. I use it the way Jason suggests in this series of videos. I write in it with Jetstream pens because life is too short and time is too precious to mess around with lousy office supplies.