Last year, I embraced simplicity in my productivity tool stack, opting for minimalism and efficiency.
But we’re living in increasingly complex times, and complicated work requires a sophisticated array of tools to manage.
Here I will share the expansive set of tools that empower me to do what I do.
I primarily leverage these tools for podcasting.
For speedy audio sweetening. Auphonic uses adaptive leveling, filtering, loudness normalization, noise reduction, and automatic cutting techniques to make you sound amazing.
I don’t know why more creators don’t know about this and aren’t using this. Do us all a favor and sweeten up your podcast or video’s audio using Auphonic.
My favorite dynamic broadcast mic. Perfect for podcasting, great for music production too (but you’ve got to remember to crank that gain up!).
You can get yours here (it’s great):
Waveform is one of the best music production software applications in existence. The workflow matches up with how my brain works.
I use it for podcast editing and music production.
I may need to replace these machines soon (especially the Mac), but for the time being, they are my mainstays.
ASUS ZenBook UX462DA
The screen cracked and the webcam doesn’t work anymore. The fan is dying a horrible, loud, vibratory death. It has become more prone to overheating. And speaking of which, I’m not sure the built-in microphone works anymore either.
But for now, it’s the best laptop I’ve got.
Get a new ASUS:
Apple MacBook Pro
The 2015 Apple MacBook Pro has seen better days. Like the ASUS, it has a cracked screen, but the situation is far worse (see for yourself).
I mainly keep it around for video conferences, seeing as how the webcam on my ASUS doesn’t work anymore.
If you’re looking to get rid of an old MacBook that’s in better condition, drop me a line.
Get a new MacBook Pro:
HP2011x 20-inch LED Backlit LCD Monitor
Having a second monitor is a good thing. Though not thoroughly practical, I haul this baby with me wherever I go. Fortunately, it’s quite lightweight.
I am producing more PDFs than ever, and it helps to have the right tools for the job.
I bought it on a pandemic special in 2020 and haven’t regretted the purchase. Designrr is a great tool for creating attractive, interactive eBooks without having to hire a designer.
Typeset was created to handle the speedy creation of presentations. But so far as I’m concerned, that is not even what it does best.
For creating beautiful eBooks and PDFs quickly and easily, it is practically unmatched. It would be nice to see more fonts though.
File Storage & Organization
I am essentially using the same tools I’ve used for ages.
I store my podcast files and course content inside Amazon S3. It’s cheap, it’s quick, and it’s (almost) easy.
Every book I’m writing gets backed up in Dropbox. When working with assistants, I generally create shared Dropbox folders too.
More than mere storage. I have a personal Google Workspace account, so I’m also using Gmail and Google Calendar.
I create my LifeSheets, tracking sheets, and a myriad of other documents and presentations inside Google Drive.
Some of my collaborative projects also use Google Drive for file management.
The occasional graphical work (blog headers and the like) is par for the course in my profession.
I can do what I need to do in Photoshop, and if I can’t, I hire a designer!
I could go super in-depth here, talking about all my guitars, amps, and accessories. I’ll save that for another time.
Here I’ll look at the audio interface I use.
Focusrite Scarlett 2i2
My audio interface. It allows me to connect microphones and instruments to my computer. I use it for podcasting as well.
Get the latest Scarlett:
I am constantly writing things down, and I am using both paper-based and electronic solutions.
iPad & Apple Pencil
Besides note-taking, I also read my Kindles on my iPad (same devices from 2019), though if I’m out and about I sometimes read on my iPhone too.
I’ve thought of making videos with the iPad and Apple Pencil. This hasn’t happened yet.
Should you require your own Apple productivity utensils:
White paper, blue pen. This is where my mind lives.
I log my income, draw graphs, strategize events, capture song ideas, scribble to-dos, and more.
The wealthy make a mess of handwritten notes. The average type everything into a computer.
If you want to use what I’m using:
I am now using a mix of paper- and digital-based solutions to manage all the moving pieces of my projects.
I’m bringing the calendar pad back! It is a little impractical for travel, but I can’t deny the benefits of physically writing down all my commitments, as well as my income.
If you want the same thing I’m using:
ClickUp is an all-in-one online productivity tool for individuals and teams. And it’s getting better all the time.
Yellow Legal Pad
For daily to-do lists. This is unlikely to change.
I’ve got quite the tool stack going for social media, though I do hope to pare this down.
For scheduling posts on Instagram and TikTok.
I use Descript for my podcast and video transcripts as well as for creating audiograms I share on social media.
For scheduling posts on Facebook and Instagram.
For spreading posts across 20 social networks, especially new YouTube videos.
Here’s how I capture and edit my videos.
I capture most of my videos using my iPhone.
The ideal solution for screen recording.
A reasonably good video editor. For now, the free version does the trick. I don’t wish to get so good at video editing that I can’t hand it off to someone else, so this works for me.
I use the following solutions for my websites.
KLEQ is the best solution for creating websites, campaigns, sales funnels, courses, and membership sites.
Find my review here: KLEQ Review – Funnel Builder, Online Courses, Membership Site Solution
My WordPress sites are all hosted on SiteGround. It’s the same host I recommend to friends.
We could go super in-depth here and talk about all the plugins I’m using. But that seems excessive.
Here I will simply talk about the tools that I feel increase my performance.
I still love Divi Theme and use it on most new sites I launch. It makes creating custom WordPress designs a walk in the park.
Check out what Elegant Themes has to offer.
In case you haven’t noticed, writing is a key part of my daily activities. I use these tools to make my processes efficient.
I don’t get AI to generate content for me. I generate content myself and then ask AI to tweak and improve.
I never do this for blog posts, however, and I’ve stopped doing it for emails as well.
The content that I produce in this manner is paywalled, and it’s still double- and triple-checked before it goes live.
I will sometimes have ChatGPT create tweets, outlines, taglines, and headlines for me, which helps with ideation.
I honestly never thought I would use Grammarly, but one of the teams I was working with last year uses it, so it ended up sticking in my ecosystem too.
I don’t like all its suggestions, but many are helpful.
If you’ve ever wondered where most of my words are stored, including my books, it’s inside Microsoft Word. This seems unlikely to change.
Ready to make a mess in 2024? I know I am!
I hope this guide helps unlock your most productive year yet. Let me know how it goes.