My Productivity Tool Stack for 2024

My Productivity Tool Stack for 2024

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.

Audio

I primarily leverage these tools for podcasting.

Auphonic

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.

Rode Procaster

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 Free

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.

Computers

I may need to replace these machines soon (especially the Mac), but for the time being, they are my mainstays.

ASUS ZenBook UX462DA

My ASUS ZenBook

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).

My 2015 MacBook Pro

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.

eBooks

I am producing more PDFs than ever, and it helps to have the right tools for the job.

Designrr

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

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.

Amazon S3

I store my podcast files and course content inside Amazon S3. It’s cheap, it’s quick, and it’s (almost) easy.

Dropbox

Every book I’m writing gets backed up in Dropbox. When working with assistants, I generally create shared Dropbox folders too.

Google Drive

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.

Graphics

The occasional graphical work (blog headers and the like) is par for the course in my profession.

Adobe Photoshop

I can do what I need to do in Photoshop, and if I can’t, I hire a designer!

Music Production

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:

Note-taking

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:

Notebook

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:

Project Management

I am now using a mix of paper- and digital-based solutions to manage all the moving pieces of my projects.

Calendar Pad

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

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.

Social Media

I’ve got quite the tool stack going for social media, though I do hope to pare this down.

Buffer

For scheduling posts on Instagram and TikTok.

Descript

I use Descript for my podcast and video transcripts as well as for creating audiograms I share on social media.

Creator Studio

For scheduling posts on Facebook and Instagram.

OnlyWire

For spreading posts across 20 social networks, especially new YouTube videos.

Video

Here’s how I capture and edit my videos.

iPhone

I capture most of my videos using my iPhone.

Loom

The ideal solution for screen recording.

Microsoft Clipchamp

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.

Web Hosting

I use the following solutions for my websites.

KLEQ

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

SiteGround

My WordPress sites are all hosted on SiteGround. It’s the same host I recommend to friends.

WordPress

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.

Elegant Themes

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.

Writing

In case you haven’t noticed, writing is a key part of my daily activities. I use these tools to make my processes efficient.

ChatGPT

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.

Grammarly

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.

Microsoft Word

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.

Final Thoughts

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.

Empty Your Mind

Empty Your Mind

Get your ideas out of your mind.

Most of us don’t have problems coming up with ideas. We have problems sorting, organizing, and filtering through the ideas we come up with.

The first step to decluttering your mind is writing everything down. Use a yellow legal pad, notebook, or whiteboard. You can use whatever you want, so long as it’s an analog (and not a digital) tool.

Once you’re sure you’ve emptied your mind of ideas, file them away. If you’re using a whiteboard, take a picture of your brainstorm, put it in Dropbox, and clear the whiteboard.

Now that your mind is clear, you can focus on the goals that are in front of you.

Systems or Open Door

Systems or Open Door

Some leaders end up going back and forth on systems or open door.

“Systems didn’t work last quarter,” they say, “let’s get rid of them.” So, they go back to an open-door policy by default, not realizing that’s what they’re doing. They may have the intention of setting up new systems, but they vastly underestimate how much time or effort this is going to take.

You can have it one way, but you can’t have it both.

You can’t take away systems and expect your team not to come knocking at your door requesting email bulletins, meeting times, deadlines and due dates, expense accounts, anything, and everything in between.

You may have a blanket answer for them – “just check our team Dropbox.” But in the absence of systems, your team will default to asking you for guidance. Self-serve is not an option.

In your mind, Dropbox may be the system, but you don’t have systems to manage the system, so it’s a moot point.

Don’t blame your team if they don’t make it to meetings, don’t know when something is supposed to be done by, or don’t have the links to the team Dropbox that was supposed to go out last week. You’ve adopted an open-door policy by letting go of systems. You are the system now.

You can choose systems, or you can choose open door. Both are valid. But where one is largely self-directed, the other will require your input at all hours, any hour of the day. Always know which you’re choosing.

My Productivity Tool Stack for 2023

My Productivity Tool Stack for 2023

Due to my nomadic status, I have officially embraced a primarily digital workflow in 2023. I wouldn’t say I’ve gone “paper free,” but being able to check up on the status of a project from anywhere has become critical. Having key documents in the cloud makes it easy for me to keep tabs on what I’m up to, no matter where I am in the world.

All that to say, my productivity tool stack has evolved a little since last year. Here’s what I’m now using.

iPhone 13 Pro Max

I stuck with my Samsung Galaxy S7 since 2016. But in May 2022, I finally decided to upgrade.

I wasn’t sure which phone I’d ultimately pick, but I was leaning towards the iPhone because of its camera. And, in the end, the iPhone won.

So far, I couldn’t be any happier with this choice. Adapting to the workflow didn’t take long, and since it is a brand-new phone, it’s a lot faster and smoother than my previous device, and it has a bigger screen too.

From social media and Kindle to Notes and Gmail, I find I’m able to do a lot more on my phone than I was previously able, whether scheduling meetings, documenting ideas, or reading Kindles.

My iPhone is my go-to tool for capturing video too.

iPad & Apple Pencil

Hard to believe – my iPad & Apple Pencil have been with me since 2019. But somehow, they still feel new to me.

I have used this combo extensively for journaling and digital art. I like to read Kindles on my iPad as well.

I like that I can sync up my iPad with my new iPhone, and even my older MacBook Pro. Make no mistake, though – I’m still a hybrid PC / Mac user.

ClickUp

Evernote is out and ClickUp is in.

Not that I don’t like Evernote, but for some reason it has fallen off my radar more times than I can count. If it doesn’t stay in my workflow, it usually means there is too much friction to using it.

ClickUp is a thorough project management tool, but I basically use it as my digital to-do list.

Notion

As with ClickUp, Notion can be used as a comprehensive project management tool (though I think ClickUp does to-do lists better).

I find Notion works best as a central, communal holding place for project related information. If I have any collaborative projects, my first instinct is to set up a new teamspace inside Notion, complete with mission, objectives, deadlines, stats, meeting times and Zoom links, links to relevant documents, and the like.

Dropbox

I think I’ve said it before, but at this point, my workflow is so enmeshed with Dropbox that I barely even notice it’s there. But I would certainly notice if it wasn’t there, as I have multiple book projects stored inside.

Google Workspace

Gmail, Drive, and Calendar. Honestly, I’m not sure what I’d do without them.

Last year, I got to discover the utility of the Updates tab in Gmail. I love it because it moves a lot of emails I only want to check occasionally into a separate tab.

My LifeSheet, of course, exists in Drive, and my Calendar is timeboxed.

Microsoft Office

I still do most if not all my writing inside Word. I know there are a lot of other great tools out there, but because I’m used to Word and all its quirks, I’m better able to adapt to changes. I even layout my books in Word.

Excel comes in handy around tax time.

Final Thoughts

If you want to be as productive as you can possibly be in 2023, ensure that you’ve got the right structures in place. Using the right tools can make a difference, but you’ve got to create processes for all the tools you use too. I suggest keeping your workflow as simple as possible.

If you need any guidance setting up systems for your career or business, feel free to get in touch for personalized coaching. I don’t come cheaply, but I always deliver value.