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.

Why You Should Create a “Learning” Folder Now

Why You Should Create a “Learning” Folder Now

How much time do you spend on idea generation?

What about reading books, blog posts and articles, listening to podcasts, or watching videos?

If you’re a writer, there’s a good chance your content consumption habits are quite extensive, because you never want to be in that dreaded state of staring back at blank screen, wondering what you should write next.

A lot of people consume. But not many people take notes. Even fewer reference what they’ve learned, and even fewer apply it.

Here’s why you should create a “Learning” folder now.

What Tool Should I Use?

I created my “Learning” folder inside Google Drive.

You can use whatever tool you want, but Drive felt right to me, given that I can create Docs and take notes from any device.

These days, I do most of my reading on my iPad. I still prefer hardcovers or paperbacks, of which I have a few at my current residence, but I left most of my library in Calgary, when I decided to become a digital nomad.

So, I read with my laptop next to me, where I can take notes on what I’m reading.

How Does a “Learning” Folder Benefit Me?

I find that reading gets me into flow. And when I’m in flow, ideas seem to come fast and easy. If I’m not actively capturing these ideas, I could lose them forever.

Not to mention, I love to make notes on what I’m learning, how I might apply it, and even jot down memorable quotes on the content I’m consuming.

I already have pages and pages of notes I can refer to on a variety of topics, some that connect directly to my work and marketing efforts.

And whenever I’m thinking to myself, “where was that quote I jotted down – I sure would like to use that in my article now,” I can easily search it up and find it within Drive. No more flipping through multiple books, trying to figure out where that quote was.

So, your Learning folder can help you:

  • Make a record of what you’re learning and applying
  • Jot down noteworthy quotes for later use
  • Generate ideas for your next article
  • Turn your notes into book/resource reviews

Wouldn’t Note taking Slow Down Content Consumption?

There are gurus out there who in effect are saying “the more books you read, the better.”

But why is that?

Reading faster is mostly pointless if you don’t retain or use any of what you’re learning, isn’t it?

What’s the point in reading more books or consuming more content if you aren’t learning anything? What’s the point in learning anything if you aren’t applying it? What’s the point in applying it if you aren’t tracking the results?

The only way to understand the value of something is to try it for yourself and see what happens, isn’t it? And if you don’t have the right structures for that, shouldn’t that be your priority?

You can read more books, or you can become a master at learning and applying what you’re studying. There’s no doubt in my mind which is bound to have a more lasting impact.

Note taking isn’t easy, and it isn’t meant to be. But it causes you to think more about what you’re learning, which in turn helps with your learning and memory.

Final Thoughts

Ideas are everywhere. We just need to take hold of them.

Staring at a blank screen is a bad use of time, and that situation can easily be avoided if you have the right structures in place.

Setting up a Learning folder is a great way to document your learning journey, which can come in handy in a variety of ways. It’s in service of your future self.

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