My Productivity Tool Stack for 2022

My Productivity Tool Stack for 2022

My productivity tool stack hasn’t gone through any major changes for years.

But because of the intensive, yearlong leadership program I’ve been taking, this has fast become a moving target.

So, here I share my current tool stack to help you find your path in 2022 and beyond.

Desktop Calendar Pad

Staples desktop calendar pad

I’ve explored why this is an indispensable part of my tool stack in a previous post.

I typically use it:

  • To track upcoming meetings, interviews, and events
  • To track income (in the memo section)
  • As an editorial calendar, so I can keep my content queue (on various platforms) full

The calendar pad is great for record keeping as well.

Yellow Legal Pad

Yellow legal pad

I used to use my yellow legal pad for my to-do lists.

These days, I find myself using it to take notes, project and contact lists,scribbles, and for the occasional short-form to-do list.

Because of that, I use it more spontaneously than in the past, and most of the notes I produce have a short lifespan.

Samsung Galaxy S7

I do not own the latest, flashiest phone on the market. I only upgrade after wearing down what I happen to be using at the time, and the Samsung Galaxy S7 is what I’ve been using for the last few years.

It’s easy to become a slave to your device, so I’ve turned off most notifications. I even deleted TikTok off my phone once I logged in on my desktop, because I only use it for marketing purposes.

My phone is great for capturing quick photos and videos, maybe the occasional thought or idea. Besides texting and calling, that’s the main way I use it.

iPad & Apple Pencil

iPad and Apple Pencil

For my reflection time, I often use my iPad and Apple Pencil to handwrite notes. It’s my favorite journaling tool combination.

I also read Kindles on my iPad, though I still prefer physical books to digital ones. An iPad is still lighter for travel.

Evernote

The Rule of 5 to-do list

This is where my to-do lists now reside. I don’t completely understand how this switch happened myself.

It could be because I hadn’t logged into Evernote in a long time, and when I finally returned to it a couple of months ago, I found it a more comfortable working environment.

It could also be that writing down the sheer number of tasks I have to do each week on a yellow legal pad is less practical than it used to be.

Dropbox

Dropbox is so integrated with my workflow that I sometimes forget that it’s a vital part of my creative endeavors.

I’m often moving a lot of files around – screenshots, pictures, raw video files – and often need to be able transfer these files from one device to another. Dropbox is a convenient tool for that.

Even if not for that, though, I use Dropbox for my staff writing duties at Music Industry How To as well.

Google Workplace

Gmail, Drive, and Calendar are powerful productivity tools if used correctly.

Gmail is great for organizing your communication and filtering your emails.

Drive is highly searchable, and that makes it easy for you to pull up all your documents, spreadsheets, presentations (and anything else) at a moment’s notice. My Learning folder and LifeSheet are stored inside Google Drive, and I also have them bookmarked in Firefox.

I timebox my days inside Calendar each week now:

Timeboxed calendar

I’m also finding that Drive works well as a storage device. If I’m having trouble sending files over via email or Dropbox, Drive usually does the trick.

Slack

I initially had some resistance to Slack. I’d heard about its power. Entrepreneurs raved about it. Even after giving it a chance, to me it was just another app.

Because of the previously mentioned leadership program, I’ve had to get used to communicating on Slack, and have also been using it for my own team’s ongoing collaboration.

I still think of it as “just another app,” but I like that it’s highly searchable and you can use it as a file repository, feed reader, and so on.

Notion

Every team (and ambitious solopreneur) needs their own internal wiki, online bulletin board, or project management system.

Notion makes it easy for you to create a highly organized database with tables, calendars, to-do lists, and more. You can even embed media.

Zoom

Although I still use Google Meet here and there, most of my video conferencing needs are covered by Zoom. It integrates nicely with most calendar solutions as well.

Microsoft Office

Almost all my writing is done inside Word.

Google Docs are fine, especially if I want to be able to write wherever, whenever on any device, but they don’t catch all my errors.

I have not used Grammarly, and don’t intend to. Word suits my writing style best.

I also use Excel for ledgers here and there.

Adobe Photoshop

Canva is nice, but I know my way around Adobe Photoshop better.

Photoshop is also far more versatile, and if you design in a professional capacity, you need all the power you can get.

I’m not the best designer in the world, and don’t claim to be. But Photoshop is part of my workflow because my various duties require it, and a different app (like GIMP) would just slow me down.

10XPro

10XPro

Campaigns and sales funnels would take me much longer to build with any other piece of software. 10XPro lets me set up websites, membership sites, campaigns, and sales funnels with the click of a button.

I will be setting up more products and programs over at Content Marketing Musician because of how amazing this piece of software is.

Read my review of 10XPro.io

Final Thoughts

Remember – productivity doesn’t necessarily mean more tools.

But if you’re doing everything by the seat of your pants, guaranteed you’re sacrificing productive time.

What structures will you be putting into place? What systems do you already have?

Although I don’t come cheaply, as a champion of artistic success, I’m always here to support you. If you’d like my coaching on setting yourself up for an effective 2022, get in touch. You would also merit from a read through of my latest, The Music Entrepreneur Code – 2022 Edition.

I Don’t Like Slack

I Don’t Like Slack

When I first heard about Slack, it sounded exciting.

I was already acquainted with IRC from the early days of the web, and I’d had a good experience with it.

And, of course, the prospect of cutting down on emails sounded alluring.

With glowing endorsements from entrepreneurs, I follow, how could I possibly resist?

I jumped on the Slack bandwagon. But it wasn’t long before I started looking for an exit.

Experimentation is Important

I spend quite a bit of time experimenting with a variety of tools.

Some make it into my ecosystem. Most do not.

If it’s easy for me to access, log in, and use, then there’s a better chance of it becoming a part of my workflow.

A great example is Google Workplace (formerly G Suite). Most of us already use Gmail. And know it or not, that gives you access to Calendar, Google Docs, and a suite of other apps. Google Workplace is the same thing, except that you can attach a custom domain to your email address.

Google Workplace works relatively seamless across devices, and changes are saved online, so it’s basically a no-brainer, at least to me.

On the other hand, if a tool takes too long to learn, if it’s more power than I need, if it doesn’t naturally integrate into my world, it gets abandoned relatively quickly.

But I’m not closed minded. I will give everything a try, and I will even return to tools I didn’t like to give them a second or third go, just to see if there’s something I was missing.

Integrating Slack into My World

I’ve attempted to integrate Slack into my world a couple times. Doubtless I would appreciate it more if I had a bigger team. My attempts at trying to get my team to interact on Slack went over like a led balloon, mostly because I couldn’t personally commit to spending time inside Slack consistently.

As it stands now, Slack feels like “one more app.” And I don’t want to spend all day everyday switching between dozens of apps. I feel like that kills productivity and wastes energy.

I feel like I’ve got too many tools and apps dedicated to communication already – phone calls, texts, emails, Messenger, WhatsApp, LINE, Discord, Telegram, and so on. Plus, most social networks have their own built-in direct messaging system.

What am I doing with all this communication anyway? Is it making me a better person? Is it building my business? What am I accomplishing by staying connected all the time?

In his book, The 4-Hour Workweek (affiliate link), Tim Ferriss was quick to point out that most communication isn’t urgent. I have found this to be true.

SuperFastBusiness founder James Schramko says the first thing he gets his students to focus on is to get to inbox zero. He suggests unsubscribing from everything you can unsubscribe from.

Communication is critical, but it makes the point that we must have boundaries for it too.

I’m Trying

Okay, so I haven’t had the best of experiences with Slack so far.

But here’s the thing.

This year, I’ve started interacting with a group of like-minded entrepreneurs inside a Slack group. And that’s something I care about.

I have a couple of friends that recently started projects benefiting worthwhile causes. They’ve asked me to be a part of their projects and have started their own Slack groups. Again, my resistance aside, I care about my friends and their projects.

So, I’m trying. I’m trying to get passed my own hang-ups and preferences to figure out how this darn thing works. I’m trying to make it a habit to check in on Slack, even if it’s only a couple times per week.

I have plenty on my schedule already, but I’m always making micro adjustments to keep it sustainable and effective. So, of course, I can adjust for the benefit of my growth and the projects and people I care about too.

I’m trying to like Slack, or at the very least, get to the point where I can leverage it effectively.

Final Thoughts

As I continue to absorb my business coach’s programs and courses, there’s one thing I’ve come to realize – I need to embrace the boring.

I tend to get caught up in the sexiness of content and traffic, but if you don’t have a well-researched strategy backing your work and business, you’re going to struggle, just as I did with Music Entrepreneur HQ.

Slack, to me, is boring (although I know it can be exciting). It seems a good a place as any to begin cultivating a stronger mindset and attention span for what shows up as boring to me.

Are there and business tools or apps that drive you nuts? Is there something everyone else uses that you can’t quite wrap your own mind around?

Let me know in the comments.

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