How to Find Tools That Work For You

keyboard search

I wrote a piece a few days ago on the importance of choosing our tools with care. Then I linked to an article yesterday by Shawn Blanc on the tools he’s chosen to work with.  I think this a theme that’s worth developing.

Don’t Worry What Other People Are Using

We can count on one thing from the internet: flame wars[1]. I was scrolling through my feed and ran across this question: “Should I upgrade to iOS 8.0.2?”[2]

There were a few helpful answers among the 30-something responses. But the first answer to a simple “should I update?” question was “NO! Buy and LG3!”. Most of the responses were in that vain.


That answer didn’t just ignore the question, it assumed that what works for one person will work for another. That is false. Don’t let what someone else is using determine the way you’re going to work. Think through the options. Understand what is important to you. Know what tools you enjoy using.

Use What Other People Are Using

I know, I’m not making sense. But you won’t find the tools you need without a little help. Check out review sites. Look at app recommendations from people who’s work you follow. Ask around.

There’s someone out there who has encountered the same problem and has found the solution. There’s no reason to take the long way around. If you’ve found a tool that almost works but could be better check out sites like AlternativeTo.

There’s so much great software and hardware available that there’s no excuse to keep using tools that don’t work for you[3].

Use What Works

You are the ultimate decision maker when it comes to your tools. If you love using something, nothing else matters. If you’ve found tools that make your life easier, that you couldn’t dream of working without, use them.

Be Respectful of Other People’s Workflows

This is one I’m still working on. It’s hard to get over the idea that I know what’s best. It’s difficult to imagine someone working a different way than I do. But people do work differently. They act differently. They think differently.

A lot of the arguments we get into online stem from this. We can’t understand why someone would use an “inferior” tool when the tools we use are available. Remember, someone’s choice about what they prefer to use isn’t an indictment of you or who you are. They’re just tools.

What are your favorite tools? How did you find them?

  1. Flame Wars: This is a fascinating Wikipedia entry. Of course, if you don’t often read Wikipedia for fun, you may find it less than entertaining.  ↩

  2. A reasonable question. iOS 8.0.1 caused no end of problems for iPhone 6 and 6+ users, loss of cellular connectivity and Touch ID, specifically.  ↩

  3. The companies we work for often do put a damper on this kind of thing, but try checking with your IT department. They may be more flexible than you think. Or less. It depends on the company.  ↩