Notes from a Floating Life Thoughts about productivity, digital living, and leading a simpler life

There Is No One Tool To Rule Them All

In late 2012, productivity blogger Mike Vardy embarked on a short but interesting experiment that he labelled Everything in Evernote. As you can guess, it was Vardy’s attempt to use Evernote to do everything that he needed to do —ranging from writing blog posts to managing tasks and contacts to bookmarking and more.

I followed Vardy’s experiment with some interest. Partly to see whether or not Evernote could be (or even be close to being) the one tool to rule them all, and partly to learn a bit more about how someone worked with Evernote.

So, how did that experiment go? The results were kind of mixed. In his summary of the experiment, Vardy wrote:

The problem isn’t with Evernote, though. The problem is trying to use Evernote for so much more than what it really is for.

That summary post sparked an interesting thread on But Vardy hit the nail squarely on the head. Just because you can use a tool to do something it’s not meant for doesn’t mean that 1) it will help you do a job more efficiently (think about tightening a screw with a dime), or 2) that you should feel obliged to push the tool’s envelope.

Trying to shoehorn a tool into a purpose or process for which it wasn’t meant can be done. That takes time and effort, and the results aren’t always pretty. And it’s time and effort that’s better spent working with the tools that you already have. The ones which work for you, and which actually let you (or help you) get things done.

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