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

It's Not the Tool

This tweet, which sums up so much, recently caught my eye:

A tweet about doing the work

I wonder how many of those 356 ideas that person has turned into actual blog posts. One? Two? Half a dozen? None? And what’s the chance that person will ever turn all (or even a portion) of those ideas into posts?

That’s the trap of any tool, no matter how simple or complex. They become more than a repository for ideas. They become a graveyard for ideas that might have been.

Tools like Evernote can be incredibly useful. If used properly, they help us organize our information. They help us keep track of what we need to do. Tools can also become a crutch. Tools can also become a corner into which ideas and information gather digital dust. The latter two happen far more often they should.

You can use every tool that the productivity and life hacking gurus tout. You can amass notes and ideas and thoughts and quotes. You can clip and research to your heart’s content. But who turns that mass of information into something that meaningful to yourself and to others?

It’s not the tool. Definitely not.

It’s you

Until you create something with all of what you’ve collected, until you press the Publish button, everything that you’ve gathered in a tool is worthless. It has no meaning aside from being a mass of information that’s waiting for you to turn it into something more.

If your ideas are important to you, act on them. Pluck out the best ones, and discard the rest. Adjust your schedule to make the time to tackle those ideas. Do the work.

Getting things done isn’t about tools. It isn’t about systems. It’s about you. Your focus. You determination. Your skills. Your effort. Tools can help you work a bit more efficiently, but unless you get your hands dirty those tools and what’s in them are useless.

Thoughts? Let's start a conversation on Twitter.

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