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

Focus on the Work, Not on the Tools

A man, doing paperwork

Far too many people, and not just folks who are obsessed with productivity, spend way too much time and effort and mental energy trying to find the perfect tool. The tool that, in their minds, will get them to produce more and better work.

That’s the wrong mindset to have. Instead of focusing on the tools, you need to focus on the work. Tools are secondary. They’re a convenience. They’re not the most important thing.

What matters is what you’re doing. What matters is how you’re doing it. A tool doesn’t do the thinking or planning or the actual nuts and bolts of solving a problem for you. Those are the most important parts of performing a task. You, and only you, can do any of that.

Tools don’t produce better work. Using a modern word processor doesn’t make you a better writer. A note-taking app doesn’t make you more organized. A task management tool doesn’t make you more productive. They can help make you more efficient, but in the end the tool has no bearing on the quality of the work that you do.

Don’t worry about tools. Don’t agonize over finding the so-called perfect one. Instead, put the lion’s share of your energy into doing the work. You’ll be further ahead of most people if you do that.

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