Tools

Launching a new project is extremely time-consuming. It’s at these times I begin to learn how effective my productivity process and tools really are.

Since creating a 36-hour day is out of the question, the next best thing is making the hours you have more productive. Enter tools and processes.

The thing is, you can never know how well they’re going to work under real stress, until you’re in the middle of a firestorm. So I decided to run an experiment. Not in a controlled environment, but in a real-world situation – hectic and full-on.

The Plan…

Over the next 60 days, I will be preparing my new venture for launch. I have some aggressive time lines, plus existing commitments. In order to hit my goals, I need to be ultra-productive – and that means I’ll need some effective tools and processes.

But I’m starting clean.

I’ve used so many different tools and methods over the years that tend to fail when I need them most. So this time, I have decided to go commando – so to speak.

I’m ditching everything in the way of tools and processes, but a few essentials – Google calendar, grid-lined spiral notebook, and Thunderbird. Then as I need something, I’m going to pick a tool and add it in.

In order for it to work, I am setting a few criteria. I’m keeping it somewhat loose, since I’ll be adjusting as I go:

  • Efficiency First – Above all, whatever I choose, it has to make my workflow more efficient. As a lifehack junkie, I could have the tendency to add a bunch of tools, based solely on the coolness factor. So my primary focus when deciding will be efficiency.
  • Instant Use – I won’t have time to read a manual or do a bunch of tutorials, so I have to be able to integrate it right away. This means it has to be extremely easy to use. Now, fortunately, I’m kind of a techie. So this may give me a little less of a learning curve.
  • Analog vs. Digital – I’ve used both paper and digital tools. I prefer simplicity, so sometimes that means paper, sometimes the convenience of data on a machine. I’ll be looking at both.
  • Cross Platform – I use both Windows and Linux, and at least 2 machines at a time. So whatever computer-based tool I use, it has to be able to be accessible from both, and preferably can share between them.
  • Cost – I’ve spent so much money over the years on stuff that I end up not using. For this experiment, I plan to use free or cheap tools – ideally open source, but ease of use and the other criteria may trump that.

The Progress…

Each week, I’ll post about a tool or process I’ve added and how well it’s integrated into my work-flow.

At the end of the first 30 days, I may do a podcast or vodcast that covers some of the more useful things in more detail. It depends on how well this works, if I’ll have the time.

In the end, I may be back to just grid paper and Google calendar. But I hope to find some useful tools that will help make my life as a home-based entrepreneur, easier.

Tony D. Clark is an entrepreneur, writer, and artist who spends a lot of time talking others into profiting from what they know, being creative, and doing what they love. His blog Success from the Nest provides inspiration, tips, and advice for the home-based entrepreneur and those aspiring to be one – all served up with humor and cartoons.

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