Are You Kidding Yourself About Tools and Productivity?

Is this you?  Over and over again, you fall off on regular consistent organizational practices like to-do lists, emails, planning, backing up your computer … then you run across some cool new tool. You jump on the bandwagon enthusiastically, promising yourself that you’re finally going to get organized and stay organized. You spend happy hours reorganizing everything to fit the new tool. Then, over time, as the novelty wears off, you end up right back where you started, with the same problems.

And then you find a new cool tool and run the same cycle over again.

I will tell you that this is definitely me. I’ve done this all my life. I veer off to a new organization system like a dumb fish following a shiny new lure in the water. And I see other people doing it too, all the time, all around me. You don’t need a new spreadsheet, or to-do list software, or project planning system; you need to use what you have regularly.

I end up wasting the time it takes to reorganize to the mindset of the cool new tool, repeatedly, instead of managing to follow up on any one thing consistently over a long time.

And what works in the real world is not the tool, not any of the damn tools, but rather the following up. It’s the human behavior that matters, the good habits, consistently applying methods, not getting bored with it, not rationalizing out of it.

I apologize for mixing metaphors with this, but I can’t resist referring to the Rime of the Ancient Mariner, with “Water, water everywhere, and not a drop to drink.” Given the world we live in, computers and the Web, it’s something like: “tools, tools everywhere, and not a drop of productivity.”

3 thoughts on “Are You Kidding Yourself About Tools and Productivity?

  1. Well said! We talk to our clients about this all the time. Different analogy same intent…”before you build that pretty new addition on your house you better be sure you have a solid foundation”. Get your people and process executing flawlessly then add tools where you need them. There are no silver bullets in sales and bright and shiny is not always a good thing. Great post!

  2. This was hysterical! Thank you for this post. I am always interested in the latest bells & whistles when it comes to productivity tools, when really the best thing is always my trusty To-Do pad of paper and a good (micro fine-tip, preferred) pen. I enjoy sharing with my clients some technological tools that are available to help them be more productive, but in the end, all they need to do is to use my Virtual Assistant services. Truly, working with me is the best tool I can recommend for THEIR productivity!
    My blog can be found at

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