The Tools That I Use


Throughout the posts that I have written so far, I have mentioned several tools that I use. I decided that some of you might find it useful if I provided a single list of these. I’m also going to take this list and add it as a separate page on the website for easy reference.

As I stated on the About page, I don’t receive any remuneration from any of these companies, so these aren’t paid endorsements, just what I happen to use.

If you have suggestions for alternatives to any of these, please feel free to leave me a note in the comments.


Omnifocus – this is my to-do list, project manager, keeps me from losing my mind app. It’s got all of the bells and whistles and carries a hefty price tag if you want it for desktop, iPhone, and iPad, which is what I have, and it only runs on Apple products (for now) so it’s clearly not for everyone. Do a Google search for “alternatives to Omnifocus” and you’ll get some good suggestions.

DayOne – I love this journaling app. It’s easy to use and let’s me quickly add multiple images to entries. Now, a quick caveat about this – I’ve been using it for awhile so while I had to pay for the initial purchase of the app, I don’t have to pay for the “premium subscription” to keep the features that used to just be part of buying the app. Premium gives you more, but I’m not currently interested.

Productive – This is one that I started using per Todd Henry’s recommendation. I track my “dailies” with it and really love it. Unfortunately this is another app that seems to have gone to a subscription service for the “premium” version. Again, I seem to have been grandfathered in for this.

WaterMinder – As I noted, I had a horrible kidney stone a couple of years ago so I now take drinking healthy fluids, especially water very seriously. WaterMinder helps me easily track how much I’m consuming and sends me reminders on my phone and watch to make sure that I stay on target. This one has a minimal cost.

MyFitnessPal – Using this app has played a big role in me dropping weight during the past year. It’s very easy to add food that I eat and works very well with the Activity app for my Apple watch so that it shows me the calories credits I get from my workouts. I use the free version of this.

Smiling Mind and MARC Meditations – I’m trying to be more diligent in working on mindfulness. For this I use the Smiling Mind app and the meditations available from the UCLA Mindful Awareness Research Center (MARC). Both are free and provide you with a few options for types and lengths of mindfulness activities (Smiling Mind even has one that involves chocolate).

Overcast – I regularly listen to podcasts to inspire me and learn new things. I found the podcast app from Apple to be unreliable so I’ve been using Overcast. Not all podcasts are there but I think that’s because the publishers haven’t submitted them to Overcast, not because of an issue with the app.

Evernote – I’ve used Evernote for several years to take notes in meetings, flesh out ideas, and capture items from the web. I do pay for Plus Membership because I need it to sync across multiple devices.


My Planner – I wrote a post about my planner, which you can read here.

Moleskin Notebook – Yes there are cheaper notebooks, but I like Moleskin. I carry one with me all the time to jot down ideas or to-dos that come to me, and to take notes in a meeting where typing on a keyboard may not be appropriate at that time.

Note Cards – I try to always have some notecards with me, tucked into the back of my Moleskin and my planner to jot down something for others or to start some kind of ongoing list such as topics for my Idea Time (see the next item).

Idea Time Template – Todd Henry talks about “Idea Time” in his books “The Accidental Creative” and “Louder Than Words”. This is about giving yourself specific time to think about potential solutions to challenges that your facing on projects (both professional and personal). In the Accidental Creative he describe how his team use a sheet of paper to look at things like aspirations, assumptions, and concrete issues / attributes of that particular challenge. I created my own paper template that I use during my scheduled “Idea time” every week. I’ve been really impressed by how useful this exercise has proven to be.

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