Discover more from Connor’s Substack
App/Web Tools I'm Using
I’ve always been eager to try new things. These days I worry more about the opportunity costs of switching so I'm careful but I still try and try. This is a list of what I'm getting value from today.
I’ve always been interested to try new things and see where they take me. These days I try to assess more carefully than the past. After my long-running ‘becoming less’ project, I find that I’m more selective and quick to delete apps and cancel subscriptions. Yet, I still try lots of apps...
These are the tools I use each week
Apple Notes - I use an iphone and macbook, so apple notes is great as I can send anything to it to keep track. And I try to keep it semi organised with #tags and adding similar things to single “hub” notes.
LLM/GPT/GenAI tools - like Bing Search,
Midjourney, and Poe. I find these are my go-to tools now more than google. And they make life just easier for many things. Any question any topic, start with a LLM. I used ChatGPT for a while, but find Poe an overall better experience.
Rosebud - AI Journal for Personal Growth - this is my go to journaling and self reflection tool. I've paper journaled for years and tried many different digital approaches. Each time I’ve abandoned the digital replica for my pen and paper. This is the first digital journal that has really stuck.
ahead - this reminds me a lot of WoeBot which was a mental wellbeing chat app I used a lot during the start of Covid and it helped me manage stress, anxiety and get away from ‘the-moment-of-chaos’. WoeBot isn’t around any more and this seems like a solid upgrade. Sometimes the interface is a bit clunky, but its well worth it.
Wakeout | Workplace health, desk exercises, reduce back pain - is awesome. I use it every day to improve my mobility and general health. It’s the first exercise app that I actually use all the time. And I love what the founder is doing with his mini videos.
Substack - A new economic engine for culture - is my go-to place for news, insights, perspectives, industry tips and other info. I subscribe to a bunch of newsletters and have surprised myself by paying for authors who's writing I value. I've setup filters on my email so all the emails go to a "Reading List" folder which I check from time to time and read whatever strikes my interest. I find this an easier format than reading within the app.
Tasks | Habitica - I'm a complete turncoat on gamification. I used to bash it as fakery and oversold. After going all-in on Habitica, Duolingo and Wakeout, I have to say that gamification is effective when you decide to get into it and enjoy the game. It didn’t work for me in the past as I didn’t let myself see it other than a contrived attempt to push me into something. I used Apple Reminders for a while and have now moved all my personal reminders, habit building, tasks, etc to Habitica. I find that the gamification just helps that extra little amount to make it impactful for me
Personal Office365 - I've moved all my personal email, file management, etc into the Personal Office365 environment (family plan). I just find it easier to manage having a consistent tool between work and personal. Plus, I think Microsoft is leaps ahead of the competition in terms of seamless experience. Monopolies in some areas can be good so long as they are scared… all the time.
At Work, Doubling Down on 'Standard' Apps - I've been working to double down on standard apps like Microsoft Whiteboard, Planner, Loops, etc and even using Word, Excel, PPT as much as I can rather than finding 'new and cool' tools to try and solve 'old' problems. Sometimes the standard apps aren't as cool, fun, flashy as the other tools out there, but I'm finding that it saves me so much time, effort, and makes collaboration in work so much easier when I just use standard tools that everyone else in the company has default access to. There are, of course, limits to this. I also know that in the past I've advocated for non-standard tools out of personal interest and comfort rather than 'this tool is best for this job which involves many other people'.
Degreed - I may sound like I'm doubling down on corporate tools. I'll risk that. Degreed I use almost daily now. I find it's a great tool to search for content around any topic I'm interested in and I love that I get recommended content that other people are sharing in the company. I've found the community-share-and-comment-on-learning-content aspects in some ways even more impactful than the search-and-find-courses from anywhere.
Audible and Kindle - With kids and family, I drive more than before and find that there is often a book that I want to read but just don't have time to sit down and read through it. Also, I find that some books I can't get into reading but listening to is really enjoyable. I still buy physical books from time to time, but find it really difficult to sit down and "read a physical book" with all the family chaos.
Duolingo - The world's best way to learn a language - I find that I don't have as much time as I'd like to spend time with my friends speaking Japanese or Mandarin and there are always languages that I'm interested in exploring. Similar to Habitica, I find that the gamification of Duolingo (once I committed to it), really help me maintain a refresher habit. It doesn't replace a proper conversation, but its the best alternative I can manage until my kids get older.
Fight Climate Change - Klima - I don't use this app much actively. I started using it a few years ago to help me understand my family environmental footprint and get ideas on how to help. I subscribe to a 100% offset plan and sometimes check the recommendations on other things I can do. I have a good friend who works in the ESG space and he confirmed that their projects and approach look legitimate. It won't save the world. It is something small that I can do.
TripIt - trip planner and flight tracker - I use this for all my family and work travel planning. For work I don't do much with it other than forward the confirmations. It just makes things easier as there is one place with all the flight info and other details. One time, it notified me that a flight was delayed by 2 hours long before I was notified by the airline and that alone converted me.
Discord | Your Place to Talk and Hang Out - I was super against using discord for years. I started using it because RoseBud has a community there and that experience converted me. A lot of apps have communities on discord now and its an awesome place to get info, tips and contribute to how these apps develop. I don't see it ever replacing whatsapp or any other tool I'm using, but it is a great way to chat with app makers.
Experimenting - I always trial and error with different apps and tools when I hear about them. Right now I'm trying Brilliant another elearning app after stopping for a few years and Codeacademy Go. But I can't really recommend them yet.
Other than these, I recommend spending some time just trying different apps and tools and see what sticks. Anything that I find I'm using "for the sake of it" but don't feel better about after a few weeks is a sign that I should get rid of it.