I’m constantly changing the apps I use. I like to experiment with what works. But I also like to play with new toys. I tend to experiment and chat about new apps I’m trying, but in reality, I have a few core apps that I tend to stick to.

I like to take inventory now and then as it helps me clean up my system and see how things change over time. This isn’t an exhaustive list, but it highlights the main apps and utilities I use daily.

I wrote about some of my experiments at the bottom.

Consumption

Personal Productivity

Utilities

Website and Social

Work Productivity

  • Outlook - Email, calendar, and work tasks.
  • Microsoft Office - Documents and other necessary junk.
  • Microsoft Teams - Team communication. Project organization and files.
  • Microsoft OneNote - Project notes.
  • Microsoft Editor - Grammar and spelling.
  • Azure DevOps - Project tasks.
  • Balsamic Mockups - Wireframes and simple documentation.
  • Visual Studio Code and Visual Studio - Code!
  • Timeular - Where I track my time for client work.
  • Bing Chat - Helps me troubleshoot, research, and create images.

Experiments

I tried using Blot for my website. I was writing in Obsidian and posting to Blot, where it would immediately appear on my blog. It was awesome, but I’ll stick with Micro.blog for simplicity.

I tried Obsidian for all of my writing. I still prefer Ulysses, and I think it’s more about the organization of notes and distractions that become available in Obsidian that sways me back to Ulysses.

I tried Logseq for work notes, and it works great for getting things down and creating tasks throughout the day. My biggest grip is that I usually must share notes with my team. Taking light notes in OneNote and immediately updating the documentation for our project works best in the long run. Tasks immediately go into Azure DevOps and are assigned to team members or Microsoft To-Do (accessed through Outlook) for personal work tasks.

I experimented with a Rocketbook notebook. It didn’t stick. Not a problem with the notebook itself. When I get busy, I struggle to do anything analog, although that seems like it should be the best time to use analog. :( The Rocketbook reminded me of writing on my iPad with the Apple Pencil, which reminded me that I could do that by just taping my iPad Lock Screen and starting to write. I still jot down thoughts this way.

I also experimented with dropping my RSS feeds altogether. That didn’t go well because I spent more time jumping to various sites to keep up with things. I returned to RSS, tried Inoreader for a minute, and thought about returning to Feedbin, but ultimately just added my RSS feeds and newsletters to the Readwise Reader app. Now everything is in one place. Readwise Reader is growing on me, and it is complex but has some great features.

I played with some AI tools, like ChatGPT and Microsoft Bing Chat. I see them as useful search tools for research and troubleshooting.

I foresee myself testing Microsoft Loop, Microsoft Copilot, and other miscellaneous tools next.

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