Small productivity improvements in 2022
Tools that helped me to work better
The year is coming to an end and I’m happy to share that I got some productivity improvements by using more and better tools for everyday work. Here are the highlights.
To organise the agenda
Google Calendar: comparing my working calendar from the end of 2021 with the one of 2022, now I’m able to allocate my time explicitly. I’ve tried a couple of other tools, including Calendly, with scarce results. The cherry on top of the cake: Google calendar’s labels help me to keep an eye on the type of meetings I’m in. This way, I don’t switch contexts too much during the day and I put consistent meetings for myself with agendas upfront (meetings that other people call “focus time”).
As a whiteboard
At work I started to use Miro more extensively to map processes and as a whiteboard to understand problems. It’s very easy to create post-its and move them around, less handy with integrations yet. Helps me a lot to visualise ideas instead of writing them. Would be interesting if the integrations with other tools were better to move data in and out.
Getting a job
An unusual tool I used for job-hunting was Streak, a CRM tool that helps you track emails with labels. It was useful to keep in touch with so many recruiters and companies. I reached out to more than 30 companies to secure a new job in August when Pollen went into administration, leaving unpaid salaries and shocking debts. Overall, I’m quite satisfied with my work and personal inbox (less than 20 read emails sitting there) but it was challenging to keep up with linkedin and email. I managed at the end to keep a document for each prospective company and Streak did the trick to organise the emails and progressions in the “sales” pipeline.
Another baby step of productivity was switching from a custom Gatsby JS static site hosted in Netlify to Substack with my own domain. The pipeline wasn’t complex but it was an overkill. Now I don’t waste any time installing npm packages or other trivial tasks. The UX is not as great as it could be but it’s readable, I can see how many people read what I write and it's easy to copy/paste to Linkedin. However I still use Google Docs to write and then paste into substack, the google docs corrections are great.
Last but not least, there’s Libby, the app for reading ebooks or audiobooks from the local Merton library without needing to go to the library 😀. It helped me browse and even finish titles such as: “Languages are good for us“, re-read Agatha Christie’s “The thirteen problems”, “How do you teach philosophy to your dog”, Harry Potter and “Fooled by randomness”. Plus a lot of titles I didn’t get through the first ten pages 😛
Stuff that didn’t work as much
Notion: I haven’t buried the hatchet yet, I’m trying to use Google Docs as much as I can instead. I found the UI so boooring and clumsy at the same time, maybe a sign of my age 🤔
Budgeting and spending: I didn’t manage to improve my spreadsheet.
To sum up
Better tools, used more often, bring small improvements and avoid repetitive tasks becoming boring. I’m curious what tools 2023 will bring! Btw, Happy new year 🥂 !
Thanks for reading The people behind Software management! Subscribe for free to receive new posts and support my work.