workflow tools: hardware

January 14, 2008

I am a technophile. Technology can either be a tool that streamlines our workflow process, or it can be a distraction that slows us down. I experience both. All the time. But my love of technology convinces me that the streamlining surpasses the distraction.

When Amazon launched the Kindle a few months ago, Jeff Bezos stated that they designed the Kindle to just disappear in the hand of the reader. This statement stuck with me. (I’m not the only one, as I’ve seen it alluded to often by others.) Bezos captures an ideal for what technology should be — tools that become seamless extensions of what it is that we want to do.

What follows is a listing of the technology hardware that is a daily part of my workflow. Like anyone who loves technology, I probably spend far too much time playing and tweaking, but when I just need to focus on GTD or playing with ideas, each of these tools is able to get out of the way so I can get to creating.

Apple Macbook – This is homebase and because of that, Creativityist is going to have a distinctly Mac flavor. One of Apple’s recent pitches is “It just works”. I put a lot of effort into tweaking workflow processes on my Mac, but most of them are related to streamlining and making things work better. Getting things to work in the first place is rarely the issue. But, when there is a problem, I know I can go visit the store where I bought it knowing that the store is owned by the same company that made both the hardware and the software. I never have the store telling me that I need to contact the maker of the OS, or the OS maker telling me it is a hardware problem. That’s a beautiful thing. When working on a Mac, I just feel more creative. Of course, after the MacWorld keynote tomorrow, it also might make me feel more obsolete.

Apple iPhone – I don’t need to say much about the iPhone. The iPhone works so well with my Mac, it is extension of homebase. I’ve had many PDAs and smartphones over the years, but none of them has been able to work as seamlessly with my computer. There are some improvements I’m still hoping to see from Apple, but even as it stands right now, the iPhone has been a great addition to my workflow. I’ll talk more about that in future posts.

Amazon Kindle – I am as much of a bibliophile as I am a technophile, which makes this a dream device. I’ve only had it a week, but I can already see how valued the Kindle might be to my workflow. A big part of my creative process comes from interacting with the ideas of others. Being able to carry a searchable library with me is exciting, and the Kindle allows my to transfer notes back to my computer to incubate for future projects.

I wish I was cool enough to use…
Moleskine notebooks – Ever since I saw Johnny Depp sitting in a park while writing plays in his notebook in Finding Neverland, I’ve had a mostly blank moleskine or two on hand. The empty pages beckon me to fill them. But, as cool as they are, I’m just not quite cool enough to have it as part of my everyday workflow. I value having my ideas all tucked away on my computer for easy reference and future interaction, so the moleskine isn’t my primary way to capture thoughts. Still, I usually have one handy for when technology isn’t convenient or available…or when I want to look like a cool creative type.

Stay tuned. Another post (or two) will follow in this series as I talk about some of the software I use in my workflow process.

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