The Perils of Tool Overload and the Paradox of Productivity Apps

As I was publishing my second book, I found writing a post on this site, posting the book on my publishing site, sending an email announcement through a different app, publishing the files on Dropbox, adding those links to the welcome email for my other newsletter on yet another site, then setting up the print version on Blurb.

That’s when I realized I need an organizational audit.

Right now I am trying to balance three websites (this site, my publishing website, my old website that I’m going to be updating for marketing the books)… two email newsletters (one in GMass, one in Substack)… three email addresses… various social media accounts… two freelancers… and two distribution/printing companies.

Beyond that, I’m using the following apps for this project. This is not a tech stack, it’s Frankenstein’s monster.

  • Writing books in Microsoft Word, Google Docs, Scrivener, Evernote, and Bear.
  • Book layouts in Photoshop, InDesign, and Vellum.
  • Notes and research spread out across Evernote, Bear, Apple Notes, Notion, Google Sheets, and UpNote.
  • Project management in Notion, Things, Google Sheets, and Bear.
  • Communicating with freelancers in Notion, two different email accounts, Slack, and Messages.
  • Paying freelancers via three different payment platforms.

It’s way too much. Too much of everything. And this is before I begin marketing or analytics or generating revenue in earnest, which will bring a whole new set of tools and projects into the mix.

It also leads to me spending way too much time jumping around between software and, worse, losing track of where to find files, notes, and other bits of info.

The above is symptomatic of a large, long-term project where I’m pulling in lots of material from years past. But it’s also untenable.

I have not cleaned it up because if the paradox of productivity apps.

Which is: Endlessly learning and then migrating to new productivity apps because you think this is the one that will make you more productive.

That’s my least favorite type of work but the type that can be hard to resist. There’s always a shiny new app that promises to do what your old app couldn’t. (The reason I have notes strewn across five note taking platforms is because, at some point, I’ve used all five as my primary notes app.)

I know I need to streamline. I need to pare down my tools, consolidate my sites and emails, and move to one organizational system.

My reluctance? I have promised myself I’ll do the learn and migrate dance one more time and then I’m done. So I’m taking my time to pick the right place for the migration. Which itself is another time suck. It’s a vicious cycle.

In the meantime, I’m not letting the web of nonsense slow down my push toward publishing 100 books. I’ve been making great progress on my next wave of books so hoping to publish two (if not three) more books in March.

To see what I’ve been working on daily, check the Work Log.


Get email alerts on updates

Name (optional):