He who has the most tools wins

I am told quite often, “You must have a lot of time on your hands.” This is usually following an off the wall rambling on Facebook, Twitter or at a client site. The funny thing about it is I’ve always got things to do I just make sure that I have a LOT of time to enjoy life. Among lots of reading, sports, lots of time with family, church obligations, phone calls, cooking and so many other things the goal is to fit as much into smaller amounts of time as possible.

A while ago I read the book “Getting Things Done” by David Allen and it is a book that has a cult following among efficiency experts. The GTD processes are something you can find a million websites and tools on. The one thing it didn’t mention is what a computer guy loves the most. TOOLS! See the thing my dad taught me by accident is that he who has the most tools AND knows how to use them wins. See my dad knew how to use every tool but didn’t always have them all around. However, a neighbour down the street had the most organized garage ever with tools of every kind. My brother and I would be sent down the street sometimes when we were working on our car, house, plumbing or carpentry. We’d learn how to use everything.

Translate this into modern day I acquire as many mental tools as I can as well as geek tech tools. Earlier today I had to do something and it would have been a project that a group of people would have taken hours doing. However, I know how to use databases well, I’m great with picture editing software and I know the web. The combination of the three had me set a timer for 30 minutes and knock this out in record time with unexpectedly fantastic results. At times in life I’ve actually learned things and immersed myself in them for a short period of time to get really good at them so I can do it faster.

Tools cost a lot right? Well, unlike the days of our neighbour’s garage, you don’t have to spend thousands on tools. Get some books on Amazon, install some apps on your phone, look at useful websites or search for “tip” or “tricks”, download free or open source software, read the table of contents on a book with the subject you want to learn and Google the rest or just pay somebody that knows what they’re doing in that area so you can be more efficient in the others. Get good at what you do and use the right mental, physical and software tools for the job and you’ll be a winner.

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