Craftsman's tools selection

Mastery isn't about tools 🔧 and why I'm back on Substack

Using the right tools has a disproportional impact on productivity, enjoyment, and quality.

When wielded by masters of their craft, tools become extensions of their users. Augmenting their abilities beyond what's naturally possible. So much so that people overemphasize the importance of the tools themselves, overlooking or ignoring the second and equally important variable of skill, which much of the enjoyment is derived from.

Amateurs and professionals alike, both depend on their tools, the devices, software, and products that enable them to succeed in their disciplines.

Regrettably, with the abstraction technology provides, skill has taken a backseat to features and promised productivity.

If tool selection isn't done through scrutinizing its benefits and usage against personal and professional goals, then it's likely tools will be accumulated, if they provide any benefit at all.

Having too many tools overwhelms the user with choices that prevent them from acquiring any meaningful measure of skill with their chosen tools.

“What we choose to focus on and what we choose to ignore—plays in defining the quality of our life.” ― Cal Newport, Deep Work: Rules for Focused Success in a Distracted World

Instead, judge each tool by how it assists you in accomplishing your goals and only adopt the tools that have a positive impact that substantially outweighs the negative side effects associated with its usage. Start by identifying the high level goals that the tool potentially assists you with. Once a goal is identified, list the 2-3 key activities that would help you satisfy the goal.

Professional Goal: To communicate ideas in a clear, concise, and engaging manner through writing.

Key Activities:

  • Research deeply

  • Write effectively, clearly, and concisely

  • Gather feedback to gauge

If any given tool does not support your goal or key activities, it's best to exclude it.

Following my own advice lead me back to using Substack as the platform for publishing this newsletter and de-investing in Twitter as a platform to improve my writing and to gather feedback.

To learn more about that decision, check out my comment on this post.

While you’re there, let me know what you think of the new newsletter format and which line of this email was your favorite. I love hearing which ideas people find most interesting.

Until next time,

Josh Duffney


Favorite-thing-of-the-week 🥰: Are You a New Writer on Medium? Start Here

As a new writer, you don’t want to focus on hacks to grow your audience. Instead, focus on becoming a better writer.

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