My latest at ProfHacker: Tools That Stay Out of the Way

A drawing showing an assortment of hand tools

Picking the right tools for our work is important. I’ve written about some of my favorite tools in this space before, including in this post from — gulp! — five years ago. (I’m still using Dropbox and Google Documents; I’ve abandoned the Rollabind for my iPad and I don’t use the whiteboard much anymore.)

Others have written about the importance of making prudent choices about the tools we use and about lessons learned from being an indiscriminate tool adopter.

As we choose our tools, it’s good to ask how they help us move forward. There’s another good question to ask, I think: Are any of my tools getting in the way of things I value? If so, are there other tools that will do the same job effectively without getting in the way?

Not long ago, I found that the email application on my phone was very much getting in my way. The problem? Some may recall that a few years back I was one of several co-authors for “A Day of Rest.” Though I haven’t been able to keep up with all of the resolutions noted there, there’s one that I’ve remained pretty strict about: no work-related email on Sundays.

The difficulty was that ditching my phone for the day wasn’t a realistic option for me. It’s my primary phone, and I wanted personal emails to keep coming through, since Sunday’s a good day for me to connect with people. But my phone’s native email client wouldn’t let me set per-account quiet hours; I could silence notifications at a particular time, but it was all or nothing. I did some research, and finally found an email client (Type Mail, for the curious) that can handle all the account types I have (including Exchange), and that allows me to set quiet hours on a per-account basis. I can leave my phone on, get the emails that are appropriate for the day, and not be distracted by the communications from work.

Have you found any of your tools getting in the way? Have you found others that work better for you? Let us know in the comments.

Creative Commons licensed photo by Flickr user THOR

from ProfHacker » Amy CavenderProfHacker – Blogs – The Chronicle of Higher Education

One Response to “My latest at ProfHacker: Tools That Stay Out of the Way

  • Thanks for interesting post. you are right, since i discovered Type Mail i abandoned all the other mail apps that i used. Love how flexible and customizable this app is .

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