Today on the blog, I want to discuss my all-time favorite tools. In the past, I’ve talked about my daily drivers — the tools I use the most at a given time. These past tools have certainly become important to my productivity and overall well-being. However, some of these tools lose their importance over time. Therefore, I want to create an ultimate compendium of tools that I consider the most important and will always be a part of my portfolio. Here they are.
The first tool discussed here is Notion. In fact, I made a blog post not too long ago about how important Notion has become for me, with everything in my life being stored on there to an almost uncomfortable extent. While it is still concerning that, in the event of an account ban or if Notion goes down for any reason, all my stuff gets wiped — it is still a favorite tool. I store my to-do list, documents, notes, and most of my workflow on Notion. I use it for planning content too, such as blog posts and fiction stories. Notion AI has added to its usefulness, making it also my most commonly used AI platform (this blog post was made using the help of Notion AI!). So while I definitely need to diversify my tools for “disaster recovery” sake, this is not a problem with Notion itself.
The next tool I want to discuss is MyMind. This is one that I made an entire review on, so I’ll speak on it only a bit.
Currently, I’m taking a break from using MyMind. The only reason for this is that I’m working on organizing my notes and creating a new, better note-taking system. Once that’s complete, MyMind will have a place in it. However, my current system and the way I was using the app became overwhelming, as I was putting everything in there without any structure. So, I needed to start from scratch. With that said, MyMind is still my favorite bookmarking tool. I love the ability to stuff everything in there and hit a button to randomly get 10 different things from the queue. It could be a task I need to work on, or an affirmation that I need to remember, or just an article I need to read. MyMind is the best tool I’ve seen for this system of bookmarking. I think it will become the new default for bookmarks because in the past, people would set bookmarks and forget about them without having any external stimulus to guide them into revisiting. With MyMind’s random recall elements, it encourages you to revisit those bookmarks, which is really fantastic.
Another essential part of my workflow is Canva, which I use for all my design work. Even basic image editing, which I used to do with Paint.net, is now mostly centralized in Canva. While Canva lacks some freeform tools — stuff I still have to use Paint.net for — the blocky, modular system works well for most use cases. I also use some of Canva’s “fringe features”, such as the content scheduler — if I’m making all my social media posts on there I might as well schedule them on there, too!
Next on the list is Google Drive, my default cloud storage. I currently have around two terabytes of data stored on Google Drive, which I use as a longer-term archive for backups of important files such as long-form writing (i.e. books) and important documents. I also use it for storing videos, games, and images that I access irregularly. Google Drive is a basic cloud storage service similar to all the others, so there’s not much need to explain how it works.
While Canva does have a video editor, I find it weak enough to warrant supplementing with another tool. Kapwing is very similar to Canva in terms of its modular design, as well as a left-side panel “asset marketplace” and its own suite of AI features that work pretty well. It might not be as AI-driven as Runway, but it’s great for if you need to get something quick and dirty done.
Kapwing’s smart cut feature and automatic transcription feature are pretty essential to me and how I work. However, one real issue I have with Kapwing is that the system can completely shut down for larger files. This happened to me when I was editing five and a half-hours of stream footage, and the system crashed after I had already edited about an hour. Unfortunately, all of my progress was lost — the revision history wiped my last few days of progress. To be clear, I believe they are working to fix these issues and are in general constantly improving their product through frequent updates.
Second to last on this list is Calibre, which is an interesting tool. While it is not as well known as other household names on this list, I have talked about it before in previous favorite tools lists. Calibre is, first and foremost, a desktop ePub reader. The reader itself is… fine. But Calibre’s main selling point is not the reader itself, but its library organization features.
Calibre comes with its own book organization suite, and you can store thousands of pieces of content while still retaining great search and performance. I used to have a Calibre library with 10,000 books and research papers, which unfortunately is lost to time. However, Calibre succeeded in having it all organized by author, genre, and other criteria. It automatically imports all metadata and works perfectly for PDFs, Mobis, and ePubs, which I have not seen yet in other apps (looking at you, Readwise Reader).
Visual Studio Code
Last but not least, my preferred programming IDE is Visual Studio Code. I am a hobbyist programmer and not a professional, so I do not use tools like Emacs or Vim. Visual Studio Code is easier for me to use because of its user-friendly interface, which provides auto-suggestions and identifies the type of code I am trying to run, whether it’s Python, HTML, or C++. Before using Visual Studio Code, I used Sublime Text, which is similar in many ways. I prefer straightforward tools without too many advanced features, and Visual Studio Code is perfect for that.
So, that rounds out my all-time favorite tools list. There are seven entries in this list, and they are all my favorite tools that I have used for many years. I don’t see any reason for them to leave my toolbox anytime soon. I hope you enjoyed this list, checked out some of these tools, and I look forward to seeing you in the next blog post!