The Toolbox – Part One

I’ve been reading a lot of ‘how I work’ posts recently, documenting the toolsets the people use.  I thought I’d break mine into a couple of parts, the software I use locally to get productive, and then the online services I use to take care of business.

Lets start with my locally installed software:

  • Microsoft Office – bearing in mind my employer, of course i use Office. It just does what it needs to do with very little fuss. If I was spending my own money, I’d buy Office. At work I use Outlook, Powerpoint and Excel all the time and live between those, and a browser.  For personal work, I use Excel a lot, there is nothing like a list or a plan.
  • PowerBI – becoming a go-to tool for information about my business on a daily basis. I run dashboards and reports there to keep me across multiple KPI’s
  • Onenote – Open all the time, the notetaking app does everything it should do and syncs across multiple devices.  I use it as a permanent library of reference material, all the details about work and personal projects get captured here and the lightning fast search facility helps me recall things. I clip interesting webpages for later reading, and storage and I can make notes on the fly using the docked view of Onenote. Indispensable.
  • Windows Mail and Calendar – yep, personal mail and calendar as well as shared family calendar help me stay in touch and on schedule. I like to keep some separation between work and personal mail, and using two clients helps me retain some sanity.
  • OneDrive / Dropbox – EVERYTHING is in one of these – replicated and backed up, as well as for collaboration.
  • Greenshot – for screenshots, snips, etc – syncs directly to dropbox and gives me lots of flexiblity
  • Adobe Creative Cloud – Mainly use Photoshop and Illustrator for graphics jobs. I am not a designer, and I probably don’t exercise these tools anywhere near enough, but it’s useful to be able to have the right tools for the job to hand.
  • Edge / Chrome / Firefox – Multiple browsers for testing. Chrome is my go-to button, but Edge is fast getting there with really good performance and a clean UI. Now if people would start delivering more extensions it could be a true rival.
  • Lastpass – so many sites, apps and services! So I try and keep a tight ship when it comes to long passwords. Lastpass helps me tame the many passwords and gives me near instant recall. The modern app version is very good and pinned to my taskbar
  • Skype / Skype for Business – keeps me in contact with co-workers, collaborators, friends and family. I use voice and video on both and I love the collaboration tools on Skype for Business
  • Tweetdeck – my window on multiple twitter accounts, often run this on a second PC so I can watch the world.
  • Spotify – all the music, all the time.

Next time I’ll cover off the key services and sites that I use to keep things ticking over.