Tools4tools - Episode 0

Thomas Verhoef

How we strive to make our daily software work for us and not the other way around

It is not always easy to grasp the extent of what we can change with a few clicks. Nowadays, this holds more true than ever, especially when it comes to automated processes. Automation tools increasingly help phase out the most tedious, boring, drop-dead annoying tasks at hand.

Having just read a book about habits, the Power of Habit, and finding out how around 40% of our doings is just under the hood, do-not-think-about-it-anymore, sort of automated actions, I could also apply these insights to professional contexts. Even better: we are giving these actions less or no thought in IT settings. We click away, drag and drop, set up, email, reply, delete, sort out, rearrange, mention, remind, and whatnot. In essence, these are all computerfunctions, but sadly also human actions, which we apply in all computer software.

According to the Urban Dictionary, a 'tool' is someone who lacks the mental capacity to know he or she is being used.

Not a very positive definition; however, it is not entirely negative. Like many powerful inventions, a computer is a tool, a means to our ends. However, sometimes, it would be lovely not to insert too many means - like time and effort - because often, such actions are borderline meaningless.

Software circles and guidelines

More than half a year ago, we set sail to discover how to manage our software stack differently at Raccoons. By doing this, we found even more benefits when using the indispensable tools that drive our digital (and now also mostly remote) work.

After slogging and plowing through lots of different approaches, we came up with five pillars that we think should guide us in our decisions when creating the ideal software stack in the future:

  • 80/20 rule 80% of the work should be done with only 20% of the tools
  • Circular Core tools need to be linked and depended on each other to streamline processes
  • Automate Within Use automation options within the software, when given, when beneficial
  • Automate Across Use automation options across software, when given, when beneficial
  • Pluggable Remain open by always leaving room for the usage of new tools

I don't think those five guidelines need much explanation. The actual test, of course, will be when we start working further on this framework and challenge ourselves to make our chosen software stack work for us and not the other way around.

We want to invite you to this new series, 'Tools 4 tools', where we will frequently update you on certain decisions that we think make our work easier. Essentially, you can expect:

  • Simple tips & tricks
  • Smart automations within certain software that actually helps daily flows
  • Smart automations across selected software tools
  • Interesting new software that can help you be more efficient across the line
  • Significant updates on great software, which we’ll highlight
  • ...

See you soon in our next update! By the way - we are always happy to see how we can streamline your software stack, so if you have any questions, just reach out to us.

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