Being creative and productive

Reading time: 3 minutes

I tend to be very practical when it comes to the things I use every day. Especially when it comes to being productive, I take great care in finding tools that serve one purpose really (really) well and may lend themselves to other purposes as needed.

That one purpose? I want to be able to do 90% of my work 100% of the time. That means I need to be able to start (and finish) work on any device, at any time of the day, any where in the world I may be.

That other 10%? There are some special tools needed for specific aspects of my work. Video editing is one piece of work that I haven’t ported over to my 90%/100% work structure.

I’ve listed many these hardware tools below.

I gets mine, Larry

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Boy, do I love a good notebook. And the notebook I’ve been using for the last five years is this soft-bound notebook from Moleskine.

  • The size is perfect
  • I can ‘tuck it in my back’ when I’m walking around
  • Soft-bound notebooks just feel better
  • Not a lot of bells and whisltes, yet those features included are impactful
  • Black color, because I’m boring
  • Buy on Amazon

Sometimes it takes a wayward eye to know how good you have it. That’s what I’m expecting after I ordered these two Amazon notebooks. They are everything the Moleskine is not.

  • Less expensive
  • Likely lesser quality
  • Not the Moleskine brand (does that matter?)
  • Kinda hard-bound
  • Still black color, because I’m still boring
  • Buy on Amazon


I first ordered these Pilot G2 pens on April 17, 2016 and outside of one foolish wander into the extra fine aisle (blech!), I’ve used these ever since.

  • Ever drive on a newly paved highway? These.
  • Black. I’m boring, remember?
  • I buy the five-pack and leave four pens in strategic places, with one floater
  • Buy on Amazon


Guess what? I’m an Apple guy. I still remember my first Apple product. A 2006 Macbook Pro. The Apple environment was so foreign to me. I once unsuccessfully tried setting up iTunes for 4 hours. I gave up and took a nap.

Even so, the one thing I realized was that Apple devices were investments (not just expenses). And part of that was realization: I was put on this beautiful, burning earth to create, manage and ship things.

All about that output, baby.

I learned this again after buying the first iPad in 2010. Just get all that other stuff out of the way so I can get to work.

I’m a tablet (iPad Pro 12.9, 2018) monster.

  • I use my iPad Pro more than any other tool
  • With keyboard, pencil: It becomes my research, reading and writing machine
  • With my switch to Ghost, it’ll do even more website-related work
  • I have zero interest in the 2020/2021 iPads (even with the M1)
  • I have zero interest in cellular service (Instapaper! Overcast!)
  • I have the 1TB storage version and it’s overkill
  • I’ve used 20%, mainly for watching documentaries when I’m traveling
  • Buy on Amazon


(The 10%.)

I’m not a minimalist (yet). However, I don’t spend a lot of time at my computer. The stuff I do on my computer? Usually a single project that I have to be super-focused on and that lasts a few hours. (Oh, it’s an M1 Mac Mini.)

  • Relatively inexpensive
  • I really like my monitor, keyboard and trackpad (why learn something new?)
  • Small
  • Powerful (M1!)
  • Base model for me (I’m really good at resource management)
  • Not my first Mac Mini
  • Buy on Amazon


My first ‘real’ camera is the Canon M50 MI. If you’re looking to emulate Van Neistat, this isn’t your camera. Paired with some new lenses, external mic and some other non-kit lenses, this has been a workforce for product shoots, portraits, landscape and other photography and videography.

The small size is the biggest plus.

I also really like the GoPro Hero 8. I use this for a lot of behind the scenes and time-lapse footage, and recently starting using it as a camera for my meetings. (I tried the M50 as a camera for my meetings. Too much work.)

  • Easy to set up
  • Clings to anything
  • Stabilization is very good
  • Not worried about audio when using the GoPro
  • Buy on Amazon


The DJI Spark is awesome, and an easy and fun way to see the world from a completely different perspective. I’m pretty sure DJI has put out smaller drones. Since I don’t shoot in 4K nor do I care about 999k pixel photography, this continues to be a winner.

  • I use this for overhead or moving shots
  • Super smooth
  • Added lens filters for better shots and footage in bright skies
  • Compact
  • Good battery life (get extras, though)
  • Buy on Amazon


Ok. First of all, I’m a huge fan of audio. I’d rather listen to sports then watch ’em. I’d rather listen to podcasts than watch the news. Mike and the Mad Dog. Krukow and Kuiper. The Run-Up. Day X. Gene Burns (KGO). Jon Miller. Hello Internet.

Ok. Ready?

AirPods Pro

  • Magical for doing chores
  • I own(ed) the original AirPods
  • Great for Zoom meetings
  • Buy on Amazon

AirPods Max

  • OMG $500 headphones
  • I got some inexpensive ear pad covers (because I’m clumsy)
  • (Yet, I don’t use a cover for my phone. Go figure.)
  • Old(er) school hip hop (FTW) sounds amazing
  • Spatial audio is amazing
  • Buy on Amazon

‌That’s it! Yeah, I use keyboards, trackpads and other instruments.

However, day in and day out, these are my go-to productivity tools.

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