The most effective tool doesn’t have to be expensive. It just has to be reliable, and it has to work for YOU. My favorite pen in the world costs $1.50 (Profile 1.4b Papermate – pictured above). It’s helped inspire countless ideas and to-do lists. Something as mundane and cheap as a pen can drastically change your workflow. It can break an idea mid-sentence if it runs out of ink. Your tools need to work, and anything that blocks that flow is a liability to your creative process.
Spending more doesn’t guarantee a better tool. Some of my favorite plug-ins in the studio are $50 or even free. Buying the most expensive version of something might even create more headaches later down the line.
Don’t fall into the trap of equating price with value. More complications, more maintenance, more issues – these can all come with higher priced items and diminishing returns. So don’t get distracted by having the most expensive tools – focus on the most effective tools.
What makes something effective? Simplicity, ease of use, usefulness, adaptability to YOUR workflow, durability, and reliability. It must be easy to find and integrate into your creative process. It doesn’t matter how good a piece of software is – if it constantly crashes and doesn’t play nice with the rest of your tools, or if your analog hardware is constantly in the shop for repairs. One dysfunctional piece can break the entire chain of your process.
Take a moment to review your workspace and find the weak points. Weed out the clutter and items that get in the way. Replace, sell, store, or donate unused hardware. Archive unused software. Uninstall apps that are collecting dust, and you’ll free up not only hard drive space, but psychic space better applied to your creative work
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