"What's in your wallet?"
That's the tagline from a major credit card company that raises an interesting question in the productivity space. If we expand our thinking beyond the limitations of our physical pocket we can start addressing the bigger question:
"What's in your productivity wallet?"
The concept of every day carry (EDC) has been around for years, developing an almost cult like following in some corners of the interwebs. Posts on Pinterest, blog articles, Instagram feeds all showing the things in our pockets we won't leave home without.
Unfortunately the one thing these feeds miss out on is the why. Why are you carrying what you're carrying? What's the benefit of the commitment to the item? The same question applies to the items in your "productivity pockets".
Every tool you use should have a clear and direct benefit to your productivity if you consider it an "every day carry" tool. Things such as task lists, note trackers, and calendars all have specific benefits.
Make sure you know exactly what the benefit of a tool is and the ramifications of not having that tool immediately available are.
Redundant functionality is another consideration of your "productivity every day carry" thinking. For example, I use a task tracker (Todoist) multiple times a day, but I also carry a small paper notebook and pen with me all the time.
People have commented, "Why bother with the notebook and pen if you have your phone with you?" Yes, the functionality is redundant and that's the exact reason why. In cases where I need to capture or reference something while using my phone for something else at the same time, the paper notebook and pen are invaluable.
When was the last time you tried to provide information to someone from your phone while on the phone at the same time? It's not as easy as people make it out to be. However, taking 5 seconds to write down that confirmation code into a notebook and then enter it into a note management tool when the call is done makes all the difference in the world.
To refine your productivity everyday carry start with making a list of every tool you use during the course of a day. Repeat that process every day for a week. Now go through your list and sort the tools by frequency of use. This process will help you identify the tools that are critical to you vs. the ones you just need to have accessible on demand.
Being aware of the tools you need and how to make those tools a trusted part of your productivity system will make you more prepared, more confident, and ultimately more successful. Spend a little time to reap a much bigger reward from your productivity EDC.