“Mind your own business! My tools work just fine” is the expression, not exactly a reply, I get when I’m trying too hard while recommending apps to people. Hard-selling is hard, but I can’t get hold of myself from pointing out how they can save more time by doing less.

I know how it feels to have a right tool for a task. I want others to feel the same. I’ve switched from HTML to Markdown — that was the best decision made ever. I’ve switched from rich text to plain text. I’ve switched from Flash to Flashless. I’ve stopped using iPhoto. I’ve also trashed away many apps without slight hesitation.

To abandon a tool — languages, apps, and services — that you’ve used for many years is difficult. It’s not only about how much money is spent, but also how many hours are used to master the tool. This is the main one reason why most people still use Microsoft Words to accomplish tasks that can be done easier and faster in Pages, or perhaps TextEdit.

Change is inevitable. Sooner or later, you’ll need to make switch — tools are not yours anyway. What you’re using right now, without given a choice1, might be switched off suddenly. You shouldn’t be surprised either since sailing on a ship for free, the captain decides which room shall be leveled. Just make sure you can swim.

You might don’t need a right tool, but you certainly need to know how to find the right tool. Otherwise, the moment your existing tools stop working, you’ll find yourself staring at all the available options, paralyzed by overwhelming features offered.

The problem is you don’t know what you need. But how comes some people can make decision easily?

Let’s talk about early adopters. One of the reason why early adopters have no problem switching from one tool to another is their ability to identify their needs easily. The knowledge they’ve accumulated from trying out each new tool has matured to the point they can figure out a tool just by reading description.

As for you, finding the right tool doesn’t necessarily mean trying many tools at once. It can start with a simple note. First, list what do you want to achieve from the tool. It can be something like: batch image processing, distraction free writing, or lightweight music player. Now you can try to find several candidates that might suit your needs. Find out what they offer and write the noteworthy features you’ve discovered. You can later use it as a comparison for other candidates.

Be prepared to let go, because, once you’ve explored other alternatives, you’ll realize how painful it is to work with your existing tools. While you’re trying out new tools, I’ll be here providing you with many beautiful tools to get your tasks done, except, I won’t see your expression.

  1. Google doesn’t care what you like.