If you are like me the search to find the perfect tool or app is never ending. Deep down I know it doesn’t exist, yet I look, convincing myself that If i can just find that perfect tool I will be more productive and save a lot of time. I am also aware that hunting for better tools is a distraction technique, but still I search. I often use a quote attributed to Abraham Lincoln to justify my actions…

If I had four hours to chop down a tree, I’d spend the first two hours sharpening the axe

Actually it turns out be probably didn’t say that, but the sentiment holds true. The truth is, on our quest to find the perfect tool, we mostly likely waste time, reduce productivity, and are less happy with the results of our efforts. It’s important to remember a tool is there to help, it cannot do the job for you, and it’s effectiveness is often dependent on the skill of the person using it. Just like a great knife will not make you a great chef, a tool isn’t a substitute for skill.

I was recently reading the bio section on Derek Sivers and was interested to see his description of the tools he uses, and more importantly his perspective on the perfect tool.

All of my current creative and learning goals can be achieved with these existing tools, so I avoid that time-sinking habit of looking for new ones - Derek Sivers

This seems like a sensible approach to tool selection and productivity, which could help us escape the endless and fruitless pursuit of better. My advice is to clearly define what you need a tool to do. If it is successful against those requirements, stick with it. By being specific about what you need to accomplish with the tool, you are focusing on having a tool that works, which is more important than having the best.