Tools for Investing in Yourself

This essay is inspired by Startup Edition to answer the question, ‘what tools do you use at your startup?

Google Apps, Pivotal Tracker, GitHub, Omnigraffle, PagerDuty, Pentaho, and Desk. These are a few tools we use at PlayHaven. But that’s not what I want to talk about. Instead, I’d like to share some of the tools I use to invest in myself.

The Startup of You

I believe that investment in yourself should be a top priority. One of my biggest fears is stagnation but thankfully the solution is simple through conscious effort and self-learning. After all, we have limited time on this earth. Use it well.

Here are some tools I use to learn and grow.

Reading, Listening, Learning

It’s important to get outside your own head. I read several blogs and articles to learn from other’s experience and knowledge. It only takes one essay to open your perspective, provide new insight, or teach you something about yourself.

I use Twitter and Quibb to discover great content and do most of my reading inside Pocket during my commute or between sets at the gym.

When I’m on the go, I listen to startup-related podcast (This Week in Startups, Mixergy, and Product People TV to name a few) on Stitcher. Umano, a curated feed of articles read by professional voiceover talent, is also a great supplement and has become a part of my daily routine.

Writing, Connecting

Reading and listening to other’s thoughts leads to new ideas and inspiration of my own. Blogging serves as a vehicle to refine my thoughts and connect with likeminded people.

There are several great tools for writing. I used to (foolishly) compose my posts in Tumblr. Of course it works but it’s far from ideal (especially when a bug deletes an entire essay). Now I use Draft to write and share unfinished essays with my peers.

But before publishing my draft, I will often seek feedback from writers I respect. Their input helps me improve my writing and incorporate other’s perspective on the topic. The best tool I’ve found for this is Dispatch, a lightweight platform for organizing groups of people. We also use this to gather and collaborate with Startup Edition contributors.

Once I’ve published my essay, I use Buffer to schedule and share my post across multiple social networks - it’s dead simple and saves me time.

But tools only get you so far. Personal growth requires motivation and persistence. Without these qualities, tools will get you nowhere.

Read more responses to the question, ‘what tools do you use at your startup?’ from other founders, hackers, and designers at Startup Edition.

P.S. Say ‘hi’ on Twitter (@rrhoover).

Photo credit: johnarobb


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