My father, in his younger years, was an interstate trucker. As was common in those days, he owned his own truck, instead of leasing one or driving one that belongs to a company. His truck, the trailer, the tarps and ropes and chains, were all the tools of his trade.
During the week he was always away, somewhere on the Pacific Highway, a roughy 1000 km stretch of coastal highway between Brisbane and Sydney. On the weekends at home, he would care for his tools.
He would start by washing the week’s worth of road grime, dirt and bugs from the truck. He would carefully unroll his tens of meters of tarps and inspect them for holes and scuffs. He would untangle the chains and oil the ratchets, fill the water tanks, check the tyres…
The point is, he loved his tools. His tools were a part of who he was, and he knew he would only be as effective as his tools were.
I don’t have a truck, and I don’t work with chains or ropes or tarps. The physical tools of my trade are my computing devices and my software. But I still love my tools as my father loved his.
You mean you love your MacBook? You really love Illustrator? Keynote? Outlook?
Yeah, I do.
(Ok, so I don’t love Outlook. It’s hard to love Outlook. But you get the point…)
To be truly productive, I think you must love your tools. You spend your whole life with them in your hands. They shape your words, they communicate your ideas, they turn your dreams into reality. How could you not love that?
How horrible it must be to spend your whole day working with tools you dislike, or even tools you hate. How can that be anything but negative for your productivity? For mental health? Your well-being?
There is nothing worse than poor quality tools. But, like spanners or wrenches or cordless drills, the tools of the information profession have a variety of quality levels, and as the saying goes, you really do get what you pay for.
A professional mechanic isn’t using the 30€ set of wrenches from the supermarket.
Invest in the tools of your profession. Buy the right tool for the right job, and pay for the right level of quality.
And love your tools.
Special note for employers: your employees will only be as productive as the tools you give them. Sure, the 500€ Dell PC might seem like a bargain now. But the question is: what price do you put on the productivity of your staff?