You use tools to manipulate data inside a specifc system.
For example, you may have a "project mangement" system. The kind of data you might want to capture might be projects and tasks. Notion might be one of many tools that can help you organize your projects into tasks and have discussions for the purpose of working towards completing projects (you want to complete projects right? 😉).
It is useful to inquire about data & systems.
Types of data
- What kind of data is useful to share with each other? and for what purpose?
- example: going on a x-country Roadtrip
- recommendations of places your friends make of where to stop along the way
- sorting out details as to what friends are open to hosting and when
- plotting an initial path and being open to changes in plan (perhaps you don't have as much energy or emotional space as you anticipated)
- modifying your path in real-time as you go
- updating your hosts/friends (especially of arrival times or cancelations)
- What kinds of data do you need to make said purpose happen and be successful? (this may involve creating measures)
- example: getting a specific location in time for a niece's birthday party!
- What kinds of data needs to be “synced”? at what frequency? in real-time (like Notion)?
- example: you are writing an essay and produce a final draft before moving it into a publishing system. The publishing system has no need to access/sync your rough drafts. What is passed onto the publishing system is the end product.
- your editing system may sync data to a backup system for your own sanity (should you lose your device!)
- Who owns your data?
- example: are your files in some magic system in the cloud being processed to shape new ads for you or are your files really yours with well defined access of your choosing? (see Case for Data Ownership)
more examples: Types of Data (brainstorm)
Types of systems
- what kinds of data do you need to manipulate/track in a specific system? and why?
- from one of our examples: places to visit, friends you are visiting, dates
- what you might discover is a need to track downtime so you have some sense of predictability on your trip (a possible goal)
- which system holds the “source of truth”?
- example: if your editor says your final draft is incomplete. the source of truth is in your editing system which once you make the requested changes, will get passed back into the publishing system. The publishing system is not the source of truth. It’s like a middleman.
So what is a tool?
You pick tools once you are clear about the systems you need (and for what purpose) and the types of data you need to manipulate (to achieve said purpose). It is important to keep the concepts of systems, data, and tools separate otherwise you may find yourself taking a hammer and seeing everything as a nail - while it is not a bad thing, it has a certain result 😉
It is possible you may need to dive into a tool and play around with it to discover a system you did not know you needed or data you realize you were not tracking that might be helpful.
You are welcome to explore my Toolbox for ideas!