One of the debates that I find myself often considering is whether to get the “best” item for a task or simply use something that will get by. This is true of apps and hardware but also other things like bags. In fact, bags are a great example.
I have got two bags at the moment. One is a Minaal carry on travel bag, the other a booq daypack. The Minaal is for traveling or when I have a load of stuff to take, and the booq is for going to work. To be honest, the booq was a little small for me as a teacher as I’d often have to take things across to an off-site lesson and If I had handouts, a CD, a register and some other paraphernalia, then I have to leave something behind. Still, most of the time these bags were acceptable.
But the booq is bulky; it would be nice to have an even smaller bag for when I want to take some camera batteries or my iPad with me on a walk. Likewise having a slightly larger, but still smaller than the minaal bag would have been good for work classes off-site. Suddenly I’m looking at five bags of various sizes.
So when I went to Malta I took a pull string bag which I had been given for free. This bag wasn’t ideal for traveling around with but it meant I could take a few things with me and not have to take my giant Minaal bag all the time. It also fits within my Minaal bag when we flew.
I made do with what I had.
Specific apps or all rounders
There are some apps that try to do a million things. I think the classic is Evernote which wants to be your notes for everything. Recipes, PDFs, Read-it-Later articles, research for a project and more. It can be used this way and does have some good value here, but if you contrast Evernote with say Paprika for recipes, you see that Paprika is better at this task. Likewise Pocket or Instapaper can provide a better read-it-later service.
Why all-rounders can be better
It might seems strange to not want to use a specific service if they do a task better but sometimes simplicity and sticking to the apps which you already use is much better. When you grab a new app, you need to start a new habit to use it, sticking with your existing tools that you know how to use means you have a simpler system which is more likely to stick.
Why choose a specific app or an all-rounder?
In some cases, I’ve chosen to go for a particular app that tackles that specific task, but in other cases, I’ve adapted the apps I already have for that job. I don’t see a clear line for when I choose one or the other though I think I generally try and make do with what I already have and then see what problems emerge and if another tool solves these problems.