What I use

I often get asked about software or products I use at work and in my day-to-day life. While I think systems are more important than tools, and that you don’t need any of these to do great creative and productive work, here is a living list of everything I use. Let’s dive in!

What I use - tools icon

Productivity

  • Google Drive: I do almost all of my work in Google Drive, including writing articles, creating illustrations, building presentations, designing graphs, playing with data, and more. It’s perfect to work solo or with other people.
  • Google Keep: not part of Google Drive, but I use it all the time. While I use spreadsheets for serious tracking, I use Keep to jot down ideas while on the go. I have a list for article ideas, one for product ideas, one for random thoughts, one for books people recommended, etc.
  • Alfred: I would not be able to live without Alfred on my MacBook. The amount of time I save thanks to its quick search functionality and its shortcuts is crazy. I also use it for quick calculations.

Business

  • Gumroad: for ebooks and other forms of content, I use Gumroad to manage payments. It’s designed specifically for creators and it’s super simple to use.
  • Stripe: for more complex forms of payment, such as subscriptions and invoicing clients, I use Stripe. It has great documentation and an easy-to-use but robust API, so you can integrate it with the tools and platforms you already use.
  • ExpressVPN: I work a lot with clients in China and occasionally travel there, which is why I needed a VPN in the first place. But I use it almost weekly to access non-GDPR compliant resources that are fenced to EU users. (and also to watch HBO)

Coding

  • VS Code: I’ve tried many code editors, including Sublime and Atom, and VS Code is simply the best. It was created by Microsoft and is available on macOS, Windows, and Linux.
  • Hyper: a beautiful command-line interface. Super easy to configure and comes with lots of extensions.
  • Postman: probably the best API development environment on the market. I always use it when working with APIs and designing my own APIs.

Design

  • Adobe Creative Cloud: I’m lucky that I get a discount on the Adobe suite as a student, but I would pay for it regardless. Between Photoshop, Illustrator, and Acrobat, there’s simply nothing you can’t designing by using these products. Next: learning how to use Adobe XD.
  • Google Slides: I already mentioned the Google Drive suite, but I actually do a lot of my daily design in Google Slides. It’s super easy to create quick tables and graphs in there, which are perfect to add to my articles.

Video

  • iMovie: not the most powerful video editing tool out there, but it does the job and comes with my MacBook.
  • OBS: I use OBS for video recording and streaming. It’s quite easy to set up, free, and open source software. The only thing is that it’s quite resource-intensive and I often need to close lots of my other software to avoid my laptop overheating.
  • QuickTime: perfect for quick screen recording.
  • EZgif: a free online tool I use to convert videos—often my QuickTime recordings—into lightweight gifs for social media.

Gear

  • Wacom INTUOS 5 Touch L: an old model of the classic tablet, which I use for drawings and illustrations. It’s automatically detected when I open Photoshop. The link redirects to the newer models on Wacom’s website.
  • ATR2100 USB Microphone: gifted by a generous reader, this is what I use to record podcasts and videos.
  • MacBook Air 13″ 2015: my good old laptop, which still does the job! Not currently interested in the newest versions. I love how light it is and how easy it is to bring it everywhere with me.
  • Kent Backpack by STATE: I bought this backpack in 2016, and still use it everyday. It’s crazy how much you can fit in such a small bag and it has lots of pockets everywhere. They have a larger version if you have a bigger laptop.

Anne-Laure Le Cunff

I’m an ex-Googler, entrepreneur, and part-time neuroscience student at King’s College. If you found this article useful, subscribe to my weekly newsletter about productivity, creativity, learning, and designing engaging products.

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