2022 was an amazing year of growth for me. I landed my 2nd CSM role, I was able to complete a couple of reputable certification courses, made my first $$ on the internet, achieved all sorts of fitness goals, and hit many important milestones in my personal life. I wouldn’t have been able to do all of this if it wasn’t for the technologies I use on a daily basis.
This marks the first of my new annual tradition of outlining my tech stack that I use just about on a daily basis. Whether you're a student, a professional, or simply someone looking to boost their online productivity, I highly recommend checking these out.
In no particular order, let’s get right into it.
I’ve already started putting together an entire blog post dedicated to how I use Notion because it touches so many parts of my life, but as a general explanation, it’s my life documentation hub. I have my to-do board, calendar events, work dashboard/to-do board with all my daily notes and projects, notes from courses I’ve taken, book notes, product/project ideas, job application spreadsheet, my website, and so much more. It’s also an extremely powerful collaboration tool for small teams to large businesses. I’ve used it with teams I’ve done contract/consulting work with, and as you will see below, to send the associated invoices.
There are so many people building interesting products on top of Notion because of its public API and they’ll be coming out with a lot of really exciting native features, like Notion AI, so keep your eye on them!
I recently got my Notion Essentials Certification and am working towards becoming a Certified Consultant - so if you or anyone you know needs help setting up your Notion workspaces, let me know!
Oh, and the base product is entirely free! With some minor limitations of course.
I’ve used Slack both in my full-time role and in contract work that I’ve done in the past year. It’s by far my favourite communications tool that I’ve ever used. Some of my favourite functionalities are reminders of certain messages, statuses and notification pausing, auto-transcribing of videos uploaded (a newish feature I think), and huddles. I haven’t really gotten in the weeds of their workflows and what those can do for me - I’m planning on playing around with them this year for some internal projects at work.
I don’t know what it is about Discord, but it feels so overwhelming to use. I mean, I kind of do know, but that could warrant its own blog post entirely. Microsoft Teams is also, well, Microsoft Teams. Anyone who’s ever used that knows how mid it is. 😅
I spent the past 15 minutes trying to remember where I first came across Arc to give credit to whoever exposed me to it, but no luck, sorry stranger.
Arc is a new internet browser built on top of Chromium (the free and open-source code base that the Google Chrome browser is based on). Meaning that if you are currently a Chrome user, you won’t lose any of your extensions 🙂 . The core premise of the browser is that it provides you with many well-designed functionalities that minimize distractions while continuing to provide a lot of functionality. The team there is extremely impressive and they’re continuing to attract industry leading talent in the browser-building space; watch out for them in 2023.
Some of my favourite functionalities are:
- A beautiful way to separate and customize your browser groups, called ‘Spaces’.
- Live previews of favourited links
- Downloads show up in the same place as all the tabs
- Easels - I recently created an Easel to brainstorm on some outfit ideas with my girlfriend for a New Years party. It was so easy to bring content in and the white boarding functionalities were clean & simple. I also loved how easy it was to share it and access it across devices:
- Boooooosts 😍 I honestly haven’t been able to create anything with this yet, but here’s a rundown of what Arc Boosts are capable of (this is just scratching the surface):
These have both been instrumental in minimizing distractions and keeping me focused. No more getting stuck in the black hole of endless scrolling and Youtube recommendation spirals. I go on each platform for a purpose, then get off. If I feel like scrolling through LinkedIn or something, you can very easily disable the news feed eradicator for a short amount of time. I can’t recommend these enough. Now, if only the same existed for my mobile apps 😪
My go-to screenshot tool. I had historically been pretty comfortable with the built-in Mac screenshot capabilities, but CleanShot took those same functionalities to the next level with extremely simple yet beautiful UX. Think Loom + LiceCap + Greenshot + Mac Screenshots. I can’t ever go back.
If you’re a student, you can get a discount by sending them an email at firstname.lastname@example.org with your edu-issued email address.
There is one caveat: it’s only available for Macs.
Super is how I created my website that you are on right now! It allows you to create websites directly from your Notion pages with a lot of simple design capabilities, SEO customization, and custom code snippets.
You can use it for free - you just won’t be able to set a custom domain, use custom code, or set up password protection.
My go-to window resizer. It’s not being maintained anymore, but the app does what I need it to do, so no biggie. I’m sure there is better out there, so when I come across something I’ll probably switch.
Readwise takes my highlights from my Kindle books and exports each one to Notion. Its main use case was originally to take all your highlights from your different e-reading tools and send you daily emails for you to re-read and review your highlights from books so that you remember them. They have also recently built a pretty cool Reader app that lets you bring in many types of content into one place to review and highlight, which I have yet to try.
I’ve probably saved over 10,000 hours in note-taking/transferring my highlights from Kindle to Notion. Here are some of the other export options 👇🏼
GSuite + Cron
I’m a regular user of Gmail + Meet + Sheets + Calendar + Docs (~occasionally). In the last few months of 2022 I came across Cron, which is essentially just a calendar app built on top of Google Calendar. I currently mainly use it for: the desktop app providing some notification capabilities that GCal doesn’t, and the “Share Availability” functionality - which has removed the whole: “I’m available from 12:30pm-4:00pm on Monday, 9am-11:43am on Tuesday, and any time after 4 on Thursday and Friday” from my life.
An automated snippet created via a Cron functionality 👇🏼
Would 30 mins during any of these times (all in EST) work for you?
- Tomorrow Tue Jan 24, 12:15-2:30 PM
- Thu Jan 26, 10:15 AM - 12 PM
- Fri Jan 27, 2:45-4 PM
You can just let me know or confirm here: https://cron.com/shayanmemarzadeh/s6kk4ajo
Well, I like to read books, so my Kindle helps with that. Having a Kindle has helped me with a few things:
- Reduce the amount of physical books I own, which although I love physical books, I currently move too often to want to drag them around with me.
- Allows me to highlight snippets and export them to Notion for my summaries.
- Allows me to read in spaces that do not have much light.
- I can read my Kindle books across several of my devices.
I recommend the Paperwhite.
GoodNotes is my favourite note-taking app for the iPad. I use it regularly to sign documents, take notes on courses and textbooks, and brainstorm ideas for blog posts and random mind-dumps.
I also have Notability, which has a couple features that GoodNotes doesn’t (at the time of writing this), but I’d say that GoodNotes just wins in UX and for my needs.
Introduced to this by my good friend Xavier, it’s an extremely light-weight way to create professional PDF invoices for any contract work I do, directly from within Notion. It’s only a 2 person team, so don’t expect too much from it. It’s a simple tool and will probably remain that way. Which works for me.
The GOAT of design for non-designers. Whether you’re looking to create a resume, a banner background for LinkedIn, a poster for school, or a presentation for work, Canva’s got you. The range of products they’re continuing to build is ridiculous. You can even design and launch an entire website directly within Canva…
I personally use it for my resume, LinkedIn banners, some work presentations, and my book review banners for my blog.
That wraps up my 2022 tech stack review. If you have any recommendations for me to try this year, please reach out and let me know!
Cheers to 2023 🎉