Every day, I find out about some new application or tool that’s going to “save me” in some way. Some of these tools are truly helpful, others are added to the pile of things I should look into, others I start to play with, but rapidly become overwhelmed with the learning curve. These new gizmos and programs are probably great, but the adoption time to put them into my workflow is too great, and I drop them long before I learn to really use and adapt them into my functional everyday toolbox.

At conferences, I check out the stickers on people’s laptops- it’s like looking at a NASCAR vehicle, visual clues about what tools the smartest people I know and respect might be using this week. Yet what I really need is some sort of database that not only tells me what tools are available, but cross compares features, and even gives a pro/con list to help me figure out what’s worth my time and what’s not. I know I’m missing key things in my toolbox. But the learning curve on what will work best for me is still kind of steep.

I’m thinking it might be fun to have a New Media Oracle- like the Oracle at Delphi who could see into the future and predict what you might need or what you should do. Someplace where you could put in some information about yourself, and what you wanted to do, and the Oracle would spit out the latest and greatest tools, sorted by cost/convenience/reviews and point me in the right direction. A Consumer Reports of New Media. SEO optimization makes Google pick the most popular stuff, not necessarily the best, for example, so this won’t work alone for what I’m thinking about.

My time is my most precious resource, and there’s only so much information I can assimilate at one time. I have decent tech skills, but hey, I spent years studying biology and law. That makes me great at understanding things like motivations and outcomes, neurological basis of behavior, but this doesn’t help me read XML like a native or really understand PHP or MySQL.

What kind of resources do you use to find out what other things are out there? Is it magazines or websites like Lifehacker? How do you find what will help you, and how long do you stick with it before reverting to your old ways?

How much of your work flow do you outsource?  How do you manage your time?

Inquiring Minds want to know!