Everyone on Slack is having more fun than me.

I really, really wish I were the kind of person who could use productivity tools the right way.

by MATT STOKES | SEPTEMBER 1, 2017

For years I dreamed of owning and running a business for one reason: I wanted to be able to choose the technologies the business would use. “No more of this Microsoft Office bullshit!” I’d say. “No local files! No email, it’ll be nothing but G-chat!” And, most importantly, “No PAPER!”

I could envision no higher plane of existence than one day being able to submit a “This is how I work” piece to Lifehacker. For so long I had worked for companies addicted to meetings, follow-ups to the meetings, follow-ups to the follow-ups, and summaries of said meetings and follow-ups written in Microsoft Word and sent around as email attachments. “What a colossal waste of our talents!” I screamed to anyone who would listen, which was no one. Well, things would be different one day when I was in charge, hear you me!

I have owned and run a business alongside my wife for two years now. And, uh, yeah, it’s not really that different.

One of the first business purchases we made was Evernote for Business. What could be a better central hub for all our productivity needs? You simply create a note (Unless it’s a meeting, in which case you create a Meeting Note) and you tag it with the name of the client, and then tag it again with the specific project, and then also include it in a notebook, and these notebooks can be clients, ongoing projects, brainstorming seshes… pretty much whatever you need. Oh, and there’s a chat feature, so you can chat with your co-workers. (FINALLY!) And the ability to save and search attachments. (WHAT A WORLD!)

But my main problem with Evernote is the problem I’ve had with all Lifehackery productivity apps: I mostly feel nagged by how much I don’t know about them. I know I’m not taking advantage of the billions of amazing features that, if I had the time to learn and master, would truly unlock my creativity and earning potential. But I have no time. What I do have time for is sending email attachments. And also, paper.

It’s a sad state of affairs, friends. I want so badly to be using Slack, or one of its clones. I gaze longingly at Slack’s website; I see the screenshots of existing companies who use Slack, companies staffed by people way cooler and thinner than me, whose men know how to properly care for a beard, who work in immaculately minimalist coffee shops on MacBook Airs withOUT massive cracks on the screen (Well, la dee da!) and actually know what coffee to order. I want to have work chats, where everything I say is droll and smartassy and dismissive enough to show that I don’t take this too seriously, but at the same time says I’m all business, man.

But I know it’s useless. Even as I envision all the possibilities Slack could open up for my company, I know I wouldn’t take advantage. I wouldn’t use it right. And every day I’d feel guilty about it. Every day I’d feel the burn of the nearly seven dollars per user I’m wasting on what’s ultimately a nicer-looking version of Yahoo! Chat circa 1998.

I know my desk will always be covered in cables and crumbs. I know my floor will always have three or four Ethernet cords running across it, and that there will always be a coffee mug on my desk filled with highlighters and red pens in case I need to… grade papers? I’ll never stand up while I work, or participate in a video chat that makes sense, or incorporate the Pomodoro Technique to manage my time. Or call my office a workspace.

And I’ll still use email. God damn it all.