Open Thread: What Non-tech Tools Do You Use?


Here at WebWorkerDaily, we understandably spend rather a lot of our time talking about technology: The gadgets and software that enable web working. But what about the tools that many of us rely on every day that aren’t “tech”? For example, I still have a landline phone (although I use it increasingly infrequently), I couldn’t do without a notepad and pencils for jotting stuff down and doodling ideas, even though I have excellent note-taking apps on my iPhone and Macbook, and I have an old-fashioned filing cabinet right next to my desk, despite the fact that most of communication is now electronic. I’m curious as to what “old school” tools other web workers rely on. So, what “non-tech” tools do you use?

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Mandar Thosar

There need to be a SOA based software’s available at very cheap cost for such mundane tasks. This should be more than just online office suite but a complete online business suite.


No pens nor notebook, I like to use ball-pen writing the things on my hands. A guy wrore mumbers on his leg was impressed.


When it comes to organizing/project management I live for my magnetic board and post-its, as well as poly file folders in a plastic sorter. I could not survive without my various sizes of post-it notes/flags.

Chris Johnston

A Montblanc pen, moleskin notebook, and a couple of letter size yellow pads. Sometimes writing it down is just faster, it allows free form sketching, and I tend to remember it better then when I type it.

Ralf Lippold

My Moleskine, and a couple of Post-Its. I used to have a DIN A 5 plastic card, which with a drymarker I used as a mini-whiteboard (really cool stuff :-)).

Best from Dresden, Ralf


I’m not sure if it completely qualifies since some tech was involved, but I just posted article on Wide Teams about using old-fashioned printed and framed photographs to build a team’s “passive face time”.


a good pen, basic run of the mill notebook (i run through 1 a month) and a pocket knife, nothing fancy; you’ll never know when it will come in handy.

Dave Robertson

I keep a notebook and pen handy to capture thoughts before I forget them. I also like to use a whiteboard when I can to work through ideas, I find I am more spontaneous using this method rather than using anything else.

Tim Smith

A good pen, I use a Lamy Joy calligraphy fountain pen, it’s a delight to write with and great for taking notes when a laptop isn’t convenient

Simon Mackie

I’m surprised more people haven’t mentioned sticky notes, Amir — I would have thought they would be one of the most popular choices.


I have a plastic three drawer caddy that sits on my desk to keep things I sometimes use out of my every-day way. Things like tape, scissors, spare batteries, extra memory cards, chapstick :)

Enoch Root

There is no such thing as a ‘non-tech tool.’

It’s like asking which air-free atmosphere you breathe.

Well, actually, there might be one non-tech tool: One’s mind.


Black & Red A4 spiral bound hard backed note book loaded with graph paper and some colored pens. Doesn’t get better when I want some time away from my PC and do some random acts of brainstorming.

Stephen Clay McGehee

My favorite non-tech tool is the Shirt Pocket Briefcase from Levenger. Plain old 3×5 cards would be almost as functional in the same way that a twenty-five cent note pad would be almost as functional as a moleskine (which I always keep a supply of on hand). The Shirt Pocket Briefcase lets me sort 3×5 cards and keep them sorted; I can easily write notes while holding it in my hand while standing; my notes are later filed in a card box. It sure doesn’t hurt that it is a very nice looking item in my shirt pocket with a fountain pen. I paid a few dollars more to have my initials embossed in it.

On my disk is a note pad (top spiral bound) that gets used for just about everything when I’m at the desk.


I don’t need a special notebook of any sort, but I do find myself very picky about pens. I always have a good (thoughtfully chosen) pen and paper handy, especially when I need to solve a problem or carefully consider details.

I also have a plastic clipboard with storage on-board for documents and pens. It comes in handy every day for meetings.

Simon Mackie

I’m similar to you, Chris — I don’t mind about the type of paper I use, but I like to have a decent pen. Doesn’t have to be super-expensive, but not a cheap Bic.


I still have a 5″ x 3″ card box for passwords.
I keep burning out laptops, so I’m glad I made the choice to use cards.
I like scribbling notes in an A4 diary too.
Don’t use an online diray at all.
Social media has enough of my life !


Like Stevie has just said, I would be lost without my Moleskine notebook. Ultra fast boot time and a battery that lasts all day whilst weighing next to nothing and fitting in my pocket.

And also like Stevie, my Tumi laptop bag has been around the world far to many times in the last five years and still looks like new

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