Michele Mantovan

Best Productivity Tools

When I’m creating something, whether it is code or something else, I like to focus on what I’m doing and find the right tools that allow me to do that fluently, it is not a easy task.
I’m constantly searching the right tools that give me the sensation to forget about it and focus on the important matters. And if I have some repetitive tasks to do, I’m always searching ways to automate them or make them more quickly. I would like to list some of my favourite tools and hacks I use everyday for boosting my productivity.

Work-organizers

The work-organizers are useful to organize and schedule tasks, projects, things to do and whatnot. I mainly use Trello for handling all my personal projects. They’re great also because they both work well for teams, not only for single users and they are cross-platform and also web-based. If you like a more minimalistic tool take a look at WorkFlowy, it’s just a black sheet of paper where you can create simple bullet point lists.

Communication

If you have a team or a community you don’t physically hang out with, Slack or Discoord are the best tools I can recommend for that. Fun fact n° 1: Slack was created by a game company for internal use and then became a product later on. Fun fact n°2: Discoord is mainly used by gamers for voice chat but it is also very powerful for text chat and other uses.

For Mac Users

SizeUp

SizeUp is a “must have” for Mac users, basically is a window manager to position, scale, resize and move the windows between spaces and monitors just with some simple keyboard shortcuts. If you find yourself using the mouse too often to resize and move the windows and you want to use the keyboard, definitely check SizeUp out.

Jumpcut

If you use the keyboard to copy and paste a lot of time (especially text or code) and want to have multiple snippet to paste instead of just the last one, Jumpcut does exactly that. With simple keyboard shortcut you can easily go through the “copy history” and choose what to paste.

System Hacks

System side, Apple machines, over the years became more more mid-user oriented products, and that’s ok. But if you are a more technical user or you have to work professionally on a Mac you have to tweak more and more parameters to make it really work more fluently.

Quick keyboard

The best way write quickly is to have a responsive keyboard. I found that with default settings, the keyboard is not so responsive. So in order to make more quick simply go to Settings and then “Keyboard” and crank up the sliders.

Quick Dock

The dock is one of the most annoying thing I have to deal with on Apple OS. I mean, by default it is always present and actually stealing space the active window. So in the first place I advise you to hide it out.

But since it’s hidden, the time to activate it by default is, in my opinion, too much. To speed up the activation you have to open the Terminal and enter some commands.

For a quick animation of the dock:

defaults write com.apple.dock autohide-time-modifier -float 0.1; killall Dock

For a short activation time of the dock

defaults write com.apple.Dock autohide-delay -float 0; killall Dock

Back to default:

defaults delete com.apple.dock autohide-time-modifier;killall Dock
defaults delete com.apple.Dock autohide-delay; killall Dock

For Window users

Since the window manager on Windows is pretty good as it is, the only thing I’m going to mention here is Greenshot, that is a tool for screenshots that let you take simple or selective screenshots and let you save the screenshot in the clipboard (and then paste it somewhere) or as a file. It is very customizable in terms of keyboard shortcuts and users coming from Apple systems can set the same shortcut they are used to.

 

There are tons of other tools that could be mentioned but I wanted to talk about only of the more practical ones I use daily. If you want more insights on productivity you can checkout the Allan Mckay podcast that I started listening in the past few weeks, precisely the 31th episode, in which he talks about a lot of productivity tools and ways to get more productive.

Links

https://trello.com/
https://workflowy.com/
https://slack.com/
https://discordapp.com/
http://www.irradiatedsoftware.com/sizeup/
http://jumpcut.sourceforge.net/
getgreenshot.org/
www.allanmckay.com/31