My Top 6 Productivity Tips for Developers or People Who Spend a Lot of Time on the Computer

Top Hit for 'Dilbert Productivity'

Top Hit for ‘Dilbert Productivity’

Every developer has their own little ‘secret’ cache of productivity tricks. Here are some of mine that I use every single day.

Cinch

Cinch is an awesome free app that allows you to snap your opened windows to the side of the screen. This feature is first introduced in Windows 7 (I believe) as Snap and it’s probably one of  the best UX features that have been introduced by the Windows team. My typical setup is to have my browser on snapped on the left side and my terminal screen on my right.

Clip Menu

There are quite a few clipboard managers around, the one that I use is called Clip Menu. If you’re not using a clipboard manager, you’re seriously under-changing yourself. cmd-1 brings up a history of my recently copied items and pressing the corresponding number allows me to paste the contents.

zsh (not applicable for non-developers)

I discovered zsh and oh-my-zsh recently and boy oh boy, am I loving every minute of it. Essentially, it’s gives you all the power of bash but with autocomplete goodness on steroids. Depending on your development setup, you will need to install the relevant plugins by modifying the .zshrc file which replaces the your bashrc/bash_profile settings.

Cloudapp

Does your work involve you needing to share an image/document/anything? I guess most of you would answer ‘yes’. Cloudapp enables you to do this by dragging and dropping the item you want to share onto it’s icon. It uploads the file and spits out a link which you can share immediately. A nice touch is that you get to see the number of times that file has been accessed.

Hot Key Your Mouse

I use two different mice. At home, I have a Razor Naga which I have configured the side buttons to do the following:

  • next/prev tab in chrome hotkeyed to numbers 1 & 2
  • back/forward in hotkeyed to 4 & 5
  • open/close tabs to 3 & 6

At work, I use a Logitech M705. The two side buttons I’ve set to back/forward. I’ve not had to change the batteries in this baby since I’ve gotten it 2 years ago (roughly). Logitech isn’t joking when it says its the ‘Marathon Mouse’.

Also, as any gamer would tell you, a good mouse pad helps.

Always Be Learning While Travelling

You can only do that many days of people watching and blanking out on your commute to work. Why not learn something new everyday instead? Two of my favourite podcasts that I like to tune in to work are: Radiolab and 99% Invisible.

Bonus Hack: Conversation Starter

One of my favourite questions to ask a newly acquainted friend or someone whom I haven’t met for a while is this: what’s the most interesting/meaningful thing that has happened to you since we last met/this year. It’s an awesome starting point to start a conversation as it gets the person talking about something close to his/her heart.

Do you know any good productivity tips? Do share!

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4 thoughts on “My Top 6 Productivity Tips for Developers or People Who Spend a Lot of Time on the Computer

  1. Hi Nai, awesome blog!

    I’m figuring out the approach to learn to code myself and hope to start right after I finish an unrelated Coursera course. Your blog is both informative and inspiring, glad I found it!

    BTW, speaking of great podcasts, I’m a huge fan of In Our Time (http://www.bbc.co.uk/podcasts/series/iot) and Thinking Allowed (http://www.bbc.co.uk/podcasts/series/ta), both by BBC 4. Actually, their podcast archive is full of gems.

    Also, I’m in Singapore, would love to meet and chat.

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