Productivity tools I use and highly recommend you to try out

Pro-crastination or pro-ductivity? The choice is yours.

Well, at least, you are a pro.
After beating procrastination, you must make sure you are working productively — means you optimize your setup in a way that you are making fewer actions, but receive more output in the end. This article talks on micro-optimization of my workplace which I highly recommend you to try out.

TL;DR

15' Windows laptop, stretchtly, Ditto, f.lux, ShareX, Grammarly, Docker for Windows, Ubuntu for Windows.

I’m not a big fan of Windows, but it’s getting much better for software engineering these days. A huge variety of IDEs, communication tools, a lot of software is available only for Windows and so on. Nevertheless, it’s still not that good as Mac which comes just fine out of the box. And you don’t have to reinstall your operating system every 12 months.

Is a tool which makes you stretch. As simple as that.
In simple words, it’s a tool which locks your screen for a while and tells you to do something — go get a glass of water, refocus your eyes on an object which is far away, go do some push-ups, et cetera.

It is configurable to some extent

So, every 80 minutes it locks my screen and I have to go talk to people, get some refreshing water, do some exercises and so on. Did you ever wonder how our brain figures things out by itself? You just need to have a walk around your workplace and the solution to the problem might appear in your mind right away! I love this.
This app taught me how to switch my focus and why it might be helpful.

Is a clipboard manager on steroids.
Seriously, it’s one of the best tools I’ve ever used in my life. It saved me so much time and even changed how I think about copying data from one place to another.
What it does is just saving in memory everything you copy and then allowing you to perform a search on that.

Just by pressing ctrl+` I can access my 99999 latest ctrl+c’s and do a search on them. Not a stupid search, but a smart one!

Ditto is a real thing.

Then again, I’m not a robot or something to remember all the git commands or all the ports of apps I’m using in k8s cluster.
So, I do this instead:

I’m done!
Full-text search is a thing!

It is very configurable and flexible as well — change the theme, fonts, size, hotkeys, et cetera.

Is responsible for making me not that sensitive to a screen light late evenings.

Simply saying, it’s a tool which is adjusting screen settings based on a time of the day. It reduces aggressive colors and makes your screen look very soft which will take the pressure off your eyes if you are working late evenings.

For me, it was quite hard to get used to it because it was a freaking yellow screen, I can’t work with a yellow screen. But moving further I fell in love with this tool — I was able to work more time without having my eyes hurt in the late night. Btw, there are a lot of whitepapers written on this topic and f.lux even made a list for their users.

Very configurable and everyone will find a set of settings that will fit him perfectly. A tool which made me working productively in the evenings.

Is responsible for making screenshots for this article.

It is a screenshot manager on steroids. It has every feature you ever wanted for a screenshot tool.

Just a list of features I’m using every day:

  • Do a screenshot in one click
  • Have it in my clipboard manager as a picture
  • Have it in my clipboard manager as a shortened link
  • Have all of my screenshots uploaded to the cloud storage
  • Add some text on a screenshot while doing it.
  • Add some arrows, lines, figures on a screenshot while doing it
  • Be able to select a custom area to do a screenshot from — rectangle, ellipse, custom area.
  • Freehand draw in different colors on a screenshot while doing it.
  • Blur some area on a screenshot with configurable blur rate
  • Pixelate some area on a screenshot with configurable pixelation rate
  • Highlight some text.
  • Even insert emoji!
  • Record a gif or a video and upload it somewhere and give you a link right away!
  • and many more…

Also, as every tool in this list, it’s highly configurable and you are able to build a perfect setup that will save you a lot of time further.
Still doing screenshots in Paint? Let it go, old man.

Is responsible for my gramma/grandma/grammar.

English is not my native language and I often do mistakes in simple words like crucial or temporary. Grammarly is a Chrome extension which takes care of me writing correct sentences and not doing dumb mistakes in my language. On a previous screenshot, you are able to see how it works — just gives you a red underscore if something is completely wrong so you can just click and correct it right away. I highly recommend you to use Grammarly if English is not your native language and you care to at least write words in the way you are supposed to.

Image result for grammarly example

Is Docker, but for Windows. Yeap, not only Unix systems support Docker.
You can build, pull, push, run containers right in your Windows machine.
As simple as that.
Let’s give it a go to see the difference between Unix experience and Windows experience with Docker containers.

Get some image, expose some ports, give it a reasonable name. Run it.

It’s there.

I am able to access it from my browser using a port which has UI connected to it.

Everything was done in under a minute.

These stunts are performed by trained professionals, do try this at home.

I’ve bought a Windows laptop to have an Ubuntu running inside my Windows.

Yup, that’s it. You have Ubuntu terminal and can execute Linux commands there, can install packages with apt-get and so on. Personally, I use it all the time to verify my job since sometimes I’m writing bash scripts, cli commands, and so on which run on top of Unix machines. So it’s very useful to have an ability to try them out on my local machine before shipping it to production and deleting all the databases with a missing comma.

What else you can do:

  • Install different Linux distributives right from Microsoft Store.
  • Have full access to Windows filesystem from Ubuntu shell and another way around.
  • Mount drives.
  • Use zsh if you are not satisfied with default bash.
  • Enter the Vim and live there forever since you don’t know how to exit Vim

Ukraine, Lviv. Young & mad. IT, .NET, F#, C#, Azure, software developer. Leading @lvivdotnet. Traveling, seeing things, living life.