Reaching Productivity

Jun 03 2008

I added a couple applications to my desktop of late, that are overall making me more productive on a day-to-day basis. Here are a couple tips about the applications I use regularly (some of which are Mac OS X specific) that are a real time-saver to me (sorted in random order) :

JDarkRoom : this is the tool I'm currently using to write this article. It turns your computer screen into a black page on which you're left with nothing but your text and what you're writing. No frills, no distractions, no interruptions : a must to get some writing done."> Prism + Goosh : offers a great implementation of a Google shell. I use Prism to access it: it turns goosh into a terminal-like window, with nothing but the shell contents. I've got one word for this : awesome. I'm using it right now to research missing URLs and it's a great time-saver."> Twhirl : the best Twitter client I found so far. Handy to manage a couple accounts XWiki's and mine, make a quick profile lookup and get notifications of new tweets on a regular basis."> Dashboard sticky notes : However surprising it may seem since I've been using Mac OS X for months now, I recently discovered the power of sticky notes to keep track of all the little tasks I need to keep an eye on. Makes for a somewhat cluttered dashboard, yet I find it an effective way to deal with basic stuff."> Quicksilver : even though Leopard's Spotlight is really fast and provides the top result readily to be launched by a strike on the enter key, I still like the wat it pops on in the middle of my screen as well as the ability to define specific keyboard shortcuts to open my applications & folders of choice.">

Spaces : I think that's definitely the one single application I like most from Leopard. Being able to define various spaces and the applications that should be running in each of them saves me loads of time. I almost never minimize applications into my dock any longer. I've got 9 spaces setup, with my business communication applications (e-mail, skype, twitter, browser, Goosh) set in the middle one, Keynote right above, additional browsers on the right, JDarkRoom on the left, my RSS Reader top left... A joy to use on a daily basis.

Email filters : I setup my email reader so that it would send all special stuff (XWiki mailing lists, JIRA issues...) in special folders. Sounds basic - it is :-) Yet I feel it easier to handle my emails since I discovered and started using it.

RSS Feeds for our various wikis : XWiki offers RSS feeds for recent modifications. I'm subscribed to the notifications from our intranet, our Open-Source community website, our public website so I can keep track easily of what's happening within the company & the community. I found Vienna 2 to be a basic yet effective tool for this.

Some of those tips I've been using for a long time, some other I've discovered more recently. Hope some of them will help you get things done faster :-)