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Ask HN: What are your favourite productivity tools?
22 points by thomaspaulmann 3 days ago | hide | past | favorite | 17 comments
I'm always on the lookout for new apps and was wondering what others use to stay productive?

As a starter, I use CleanShot X [1] to take, annotate and share screenshots every day. HazeOver [2] is a nice app to keep you focused by dimming the background of other apps on your desktop. I drop all my links and references into My Mind [3]. It can be easily searched and removes the burden of organising the content upfront.

Disclaimer: I'm crafting Raycast [4] which is a productivity tool for developers.

[1] https://cleanshot.com

[2] https://hazeover.com

[3] https://mymind.com

[4] https://raycast.com

Vim has been an absolute game changer for me. It's like learning ctrl+c , ctrl+v but x100. I use it in VS code, so I don't have to leave all my other favorite extensions.

FastAPI[2] for fast backend API creation. It has auto-generated, interactive docs which is nice and negates having to use postman to test endpoints. You can auto generate your client code for calling your API as well as client side types based on your API.

TailwindUI[3] for insanely fast front-end development work that looks good.

Render[4] makes it incredibly easy to do automated deployment and hosting with SSL for your web apps. It's an huge productivity boost over using AWS for indie development.

Disclaimer: I make a vim learning tool[1].

[1] https://vim.so

[2] https://fastapi.tiangolo.com/

[3] https://tailwindui.com/

[4] https://render.com

Do you have any general tips for learning vim?

I put some time into it but ultimately abandoned it. I found too often I would accidentally trigger some command or mode and not be able to undo or get back to a known good state.

My general tips are to introduce it gradually into your workflow over time, and to practice with it daily.

The best way to do this is to use vim in whatever editor you currently use.

I use vim inside of VS code. I started by adding the basics, HJKL navigation.

When I would notice that I would do a certain kind of editing often, I’d look up the vim command to do it faster. For example, I noticed I often needed to replace all text within {}. So I looked up how to do that, ci{ and made an effort to use it everytime going forward.

I built https://vim.so with that in mind. It’s a place where you can practice the commands which I’ve found are the most helpful when programming.

While learning Vim, I went through the `vimtutor` many times until I felt really comfortable. After that you can try more advanced stuff (I applied the same pattern with the oni[0] built-in tutorial). Last but not least there are Youtube channels: theprimeagen[1] and Greg Hurell[2] come to my mind. I particularly recommend theprimeagen (he is a Netflix engineer) because he has videos about real-life workflow. And speaking about real life, I was amazed by this video[3] the first time I saw it, it's a very good introduction to macros.

0: https://github.com/onivim/oni

1: https://www.youtube.com/channel/UC8ENHE5xdFSwx71u3fDH5Xw

2: https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCXPHFM88IlFn68OmLwtPmZA/vid...

3: https://youtube.com/watch?v=hraHAZ1-RaM

Great list of tools you have here!


Great call on CleanShot -- I love it and use it multiple times daily.

I just started a trial on Noteplan 3 and so far am a fan -- it's got an aggregated view of tasks I take in random meetings, with link back to those meeting notes, and supports markdown. A delighter is also that it pulls in my Calendar events. This might replace Apple Notes for me.

My favorite productivity tool is unfortunately not reciprocated by my work colleagues, and that's using a reliable pair of headphones and a mic during Zoom calls. I can't believe how many people are just fine with using their Macbook speaker and microphone, which is about on par with a 1980s speakerphone.

I use i3 window manager and have it highly configured. It has made so many things easier for me as I have setup key shortcuts to access my most used apps.

I usually keep my notes in markdown and plaintext and use tools such as grep and cat if I want to find something from my notes.

Furthermore, i force myself to use terminal for almost everything, as this allows me to find the tools I have never used and find ways to do things quickly.

Last but not least I’m still newbie to vim so I’m still learning but for text editing I use sublime and vim

- Toggl for time tracking - https://toggl.com/

- pen and paper for random perishable notes that don't necessarily fit in a calendar, note app or to-do system

Pen and paper is a secret weapon that never goes away. It's just too good to quickly jot something down.

Obsidian [1] for organizing notes of any kind, together with the book How to Take Smart Notes by Sonke Ahrens.

[1] https://obsidian.md/

Boxy for Gmail has made a world of difference for me. Having multiple gmail accounts and being able to easily access all of them in one place has been a huge change for me....

draw.io is the best for mind maps


I'm not a Windows user but that seems very interesting. What scripts have you wired up?

Nothing fancy (there are whole window managers scripted in AHK).

Mostly this: https://www.thomas-huehn.de/2018/08/autohotkey/

CapsLock as Ctrl, AlwaysOnTop and the Unicode character input by code point are nice.

Most used are typographical quotation marks, En dash and ellipsis.

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