Productivity and Applications

Table of Contents

1. Why Even Bother?

I'm really picky about the applications I use, mainly to make sure I'm maximizing my productivity.

Vim was the first example I had of how much productivity matters (at least to a programmer). A common action such as 'append text to the current line' is extremely common and saving 5 seconds or so on it adds up to a lot of saved time in the long run.

2. Core

In general, I look for 3 things in any application before I begin relying on it.

Is the program:

  1. Stable
  2. Customizable
  3. Lightweight

I'll talk about a few instances where I switched applications to give you a better idea of what I'm talking about.

2.1. Stability

Stability is important for obvious reasons. If a program crashes, freezes, or stops working, you loose productivity in the worst way possible, leaving you unable to work at all. Using older versions of software can help with this as well, but occasionally there is software that is completely unusable due to it's instability, which I can never use.

An example of this is apvlv, which I couldn't get running without segfaults (even on multiple environments). Even older versions seemed to have the same issue for me. Despite fitting well into my workflow otherwise, I'm unable to use apvlv due to stability.

2.2. Customizability

Software that is customizable helps with productivity because it makes it easy to change the program to do exactly what you need with the least amount of effort on your end. Customizable software also lends itself extremely well to automation, which improves productivity immensely.

I used to use GNOME as my primary desktop environment/window manager, until GNOME 3 was released. GNOME 3 is nice in terms of ease of use and it is very well polished, but it lacks customizability. It's very hard to get the exact behavior you want on GNOME 3, and that's why I ditched it for KDE at the time.

2.3. Being Lightweight

Minimalist applications lend to productivity, simply because they are doing less. Especially when on limited hardware, lightweight applications end up being much faster to use. Minimalist software also has the added benefit that you can reasonably understand the entire program quickly, and modify it to suit your needs, which adds immense customizability.

For me, I ended up ditching Eclipse because it was much too heavy. It has a immense amount of features, which is nice, but Eclipse on my computer was unbearably slow when compared to a simple text editor. While the features of an IDE are very appealing, I can probably never go back to using one due to this point.

3. Wrapping Up

Hopefully this post can help you become more productive. I find that even small changes to workflow can improve productivity immensely, and reviewing the applications you use every day can help you have more free time in the future!

4. Navigation

Author: Jay Kamat

Published: 2017-01-22

Emacs 28.2 (Org mode 9.5.5)