Software Tools for Staying Productive

I think a lot about software tools that can be used to help keep work organized and productive. Here are some of my favorites for macOS.

  • OmniFocus for day-to-day task management. In addition to nailing the basics (deadlines, task categories and tags, recurring tasks), it also has a lot of great features that help my workflows (scriptability so that I can automate some processes, systematic review systems, deferring tasks until they become relevant).
  • Obsidian as my personal note-taking app. All the notes are organized into a folder of Markdown files, so it’s easy to edit and open files elsewhere. Notes can be nested in as many folders as desired, notes can be tagged and searched, and notes can be connected with other notes. Plus, vim keybindings make writing notes more efficient.
  • Notion for shared note-taking. I’m not a huge fan of having notes split across two note-taking applications, but Notion has enough features that I think it’s worth it: it handles collaborative notes very well, and the database pages (with different views on data, plus the ability to search and filter) work very well.
  • aText as my text expander. It’s not the only one out there, but it’s very reliable, the price is reasonable, and it’s saved me a lot of typing time when I’m writing similar phrases or sentences.
  • HotKey is a small, free app that lets you associate applications with keystrokes. I’ve tried other apps that do this too, but I’ve found HotKey to be one of the most reliable. Quickly opening or switching to an application with a key press saves me a lot of time clicking on application icons.

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