3 underrated productivity tips which doesn't need any app

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Published: 1 April, 2023

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4 mins(s) read

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Tags: #productivity

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Last couple of years saw a huge rise in productivity apps and people talking about it. If the marketing is to be believed, it feels like we always need an app for productivity. Which is why you usually see people talk about productivity by using a fancy new app. But here are my 3 picks for producitity that you can try out NOW without the need for any apps. I consider these as the foundations of my productivity journey.

Writing notes physically

Writing notes helps you remember things better. It is a drawing board for your thoughts. And has been discussed in length and there are many studies discussing the same. But note taking apps have been extremely helpful, convenient and freaking awesome these days. So why should I use physical notes?

The problem is when you try to go all in on physical notes. Or digital notes for that matter. Personally my experience has been that a hybrid method is what works better. Long term notes are digital and thinking through or the task at hand are written physically. This means you end up with journal kind of which you can go through. The end result is unnecessary details about the task can stay in your note while the learning points and important points end up in your digital notes safely stored for long term consumption.

Keyboard shortcuts

This is extremely underrated. Keyboard shortcuts are what terminal/command line apps are to GUI apps. The workflow with mouse being GUI. You can do things faster and better. Workflow based on mouse is eventually a fast track to RSI. Irrespective of whether it is NOW or later. This is where keyboard shortcuts come in. It makes you use a software fast and efficiently. Learning to use Vim is a good exercise for people since many applications support Vim key-bindings. If you are not a developer, just use keyboard shortcuts and read up on vim key-bindings. The idea of vim key-bindings is to reduce the travel between keys and doing things faster. Why we love VIM episode of Changelog podcast is a good example discussing this and more about Vim.

Keyboard shortcuts are everywhere. Use them in your browser. Move your tab back and forth, switch between your tabs, go to current and previous app. Open up a tab or a window etc. Or use them in your operating system. Switch between your workspace. Setup up keyboard shortcut and open an application on demand without having to click-click-click-click. All you have to do is search keyboard shortcuts for <your software>. This will change your life.

Fullscreen modes

This is the most underrated productivity tip. Fullscreen mode is like disabling notifications for your mobile applications. You will not believe how great it is until you try it out. It just frees up so much real-estate in your screen and brain. Everytime I switch to fullscreen mode in my browser, I get this beautiful sensation in my head. It is like something is getting freed up in my head. It helps you focus and is such a boost. Most apps have a fullscreen mode. For the ones that doesn’t, they still have a minimal version which kills most noise in screensize. The browsers support it with F11 key.

Image of Firefox on fullscreen

Firefox on fullscreen

Image of Firefox without fullscreen

Firefox without fullscreen

This is on top of my setup being a Tiling window manager one. As you can see from the above screenshot, my window’s title bar is almost non-existent and menu bar is already minimal. And still, this makes a huge difference. Now imagine what it will do to your setup if you are using macos, windows or other desktop environments with a big title bar and menu bar. They already cover a huge chunk of real-estate. It should make more difference.

The above productivity tips are so obvious that people who knows don’t even talk about it. This means, newbies to productivity might not take it as seriously as they should. Hopefully this will help you understand the significance.

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