Productivity tools

2008-04-24  |   |  productivity  

With my regular job(s), the Hibernate Search book and a life going on at the same time, I had to find ways to boost my productivity.

Here is a list of some tools I am using in no particular order:

  • ThinkingRock (ad the GTD methodology): I am reading Getting Things Done by David Allen and ThinkingRock is the best tool I have found to help you follow the methodology. GTD is all about putting all your thoughts somewhere, organize them and decide what will be the next action on each of them. Some sort of superpower todo list, but one you actually use.
  • FreeMind: it's a software implementing the concept of Mind Mapping. It's a fantastic tool to organize your ideas on a given subject. Despite it's clumsy interface, I use it extensively to organize each chapter of the book. I also use it to build presentations.
  • OmniOutliner: a fantastic outliner tool. It somewhat competes with FreeMind but keep things a bit more organized and the interface is very efficient.
  • OmniGraffle: every diagram in the book is done with OmniGraffle. Fantastic tool, very productive and makes very nice diagrams without effort. Microsoft Visio but done well.
  • IntelliJ IDEA: I switched from Eclipse back in the dark days of annotations. I tried to come abck a couple of times, but I am too much of a happy user to jump back.
  • Keynote: Powerpoint without the useful features and annoying glitches.
  • no email: I try to avoid unread emails, when I open my inbox, I process all emails and put some todos if needed in ThinkingRock. If I read an email and keep it unread, I will process it over and over. annoying
  • KeepassX: Some people keep all your passwords in a text file. This is efficient and cross-platform. I keep mine in KeepassX: it's a bit more secure, it has a search box and open the websites for you. There is a Windows version as well (the original version indeed). The file is readable by both versions AFAIR.
  • Mac OS X: a ton of tiny little details
  • Time Machine + Time Capsule: A software + hardware solution to seamlessly backup your data on a Mac. Not so much a productivity tool as no major catastrophe has happened so far but that's the first time I do backup my data consistently. I don't even have to think about it.
  • XMLEditor XMLMind: my part of the book is written in docbook as I find it more productive and easier to focus on the content rather than the style. XMLMind is the best Wysiwyg editor for Docbook (could be better but the best I've found so far). I use the pro version simply because it has on the fly autocorrect feature. It's expensive for a tiny little feature but it is worth the time it saves me.
  • Hg (Mercurial): I am not using this tool yet but I am very curious about Distributed SCM. I wonder if it would help me integrate patches quicker and make the contributor's life easier (it's for another post I guess)
  • No TV: pretty obvious. I check the news on Google News and Le Monde ; I rent DVDs when I feel like it.
  • Google Reader: I don't run after the tech news, they are waiting for me on Google Reader. so when I have some spare time, I go read a couple of entries.
I hope you will find some interesting gems, feel free to share your favorite productivity tool as well. In a future blog entry, I will talk about how I waste the time I hardly gained :)


Name: Emmanuel Bernard
Bio tags: French, Open Source actor, Hibernate, (No)SQL, JCP, JBoss, Snowboard, Economy
Employer: JBoss by Red Hat
Resume: LinkedIn
Team blog: in.relation.to
Personal blog: No relation to
Microblog: Twitter, Google+
Geoloc: Paris, France

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