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Weird things I do to be productive

I organize a monthly meeting at work called “Teach me Something” where my coworkers get together to listen to someone talk about their talent, skill, or something they’re currently learning. Typically this is just one of us volunteering for that month’s meeting.

This month, I didn’t have a volunteer, so I asked everyone to show up with their home-brewed productivity tricks. Here are mine.

I use an app to delete everything on my desktop every day.

I use an app called Hazel to automatically pick up everything added more than 24 hours ago on my desktop and stick it in the trash.

I hate having a cluttered desktop and within a given 24 hour window, there are usually critical files I need to swap between one app and another, or a screenshot I just took that needs to be sent off to someone else.

It sounds crazy, but I’ve been doing it for years and love it. If I ever put something on the desktop I didn’t want deleted, I just go into the trash and restore it.

If I want to keep a file longer than 24 hours, I just don’t put it on the desktop.

I try to do everything I can in my calendar

I’m writing another post that goes more in depth on this topic, but one of the most important things I’ve learned about staying productive is that things are more likely to get done if they have a time and a place.

Whenever I have the urge to take a note of something, I ask myself, can I not put this in as a calendar invite instead? Even if I don’t know when I’ll get to it, I can still pick a date and time that I can adjust later.

Some apps I use


This application is a great mail application for nerds. I won’t go into tons of details but the main things I use

  1. Keyboard shortcuts

    It has a shortcut for everything

  2. Vim mode

    Press ctrl+O to open your message in MacVim. Save with :wq to get back to the normal editor.

  3. Markdown

    Instead of introducing their own WYSIWYG editor, they removed it completely and let you write your emails in Markdown.

Better Snap Tool

This is a simple app that lets you assign keyboard shortcuts to window arrangements.

80% of the shortcuts I use are opt + command + left and opt + command + right to dock my window to the left or right of the screen.

But there is so much more I haven’t used.


Dash was originally debuted as a cool way to search developer documentation across many different technologies.

It’s still great at that, but I’ve always preferred just doing an internet search. Instead, I love its snippets feature.

Instead of putting bookmarks in my browser, I link certain key combinations to frequently visited URLs.

This is great for ticketing systems where URLs follow a certain formula. If in JIRA someone tells me to look at ticket 593, I can just type a keystroke to type


And type in 593 at the end.