I love to share what has helped me each year, I hope you find something new and helpful on my list.
I am ALWAYS looking for better tools, extensions, ANYTHING to help me squeeze every minute out of each day. I have a family life that I work very hard to get home to each night, all weekend, and take time off for. Almost 7 years ago when my daughter was born I truly understood that I needed to manage my time better, but even then I still screwed up time management often allowing work to consume most of my time and my family having to “manage”. This was unfair to them and me. I often found my marriage suffering and missing some key milestones for my kids.
Over time I matured to realize that my passion for development and working had to balance (if it could) with my family. There had to be a way I didn’t have to work every evening, every weekend. There had to be a way to truly disconnect. I am still working on this — it is not an easy solution.
In the last 7 years, I have found some productivity boosters that have given me back hours to my workday I didn’t have in my toolbox before. In this post, I am going to go over the tools I have found in 2019 that have helped free time and achieve a “flow state” easier. These tools could have been around before 2019, but I either newly found them or found a better use for them this year.
New tools I found (and actually used) in 2019:
- Habitica (Check it out)
It turned my daily routines into a video game. I wasn’t too sure at first, but I have grown very fond of this tool. I have officially converted from a simple, mundane Trello board to using this tool daily. It’s just so much more fun and interactive. I have found myself getting more work done, earlier. Think Kanban board with style.
- Clockify (Check it out)
As much as I hate to keep track of time, I have made myself get used to it. At the end of the week, I have actual data I can use and retro myself to better time mgmt. Plus it helps when tracking hours for billing. Clockify is free for most basic uses and very intuitive. I normally wouldn’t post time tracking as a tool I would get excited about, but this one has helped me this year.
- The Silver Searcher (Click Here)
This one I recently came across, I haven’t used ack in a while and had a need for my searching through code to be faster while working better. This had an easy install and freed up minutes in each day not having to wait for searching through a large codebase.
- AudioJungle (Epic music for focus — Click Here)
Having a slow day, hard to focus — I use this site all the time to put “epicness” into my tasks. Simply search for anything “epic [whatever]”, and you will get thousands of audio snippets of all lengths, some hours long. They are free to listen to, although there is an audio watermark unless you purchase.
- RainyMood (Click Here)
I get tired of music occasionally, and sometime just need some sound in the background noise. In the past I have used coffee shop apps or white noise. Rainy Mood is a great app that is super high quality rain, thunder, and many more sounds to help with focus, mood, or sleep.
- FocusMate (Click Here)
I wasn’t sure if I was going to put this one here, as I recently found it. It is an interesting concept — and so far I have liked what I have used it for. If you work from home a lot — you should at least give this one a chance. It is a great way to keep focused and a new level of accountability.
I use this one daily. Hands down, one of the best controls for which sites you don’t want access to for a certain period of time. I have gone through some others which always had workarounds — or simply didn’t block well. This is a great tool in
- Cold Turkey (Click Here)
This is another really cool find! So, if you need to take your blocking up a level from SelfControl (which is free), Cold Turkey blocks everything SelfControl does and even blocks apps, the whole internet, and actually your computer. This has been a really amazing app to help build a new level of Discipline.
My newest additions for VSCode extensions of 2019:
Quickly running down some great additions to my extensions list for VSCode — give them a shot.
- Quokka JS — Use daily for faster JS prototyping in VSCode
- Night Owl — My eyes are getting old, and finding a well tuned theme for night time use has really helped!
- Turbo Console — Add meaningful log messaging via a tooltip in VSCode.
- Import Cost — A great way to quickly see what a potential import cost of a package will be. Being inline is helpful and has helped with overall architecture changes to my code bases.
- Path Intellisense — A better way I found to autocomplete filenames within VSCode.
Thank you for taking the time to read through — I sincerely hope you and your family have an amazing New Year.
My name is Daniel Wetteroth. I am currently a DevSecOps Architect with over 15 years of technical and management experience. Feel free to reach out for anything, you can find me at: