Productivity for Devs

Tiffany White,

While perusing The Practical Dev (opens in a new tab) for new posts, I came across a post that intrigued me: Instant +100% command line productivity boost (opens in a new tab). Productivity for devs is something I’ve been meaning to write about. Now I have the impetus to do so.

I thought installing oh-my-szh and using aliases made me a badass. Unfortunately for me, that wasn’t the case.

This post is going to talk about productivity for developers, much like on the show on the topic (opens in a new tab).

Getting Sh*t Done

I find, first and foremost, that a great task manager is essential to remembering what you need to do. I use OmniFocus (opens in a new tab) for my main task manager, on all my devices 1. OmniFocus may seem rigid in its attempt at GTD but it is pretty flexible: use what you want.

Trello for Project Management

I use Trello to manage my projects and it does a fantastic job at that. Needing a high level and visual overview of what I need to get done, I reach for the Trello Mac app every time.

Dev Tools

For my shell I use iTerm 2 (opens in a new tab) which is in its 3rd iteration 2 and zsh shell.

Wes Bos (opens in a new tab) has a great theme (opens in a new tab) for all the things, a fork of the Sublime Text Cobalt2 theme and it is what I am using on iTerm as well as Visual Studio Code (opens in a new tab) 3 which is faster than Atom though it lacks multiple projects in one window.

iTerm has the ability to have separate profiles for whatever you want. For instance, I have a Check Yo Self profile that I can switch to whenever I want to work on that particular app.

Command Line Tools

Zsh Syntax Highlighting

Knowing if you have a typo in an alias or command is crucial to not screwing everything up. One of the ways to tell what you're typing is by using zsh-syntax-highlighting (opens in a new tab). You can customize the color of the highlights by looking at the highlighter docs (opens in a new tab).

Z - Jump Around

z (opens in a new tab) is a utility that allows you to jump to different directories by typing z and then the directory. You’ll have to cd around in directories for a bit to “train” it but once you do, it’s pretty easy to skip around in directories. It is a “frecent” tool: frequent and recent directories.

Exa: ls replacement

Another cool command line utility is exa (opens in a new tab), which replaces ls with some nifty features like syntax highlighting and a ton of other commands. Just type exa and it will list the contents of your directory. You can get directory permissions, print each item on one line with the -1 flag, and much more.

Miscellaneous Tools


I use Alfred app (opens in a new tab) for navigating pretty much everything. The workflows make it, where I can create gists out of files, search Stack Overflow, add Trello cards to different boards, and make OmniFocus tasks out of Chrome tabs, and much more.

I also use Wes Bos’s Cobalt2 Alfred theme (opens in a new tab) for this.

Go Fucking Work

Go Fucking Work (opens in a new tab) is a Chrome extension (opens in a new tab). It’s similar to Stay Focused but a lot harsher…as the name suggests.

I swear like a sailor when I am around people I know and so I appreciate this extension for what it is and its customizability. There are alternatives of course, if sweary things aren’t your jam.


  1. Currently Omnigroup only makes Apple apps (opens in a new tab) and don’t have a web interface for OmniFocus. A web interface may be coming soon. On Android, there is an app that interfaces with OmniFocus using the Omnigroup’s API called Focus GTD (opens in a new tab).

  2. Shouldn’t it be called iTerm 3?

  3. This is the new hotness. I tried it when it first came out and used it exclusively but went back to Atom because of the plugins. Everyone seems to be talking about it now so I gave it another shot.

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