DEV Community


What's your personal productivity software stack?

ben profile image Ben Halpern ・1 min read

Software you have installed on your machines to get stuff done.


Editor guide
emma profile image
Emma Goto 🍙

The number one most important software for me is Cold Turkey, which is a website/application blocker to stop me from mindlessly browsing the internet all day. I only wish there was a mobile version!

For programming I use VSCode and Firefox, for to-do lists and reminders I use TickTick and for all my bigger thoughts I put them into Trello (I love Trello!)

I've also just recently picked up Dropbox Paper for writing blog post drafts. I've tried Notion in the past but I wasn't too big of a fan of their content blocks system.

napoleon039 profile image
Nihar Raote

I considered Notion for my blog post drafts as well since I'd heard good things about it (and since it also supports markdown) but it wasn't for me. I might give Dropbox Paper a try. I currently use Laverna and recommend giving it a try.

itsasine profile image
ItsASine (Kayla)

I wasn't too big of a fan of their content blocks system

I just moved to Notion for the new year 😭 They enticed me with a student plan and exporting to Markdown

chiefnoah profile image
Noah Pederson

I've found their (probably webapp-in-desguise) mobile app to be slow and buggy. I'm no longer a student, and if I wanted to pay $5/month for note taking, I'd just pay Evernote.

Thread Thread
itsasine profile image
ItsASine (Kayla)

I can certainly see that, then. I've only really just set up the mobile app but not used it since I use the webapp on Mac and Chromebook. The Mac desktop app is also okay, but it's easier in just Chrome.

The main thing I liked was that file lists (though I think they called that databases...) have their own pages, too, so like I could have a page for Blog with its own content and files under it for each post.

Though I saw last night that Dropbox structures folders that way now, too, with a folder description, pins, and then the list of files. And I saw that I have 4gb being used for the files from the 2017 Humble Bundle April Fool's Day joke, so I apparently don't use my Dropbox space well 😅

Thread Thread
utkarsh profile image
Utkarsh Talwar

Notion is much more than a note-taking app tho. The whole content block system does take some getting used to. But yeah, I can see how it can be too complex/confusing/overwhelming for some folks.
The mobile app was pretty slow when I first downloaded it. It's better now, and I think they're working on better offline support as well. Let's see. 😃

Thread Thread
chiefnoah profile image
Noah Pederson

Yeah, it's like a combination of Trello, Confluence, and Evernote. It does look like the mobile app has gotten better, but it's still a bit off. I think I'll give it another go and see if I stick with it.

attkinsonjakob profile image
Jakob Attkinson

Alternative to cold turkey: go fu#$ing work

flashblaze profile image
Neeraj Lagwankar

I think you would find this useful Digital Detox

arvindamirtaa profile image
Arvind Nedumaran

Just installed Cold Turkey! It's awesome! Just what I need.

jonathanspeek profile image
Jonathan Speek

Notion - documentation, organization, everything
Todoist - todo list
VS Code - code editor
iTerm2 - terminal
Figma - design tool
Brave - browser
Alfred - Spotlight replacement/automation
Flycut - clipboard mgmt
Spectacles - window mgmt
LastPass - password mgmt
Rocket - emoji picker
Vanilla - menu bar icon mgmt
Dato - time zones

yaser profile image
Yaser Al-Najjar

I just use:

  • Notepad++ to organize ideas.
  • VSCode to write code.
  • CMDer to run code.


jimmymcbride profile image
Jimmy McBride

less is more that more. That is for sure.

xanderyzwich profile image
Corey McCarty

I highly recommend markdown in VSCode for organizing ideas the line movement/copy macros make for super easy adjustments, and markdown makes for nice lists and snippets.

jimmymcbride profile image
Jimmy McBride

VS Code, bash scripts and alias's, PG Admin, Postman, Slack, Brave. My productivity has also increased greatly since I switched to Linux (Manjaro Gnome edition FTW 🔥). I've been grudgingly trying to switch from nano to vim and I really want to put in the effort to get vim down really well so I can get the Vim emulator extension in VS Code. So that's a work in progress, atm.

codemouse92 profile image
Jason C. McDonald

LeechBlock NG is a must have on all my browsers.

Evolution is my email, calendar, todo list, and contact book. It's my favorite PIM to date. (I host my own Calendar and Todo lists on my personal instance of Nextcloud.)

Simplenote is how I track notes.

And, most recently (yesterday), I finished v2.0 of Timecard for keeping track of my time! I used v1.0 all through high school, and I've been meaning to rebuild it for years. I'll be adding Pomodoro features to it in the near future.

sergix profile image
Peyton McGinnis

Personal Nextcloud servers are the way to go! 🔥

jmfayard profile image
Jean-Michel Fayard 🇫🇷🇩🇪🇬🇧🇪🇸🇨🇴

Most important ones:

  • The IDEs from JetBrains are my programming silver bullet (sorry, Fred Brooks!)
  • Dash, by Kapeli has changed the way I program by making documentation more usable
  • A recent finding This one is weird: I have been following the writings of DHH and Jason Fried since like forever, and was totally aligned with their values of calm, productive, asynchronous work environments. But somehow I was never curious to try out their software. When they launched Basecamp personal, I finally gave it a try and found out this was the product management tool that reflect those values that I have been missing for so long.

I also use Trello for simpler stuff like managing my recipes

maestromac profile image
Mac Siri

How are you finding Basecampe Personal? How are you using it?

I'd like to think that I would enjoy basecamp the same way I enjoy DHH and Jason Fried's ideology and approach to work but I'm having trouble switching to their product for day-to-day management.

jmfayard profile image
Jean-Michel Fayard 🇫🇷🇩🇪🇬🇧🇪🇸🇨🇴

I am using for managing myself and two important personal projects.
It took some time to get used to it - like with everything new, right?

A tipping point for me was when I discovered and read the "How we work" section of the Basecamp Handbook. Every feature in basecamp makese sense when you have this context:

Basecamp Handbook: How we work

Thread Thread
utkarsh profile image
Utkarsh Talwar

Thanks for sharing! Been meaning to try Basecamp ever since they came up with the free personal plan a while back.

iranjith4 profile image
Ranjithkumar Matheswaran

I'm a great fan of using multiple productivity tools. After evaluating a lot of tools, here is the current set of tools that works great for me.

I sync most of my documents with Google Drive and all my code repositories are in Github.

For task management, my company uses Jira and so adhering with it for my work tasks. I personally use Asana for managing all my side projects and creative projects.

I use Oh my Zsh with iTerm as my Terminal.

All my notes go in iCloud Notes, which syncs seamlessly between all my devices. I browse using Safari (Recently switched and I feel its faster than other browsers. Also seamlessly syncs all tabs between all my devices)

Git GUI - Github Desktop, Github Mobile (via iOS Testflight)

I use Magnet as my window management tool which helps me to arrange the windows on the big screen I use (28 Inch 4K monitor)

IDEs - As an iOS developer I should be using Xcode the most. Other than Xcode, I use VS Code.

robbyrussell profile image
Robby Russell 🐘🚂

Thanks for recommending @ohmyzsh!

katafrakt profile image
Paweł Świątkowski

Thanks for mentioning Magnet. I didn't know it and since I'm forced to work on Mac now, this is something I might use while yearning for i3 ;)

xanderyzwich profile image
Corey McCarty

As a Java dev mainly I hold tight to JetBrains IDEA (IntelliJ), for Python scripting I keep PyCharm, and for everything else I am moving to VSCode from Notepad++. When it comes to taking notes, I am in the process of adopting markdown in VSCode. There is also Oracle SQL Developer for database queries, and SoapUI for SOAP interactions.

jeferson_sb profile image
Jeferson Brito

In my daily basis I use :

  • VS Code for coding
  • Brave for web browsing
  • Adobe XD for Designing UI's
  • Microsoft To Do for short tasks
  • Notion / Onenote for taking notes
  • Cmder for console
  • Insomnia for API testing
katafrakt profile image
Paweł Świątkowski

The biggest single win for me productivity-wise was switching project-wide search from silver-searcher to ripgrep. Man, it's fast...

Also, I'd recommend using bat instead of cat to read files in the terminal, as it has syntax highlighting, paging etc.

jasperhorn profile image

Far from all I use, but the biggest gamechanger for me was using taiga to manage my personal projects. They have limited free use, but I installed it on an SBC at home to avoid the limits.

(Similarly, I run gitea as a personal centralized git server for projects that I don't want to open source. It really helps me switch between computers smoothly.)

attkinsonjakob profile image
Jakob Attkinson

Windows user here...

  • Windows terminal (new alternative to ConEmu)
  • Listary (windows alternative for Alfred...ish)
  • Notion for taking notes
  • ActivityWatch (open source that records what you do so that you can know how you've spent your time)
  • Brave browser for work and Vivaldi browser for personal use
  • Discord for IM and screen sharing (pair programming)
  • Jetbrains suite as IDE (I also use their GUI for GIT)
  • ViewLog (real time log file monitor)

Other tools I chose to use to improve my dev work are Rollbar & NewRelic

khrome83 profile image
Zane Milakovic

I use Brave for my every day surfing.

Figma for design.

VS Code for my IDE.

I keep my tasks for personal projects on GitHub repos. I never was able to find value in other task managers. This is one that just works for me.

I keep trying different note software, and always end back where I started. Nothing. It just does not stick with me.

I use ZSH, and a ton of plugins to make my command line friendlier and more informative.

baicai profile image

For me
OS: Ubuntu 19.10
IDE:PHPStorm 2019.3.1
Editer: VSCode
Terminal: Terminator + Zsh
DB Client:DataGrip
Devlopment Environments:Docker-compose like this

And Postman + BeyondCompare + Dingtalk

sblundy profile image
Steve Blundy

I do mostly back-end (micro) services in Golang.

  1. Elvish Shell - shell with a real programming language with maps and lists, plus a module system.
  2. Jetbrains IDEs - GoLand mostly
  3. Homebrew
  4. Micro - terminal text editor
  5. jq - for serious JSON manipulation
  6. Taskwarrior - terminal task manager
  7. iTerm2

I am in the market for K8S tools for monitoring applications. Most are cluster admin focused. I'm looking for something to monitor some subset of pods, deployments, etc

roelofjanelsinga profile image
Roelof Jan Elsinga

I love these types of questions! Here we go:

OS: Ubuntu 18.04 / EndeavourOS
IDE: PHPStorm 2019.3 / VSCode (for Golang only)
Notes: Standard Notes (end-to-end encryption)
Browser: Brave Browser / Firefox
Bash scripts + aliases, so many of them
Development: Docker / docker-compose
DB client: MySQL Workbench
Project management: Basecamp, both at work and personally
Git GUI: Gitkraken

I think that's about it! I use two different Linux distros on two different laptops, but the development workflow on them is identical since you can change everything about your distro.

elanandkumar profile image
Anand Kumar

Here is mine:

  • VS Code & VS Code Insider

    • default theme
    • font (Mono Casual with Ligature settings) ->
  • Chrome

  • iTerm

    • andromeda theme with font
    • oh-my-zsh (pure prompt)
  • Alfred

katnel20 profile image
Katie Nelson

From a Windows point of view:
Chrome (my go-to browser)
Visual Studio (for C# coding)
SQL Workbench (for MySQL)
7-zip (for compression)
Notepad++ (for opening files)
Postman (for REST API testing)

arvindamirtaa profile image
Arvind Nedumaran

iTerm2 + oh-my-zsh -> The most flexible terminal I've ever used.

Brew & Macports -> With these, I've never had to download a dmg or a pkg in ages. Highly recommend.

Vim -> Quick edits

Vimwiki -> Daily journal and to capture thoughts quickly. Synced to a git repo.

Taskwarrior + Taskserver -> Everyday task management.

VSCode -> Daily driver code editor for most things.

MailMate -> The best email client that doesn't cost $30 a month.

BusyCal + BusyContacts -> Sync all my calendars + contacts together.

NetNewsWire -> RSS Reader. Simple, clean, gets the job done.

Fork -> Git GUI

Dbeaver -> Database management.

1Password -> I was a LastPass user for so long. But after the most recent LogMeIn acquisition, I switched over to 1Password. No major complaints so far.

Basecamp Personal -> I have been using Basecamp at work for a long time. But with personal, I'm slowly moving away from Taskwarrior and vimwiki and consolidating them into a basecamp project. I also use it to manage a couple other hobby projects of mine.

Spotify -> Music

A few others -> Caffeine, f.lux, Transmission, Tunnelblick, Rescue time.

riekus profile image
Riekus van Montfort

Chrome (main browser)
Franz (messaging / slack)
Moom (window manager)
Stretchly (to take a break every now and then)
Notes (todo / lists etc.)
Sourcetree (though git cli suffices for most tasks)
The rest is all in the browser (Jira, Gitlab, Confluence, Mail, Calendar, Drive, Invision)

dub_nev profile image
Dub Nev

Emacs + org-mode - handles almost everything for my productivity workflow: coding, todo management, notes, outlining, bigger thoughts, reading list management, etc.

Dropbox for syncing my org files is critical.

Beorg for an org-mode supporting tool on iOS

tcgumus profile image
Tuna Çağlar Gümüş

Sketchapp for design
vscode + idea to write code
typora to write documentation
basecamp for idea storage / todo / share
cathode + oh my zsh for console
mamp for php development
docker to be in sync with production

brandelune profile image
Jean-Christophe Helary

• emacs and org-mode to capture anything I need to capture (ideas, notes, todos, etc.)
• magic (in emacs) for interfacing with git
• I write a lot of utility scripts in AppleScript
• When I want to focus on work, no site-blocking plugins, I just disable images loading. FB becomes totally uninteresting, slightly less for Twitter but that's enough.

aschmelyun profile image
Andrew Schmelyun

First and foremost, Todoist to keep track of my goals for today/this week/this month. I pay for the premium and it's totally worth it for the reminders alone.

For large project releases and as a general idea board, I prefer Kanban layouts and use Trello.

For actually getting work done, it's PHPStorm for my IDE, iTerm for my Terminal combined with oh-my-zsh, and I've recently switched to Firefox for my main browser primarily because I've been liking their dev tools more and more.

joffreylgt profile image
Joffrey LAGUT
  • VSCode for web programming or to open random files
  • VS2019 for Dotnet core programming
  • Firefox for web browsing
  • Todoist to manage my to do lists
  • Cmder as my default terminal (Windows) / iTerm2 (MAC)
  • Onenote to take notes


  • Chrome for testing
  • Postman for API requests
jeastham1993 profile image
James Eastham
  • VS Code for dev
  • Todoist for my second brain and storing basically everything I need to do, might want to do or need to read at some point
  • Toggl for time tracking
  • Docker for any dev dependencies (MS SQL, Mongo, RabbitMQ etc etc)
  • Postman for API testing
  • Vivaldi for internet usage (I've recently taken a big middle finger stance to online privacy)
thefluxapex profile image
Ian Pride

It really varies; I have used so many over the years I change it up just to not be bored & always trying new stuff, but I do have fall-backs...

In Windows it's Notepad++, VSCode (kind of new to me, 6 months or so), Vim in WSL in Hyper/Cmder terminals & AUTOHOTKEY to create work environments/flow. AutoHotkey is the main key here as it has sped up everything I do exponentially.

In Linux it's VSCode, Atom/Sublime, Vim in Tilda/Guake & AutoKey+Python+Shell for workflow.

I will only use specific IDEs for languages I'm not 100% fluent in until I'm more than familiar then I will go back to manual coding. I do occasionally use IDEs to beautify/format code.

iam_virendra profile image
Virendra Giri

Here's my setup-

IDEs: VSCode,Sublime
Command line: Git Bash
Design: Adobe XD
Todo/Notes/Markdown: Joplin,Ticktick & Asana
Sync: Syncthing
Markdown Editor: Typora
Password Manager: Bitwarden
Browser: Firefox
OS: Windows 10

I mainly rely on Joplin for writing down ideas, notes, to-dos etc.

gharibi profile image
Dr. Arash Gharibi

I use:

VSCode to write code.
OmniGraffle to document new ideas.
OneDrive to store documents.
Terminal to remotely access servers.
Bitbucket and Github as code repositories.
MacOS as the operating system.
Mendeley for reading papers and managing references.

emile_hay profile image
Emile Hay

The two main pieces of software I have to get stuff done are Notion and Todoist.

I use Todoist for the little stuff. All of my actionable tasks in the coming days/weeks. I generally make sure I have about 10 tasks per day.

I use Notion one level up from Todoist to keep track of my monthly/quarterly goals for the coming year and to keep notes.

My latest blog post is about how I use Notion to organize my life, actually. Back when I made this post I tried to use Notion for my daily to-dos as well. I'm always looking for one tool to rule them all (aren't we all), but it just wasn't quite as good as Todoist are for the more bite-sized to-dos.

oysteino profile image
Øystein Øvrebø

Cool topic!

My stack:

Windows 10 OS, Ubuntu 18 bash as my terminal through WSL.

IntelliJ for coding. Docker and docker compose for all kinds of servers.

Dbeaver for SQL work in all kinds of databases.

Postman and curl for API testing and exploration.

VS Code for text/config work that doesn't fall under an IntelliJ project.

Photoshop for graphics.

SourceTree as git UI.

Blender for hobby art and learning 3D modeling :)

alanibalop profile image
Alan Ibarra

lately i have used the next tools:

  • Github Glo (Boards)
  • Brave
  • Insomnia (API Rest test)
  • Robo3t (MongoDB management Client GUI)
  • Clockify (to take time to do of tasks)
  • Spark (nice app to email)
  • iTerm2
  • Simplenote
robgarciadev profile image
Rob Garcia

Complete Mac User: I wear different hats and here are my tool stack for each:

Sr. Project Manager

  • Jira Cloud & Confluence
  • Microsoft Project
  • Office 365 apps
  • Onedrive
  • MS Teams


  • Basecamp (client projects)
  • Quick Books Online
  • Harvest
  • Apple Reminders (just started using this from ToDoist with the added features in iOS13)


  • VS Code (Flutter)
  • XCode (iOS)
  • Partman
  • Trello

What I install on all my different Macs:

  • Magnet
  • iTerm2
  • Spotify
  • Slack
  • 1 Password
khrisl33t profile image
  • Tmux, Tmuxinator
  • Oh-My-Zsh
  • VSCode (with Settings Sync, GitLens, RegEx previewer)
  • Spectacle for window management
  • Alfred for Spotlight search
  • Evernote for taking notes
  • Insomnia REST client (when curl is not enough :D)
  • Lots of bash scripts and aliases :)
  • Docker, so I won't need to install databases on my machine.
sergix profile image
Peyton McGinnis

I used to use Boostnote quite a bit, but in the past few months they changed some of the UI which I found frustrating. But then I recently stumbled upon Notable, which I've found the UI to be much more pleasant and usable.

Thread Thread
napoleon039 profile image
Nihar Raote

I used Boostnote for a while. The UI was nice, but I missed Laverna so I switched back to it. It's still on my machine, but I haven't used it for a while. I might give it another try.

mendoza profile image
David Mendoza (He/Him)

vs code (Main Editor)
Monokai dark soda (Main vs code theme)
Fira code (Font)
Vim (Editor for sudo protected files)
build-essentials (Come on hahahaha)
firefox (music)

leob profile image

OSX or Linux, VSCode, VIM, terminal/bash, all things Google, Slack, OpenOffice.

pavelloz profile image
Paweł Kowalski

vscode, runjs, firefox, insomnia, notion, docker, (item -> zsh+ohmyzsh+tldr)

vaibhavkhulbe profile image
Vaibhav Khulbe

I use Slack, Trello, Evernote and Wox (Alfred alternative for Windows). These certainly help me to be more productive.

danondso profile image
Dublin Anondson

IDEs: VSCode, PyCharm, IntelliJ
Design: Adobe XD
Todo: Todoist
Browsers: Firefox/Chrome
Notes: Boostnote

courtneypure profile image
C. Pure
  • Atom - Code Editor
    (but have been slowly learning the wonders of vs code.)

  • Notion - Note taking and Task Organization

  • Chrome - Browser

mithujoy profile image

I am Using :

VS Code for Js Dev
PhpStrome for php Dev
Chrome for web browsing
Evernote for To Do list/Ideas
Postman for API testing

alizand1992 profile image
Ali Zand

IDE/Editor: back and forth between Emacs and Intellij
Browser: Opera
Design: Figma
Ticketing: YouTrack

valentinprgnd profile image
Valentin Prugnaud 🦊 (he / him)
  • iTerm
  • Webstorm
  • Slack
  • Sketch
  • Things
  • Docker
  • Apple Music
  • Screenium
kevsestrella profile image

App Launcher: Alfred
Note: Notion
Terminal: iterm2
Text editor: nvim
Browser: Brave

bharat profile image
  • Evernote to collect and manage notes.
  • Todoist for planning.
  • Alacritty, tmux and nvim for development.
ssurineni profile image
sampath kumar


jgburet profile image
Jean-Guillaume Buret
  • Atom (but I'm considering going back to Sublime Text for 2020)
  • Gitkraken
  • DBeaver
helleworld_ profile image
Desiré 👩‍🎓👩‍🏫

Notion to go deep in my ideas,Todoist to write down flash concepts before they leave my mind and appointments / things to do not-so-urgent.

kmwill23 profile image

Edited once I realized it was about Dev environment 😆.

Notepad++ at home.