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My three most powerful productivity tools

Written by: Alex Pszczolkowski on February 29, 2016

Routines, habits and tools of the trade really do make the difference.

They are the ones that make the biggest impact on the way we work, how we work and how we feel about our work.

For me, for a long time now, the most impactful things around my process have been yoga, vim and SomaFm. These three exact things.

I committed to yoga about 5 years ago now and it might easily be the single, best decision I have made in my entire life. Maybe apart from sticking to programming as a career path despite multiple occasions and reasons to quit. The benefits of movement and exercise should be absolutely obvious by now, especially in our field, having so heavily sedentary lifestyles, but for me yoga is a special kind of exercise. It’s meditation in movement. It synchronizes your breath and makes you get out of your head. “In with the good and out with the bad” as my teacher often said. It’s an ultimate productivity tool. Teaches you about your limitations, makes you humble, rids you of the ego and it’s hard. And I strongly believe that we should be doing hard things away from work as well.

SomaFM and vim are so dependent on each other in my routine that they might as well be one tool. We’ve all got our own little habits to get us in the zone, and for me it’s opening the SomaFm app, hitting play on Space Station Soma channel and opening vim. I’ve been doing this so long now, that it’s like a religion for me at this point. This is how I start any programming task and I can’t really imagine it going away anytime soon.

Some time ago I read The Creative Habit: Learn It and Use It for Life by Thwyla Tharp, that I feel deserves a mention here. It’s an exceptional book on habits, being in the zone, the creative process and much, much more. I highly recommend it for anyone who wants to further learn about the way we work, mastery, passion and creativity. I learned a lot about my process, programming and how I view my work from this one.

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