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Sharpen Your Axe

October 14, 2019

Abraham Lincoln was quoted as saying, “Give me six hours to chop down a tree and I will spend the first four sharpening the axe.” An axe is a strength multiplier. You can be the strongest lumberjack in the world, but with a dull axe, you’re screwed. The same goes for development.

Thus, every month or so, I dedicate a few hours to upgrading my productivity setup (i.e. sharpening my axe). Over the years, I’ve built up a set of personal automations, scripts, apps, plugins, extensions, etc. that allow me to work faster than most. This isn’t backed by quantitative evidence, but just qualitative data points from countless employee coding interviews I’ve conducted.

The human-to-computer interface as it stands now is rather slow and terrible. This is one of the reasons why Elon Musk is working on Neuralink, but until we get brain implants, we as developers are bound by our physical bodies to communicate with our machines. Whenever you boost your own productivity, you are increasing the bandwidth and throughput of your HCI. Anyways, this a long way of me saying, “Invest in your own productivity, because no one else will.”

What follows is a running list of some of my favorite productivity tools and apps.

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Jared Palmer is a software developer based in New York City. He is the founder of Formium, a developer-focused form builder and also the author of popular open source software including Formik, TSDX, and Razzle.

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