The Productive Programmer — Key Takeaways From a Great Book

11 min readMar 25, 2021


Chapter 1

  • Naming something lets you identify it more easily

Part 1: Mechanics

The tools that could help any power-user.

Chapter 2: Acceleration

  • The longer a list of applications, the less useful it becomes
  • Use a launcher instead, i.e. SpotLight, Launchy, Alfred
  • I prefer a custom launcher like Alfred to Spotlight because of its enhanced functionality
  • Avoid using finder as much as possible, and prefer the cmd line or launcher
  • In Windows, use tab to autocomplete file paths in explorer
  • Use cmd + shift + G in Finder to use tab auto-complete functionality
  • You don’t need to use terminal/finder exclusively — you can drag a folder from Finder into the cmd-line to mimic a cd command
  • Ctrl+f2 highlights menu, press a letter to jump to that menu item
  • Ctrl+f8 highlights services (clock side of the menu bar)
  • Use a clipboard manager because context switching eats time. I recommend BTT on Mac, or Breevy/PasteExpress on Windows
  • Use shell history — this is the major advantage of using shell over GUIs; you can easily repeat actions. Use ctrl+R to search history.
  • Pressing Q while alt-tabbing in Mac, close the app
  • Use “command prompt here” in the context menu

Development Accelerators

  • The easiest target to click is by not moving the mouse at all and right-clicking
  • Learn keyboard shortcuts more easily by using a key-promoter extension
  • Say the shortcuts out loud while trying to memorize them to force more parts of your brain to activate, increasing the chance you’ll remember it
  • Using a plugin like “key promoter,” which tells you whenever you use the mouse for an action that can be done using a keyboard shortcut
  • alt + up-arrow will…

Most of my writing is about software. I enjoy summarizing and analyzing books and self-help videos. I am senior software consultant at