A Deiter Rams-esque rendering of a radio with the word Simplify on it

I’m always trying out new tools to make my life easier. In a cruel twist of irony however, I’ve found myself customizing and maintaining multiple tools leading to unnecessary complexity and a hit in productivity.

So this year, I’ve made a resolution to simplify and eliminate redundant tools. Nothing is safe from the chopping block!

Here are some of the major transitions I’ve made or plan to make, and I’ll be sharing more about each of them in upcoming posts.

Things 3 → Obsidian Notes

This one surprised me the most. I switched from Things 3 as my Todo app and Obsidian for my notes to using Obsidian for both. While Things 3 has a beautiful UI, I discovered that I could use Obsidian as effectively (if not more) to get things done with the addition of one plugin. Stay tuned for a detail write up on this one.

iTerm → Terminal

Next, I switched from iTerm to Terminal. This transition was easy since I wasn’t relying too heavily on iTerm customizations anyway. The big reason I used iTerm was mostly just for horizaontal split tabs. I dusted off my tmux skills and now am back to just using Terminal.app.

fish → zsh

Moving from fish to zsh —on the other hand— was the most challenging transition since I had years of accumulated scripts and functions that I had to painstakingly port over to zsh. However, I’m happy I made the change since zsh is the default on a new Mac, making it easier to use across different devices.

Alfred + Keyboard Maestro (+ Pastebot) → Raycast

As an avid user of Alfred and Keyboard Maestro, I was hesitant to switch to Raycast. But after watching a video on its capabilities, I realized that Raycast could replace several of the tools I was using. I was particularly impressed by how easy it was to expand its functionality and add new snippets or quick URL searches.

Keyboard Maestro is going to be around for those quick automation macros but I’m going to try and not have it running constantly. More for one-off automation jobs.

VSCode → (Neo)Vim (& Jetbrains)

While I initially switched to VSCode because of its excellent plugins, I found myself using Jetbrains editors like Intellij and Android Studio more frequently. Additionally, I’m already super comfortable with Vim, so the few times I would use VSCode for text editing, there was no good reason not to just use Vim. With the introduction of Intellij “light mode”, I found myself just using Jetbrains editors more often. So, I’m slowly weaning myself off of VSCode.

Not just Software!

I’m also applying the principle of simplification to my hardware and day-to-day physical setup. However, I don’t substitute a tool that performs well just because I have another that does something else. The key is to find a balance and ensure that using a tool brings joy and value.