Best Productivity Tools And Tips For Linux

Productivity tips for Linux

Since productivity in itself is a subjective term, I am not going into the details of what “productivity” I am talking about here. I am going to show you some tools and tips that could help you to focus better, be efficient and save time while working in Linux.

Productivity tools and tips for Linux

Again, I am using Ubuntu at the time of writing this article. But the productivity tools and tips I am going to show you here should be applicable to most of the Linux distributions out there.

Ambient Music

Ambient Noise Player in Ubuntu

Music impacts productivity. It is an open secret. From psychologists to management gurus, all have been advising to use ambient noise to feel relaxed and concentrate on your work. I am not going to argue with it because it works for me. I put my headphones on and listening to the birds chirping and wind blows indeed helps me in relaxing.

In Linux, I use ANoise player for ambient noise player. Thanks to the official PPA provided, you can easily install Ambient Noise player in Ubuntu and other Ubuntu based Linux distributions. Installing it let’s you play the ambient music offline as well.

Alternatively, you can always listen to ambient noise online. My favorite website for online ambient music is Noisli. Do give it a try.

Task management app

Go For It! To Do Productivity App for Linux

A good productive habit is to keep a to-do list. And if you combine it with Pomodoro Technique, it could work wonder. What I mean hear is that create a to-do list and if possible, assign those tasks a certain time. This will keep you on track with your planned tasks for the day.

For this, I recommend Go For It! app. You can install it in all major Linux distributions and since it is based on ToDo.txt, you can easily sync it with your smartphone as well. I have written a detailed guide on how to use Go For It!.

Alternatively, you can use Sticky Notes or Google Keep. If you need something more like Evernote fan, you can use these open source alternatives for Evernote.

Note taking app: Simplenote

Simplenote dark theme
Dark theme with revision control

Another must have tools to increase productivity is to have a good note taking apps. While there are plenty of note apps for Linux, I am not going to advise you to use the default note apps like Gedit.

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It’s not that Gedit is not good. It’s simply that in this connected world, quick note taking is much more helpful if the apps is available across the devices. Imagine having a thought that crossed your mind but you are away from your desktop with just your smartphone in hands. Wouldn’t it be nice that you jolt it down on your smartphone and later, you can view it on Linux desktop?

A good such app is Simplenote that also provides native Linux client. Simplenote is offered from WordPress makers Automattic. Check this tutorial to install Simplenote in Linux.

Clipboard manager

Clip Manager Didon Ubuntu

Ctrl+ C and Ctrl+V are the integral part of our daily computer life. Only problem is that these important actions don’t have memory (by default). Suppose you copied something important and then you accidentally copied something else, you’ll lose what you had before.

A clipboard manager comes handy in such situation. It displays the history of things you have copied (to clipboard) recently. You can copy text back to clipboard from it.

I prefer Diodon clipboard manager for this purpose. It is actively developed and is available in Ubuntu repositories.

Save your eyes from computer screen at night

Flux in action on desktop Linux
Picture courtesy: Noobslab

Have you noticed that working on computers at night is more tiring than working in day time? Specially, if you are in a dark room.

Computer screens cause more strain on eyes at night. This actually leads to several health issues that includes sleep deprivation.

Good thing is that by using an open source program like f.lux or Redshift, you can have a better computing experience at night. These programs automatically change the brightness of your computer screen at night and replace the blue light with yellow or red light. It is scentifically proven that bluelight is more harmful for eyes at night.

Read more about how to use f.lux on Linux to reduce strain on eyes.

I have been using f.lux lately, and I must say, it’s so good to work on my laptop at night these days. I wish I knew about it before.

Suggested read
Simplenote: Best Open Source Note Taking App

Recent notifications

Recent notifications applet indicator

When you are busy with something else and a desktop notification blings and fades away, what do you do? You wish that you could see what was the notification about, isn’t it? Recent notification indicator does this job. It keeps a history of all recent notifications. This way, you would never miss the desktop notifications.

You can read about Recent Notification Indicator here.

Terminal Tips

Terminal Tips

No, I am not going to show you all those Linux command tricks and shortcuts. That could make up an entire blog. I am going to show you couple of terminal hacks you could use to enhance your productivity.

  • Here’s a complete list of best Linux command tricks to save time in Linux terminal.
  • Change sudo password timeout: By default sudo commands require you to enter password after 15 minutes. This could be tiresome. You could actually change the default sudo password timeout. This tutorial shows you how to do that.
  • Get desktop notification for command completion: It’s a common joke among IT guys that developers spend a lot of time waiting for programs to be compiled and it is not entirely true. But it does affect the productivity because while you wait for the programs to be compiled, you may end up doing something else and forget about the commands you had run in the terminal.
    A nicer way would be to get desktop notification when a command is completed. This way, you won’t be distracted for long and can go back to what you were supposed to be doing earlier. Read about how to get desktop notification for command completion.

I know that this is not a comprehensive article about increasing productivity. But these little apps and tips may actually help you to get more out of your valuable time.

Now it’s your turn. What programs or tips you use to be more productive in Linux? Something you want to share with the community?

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just installed f.lux but it doesn't work, the low night color fades to bright. Uninstalled and put in red shift and the color is flicking away..ugh!

Panagiotis Tabakis

Clipboard manager and terminal notifications are a must for me. I need the manager so I don’t have to re-open a txt or an email, to re-copy a strong password just to hold it in clipboard memory and paste it. Just use the clipboard memory directly.
Terminal notifications are there not to distract you, because if they distract you, then you have more serious job to do and you shouldn't be in terminal. Multitasking might not be your thing, but if it is, then you surely need it. It's there to remind you that the status of the tool, you left running in the background, is available.

Thanks for the write up. Hopefully, it will start others also thinking about other applications, useful for other tasks and probably share with others their experience in using them.

I am totally sympathetic to this spirit of this article, but here's my "but." Adding more applications to the environment might just make it worse. I turn away from my code editor to my browser to check documentation or look something up, but there are your several browser tabs and one or more terminal windows and next thing you know I am distracted and suddenly a number of minutes have gone by and where was I? What I do not need is a task list app, or anything else like that, to give me yet another screen to contend with. So I am going to suggest two things:

(1) Workrave (; apt-get install workrave will do it, if memory serves). By default I think it makes you take a 12 minute break every 48. I configure it for 10 every 50. Of course you can postpone, override, whatever, but it's best you don't. STEP AWAY FROM THE MACHINE for ten minutes. Great little program. Who among us has never had this experience? You're stuck in a hole for tens of minutes, banging your head againt the wall, until you stand up to go use the bathroom or something and just then, there in the bathroom, the insight comes to you! And you get out of the hole. Workrave was designed to help prevent RSI but the enforced breaks enhance productivity by helping you stay out of those holes.

(2) A piece of paper and a pen. Yes that's right. Try jotting down little notes about what you are doing as well as what you plan to do -- with ink and paper. It takes your eyes of the screen and makes you think a little differently. I sometimes use this technique but should probably use it more.

Hi Abhishek, this is for a good detective. First I have Googled and the best I found is to reinstall Dropbox. I do not want to and I guess I do not have to.
So what is the issue. I am using Dropbox for more than a couple of years on my Linux Mint. I have the last Dropbox version 3.10.7 from 10/1/2015 (maybe that's the problem). Since a few days ago a message appears on every start telling me I have to install some proprietary daemon. If I follow the instructions, something is downloaded but not sure if it is run. Same banner next time. My Dropbox is running fine appart from that. If I do not auto start Dropbox and start it from the Mint menu I got no message, but if I let it start when I log on, which is the default, the banner shows at next startup.
Could be fixed without reinstalling Dropbox?

I recommend Xmind for pre-planning project organization. Its paid for pro version, but free its ok too. Also if i need share xmind project or work together with other ppl, i upload it to google drive and share it with MindMeister (another "mind-map" apps for google drive)


Xmind is indeed a useful open source tool. Thanks for the suggestion.