Cassidy Williams

Software Engineer in Chicago

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The Productivity apps I use in 2022

I often get asked what my favorite tools are and how I use them to get my work done, and I’m writing this both to answer that question, and also for me to just paste a link to this post next time I’m asked. Efficiency!

This post will not cover my code editor(s), terminals, or other developer tools. This is just a list of the tools I use daily to get my tasks done!

All of these tools you can use for free, and a couple have paid upgrades. That being said, you don’t need to pay money to use them to the fullest, if you don’t want to! Also, all of them work across operating systems. I use both a PC and a Mac, so that’s important to me.



I take notes with Obsidian, write blogs with Obsidian (like this one), keep track of projects with Obsidian, plan classes with Obsidian… I’m alllllll in on Obsidian.

It’s a local-first markdown editor. I love that I can keep everything local to my machine (so I don’t have any slow load times), and just write markdown without anything getting in my way. Beyond that, they have an open plugin + theming setup, and you can pay for syncing across devices as well. I made a theme for it, if you want to check it out!



When I use Centered, I get more work done, simply put. I was a little slow to get into it, but now I can’t imagine getting all that I want done without it, honestly. I often have trouble focusing throughout the day when I have a lot to do, and Centered helps a ton with that.

Centered is a flow state to-do app. It’s kind of hard to explain in one sentence, because it does so much while being pretty simple, too. Long story short, you plop in your to-do list for the day/session/whatever, each task has a certain amount of time assigned to it, and then you hit start. It’ll play some music designed to help you focus, and it has a coach that speaks to you about how much time is left in your current task, gives you breaks, and pokes you when you’re distracted. I made a group in it if you’d ever like to flow with me!



Cron is a keyboard shortcut-powered calendar app. I’ve tried a bunch of calendar apps over the years, and Cron is my current favorite. It lets you quickly use keyboard commands to see your teammate’s calendars, share availability, view multiple timezones, and create events.

Update from the Cron team: anyone who signs up in the 24 hours after this was posted will get an instant invite skipping the waitlist (as fast as Cron can send them)!



This is a shameless plug, but I use todometer for task management, and… I built todometer.

todometer is a meter-based to-do list for your desktop. I use this to keep track of things that I’d like to get done throughout a given day or week, without the restrictions of a flow state session. I made it because I am motivated by progress bars, and sometimes I just need a simple list prominently on my desktop of what I need to get done. Plus, it’s local-only, so you don’t have to worry about loading times. Here is the repository if you’d like to see how I built it (full disclosure: I want to maintain it more, but I’ve got other things to do, so if you make an issue, I’ll get to it… someday).

That’s it!

I’ve tried a lot of different tools over the years, and this is just my current “stack.” I do think that it’s worth reassessing your tools fairly regularly. I used to use other ones, like Bear, and Notion, and Vimcal, etc, and they all worked for me at the time, but figuring out what you like and don’t like about your “stack” is super helpful for upgrading how you work over time.

It’s not just the applications, it’s the dedication to them that really make them work for me. If something is scheduled on my calendar, whether it’s flow time or dedicated time to one specific task, I follow it. If I put a task in todometer, I have to get it done that day.

If you don’t commit yourself to your tools, they are just extra overhead to getting things done, and the tasks get overwhelming as they pile up. Keep that in mind as you hunt for tools that might work for you!

Until next time!

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