Streamlining My Application Workflow

One of the things that I’ve found myself doing more and more is experimenting with various tools, workflows, and actually not using certain applications just to see how it impacts my day-to-day.

Generally speaking, I’m the kind of developer who takes his time picking out his tools, creating his workflow, and then sticking with them – it takes a lot for me to change the way that I get my stuff done.

Case in point: I’ve written an entire post about the applications and tools that I use and I’ve rarely deviate from this.

But for the last two months or so, I’ve found myself beginning to experiment more and more with trying out certain tools, removing certain tools, or changing up my workflow to see how it impacts things (for better or worse).

Obviously, this is a bit of a less technical or a less WordPress-centric post, but I figure that I’m not the only one that does this. As such, I thought I’d share my application workflows, some of the things I’ve been experimenting with, the results, and even see what you guys are doing that’s similar.



Remixing my screencasting workflow with ScreenFlow.

When it comes to finding software to performing certain tasks, my default action is to go to the software that’s already available on my machine, or use the path of least resistance (which can often be the cheapest path, too) to get something done.

For example: At the end of 2012, I was doing a number of screencasts but lacked the software to do it. So, I ended up using Screeny and iMovie to film and then edit the screencasts.

In short, the workflow was lame.

Although Screeny is a great, simple app for screencasting, iMovie is not an ideal solution for editing screencasting.

In retrospect, this is almost laughable and I’m completely comfortable admitting it. After all, iMovie is designed to edit home videos shot with your digital camera, right? But again – path of least resistance. If I can edit clips, add transitions, edit the audio, why would I look for another solution?

Oh, right. Because iMovie isn’t necessarily design for screencasting. It’s designed for editing videos of things in the real world.

So where did this leave me? Easy: jumping over to ScreenFlow.

If Screeny is an application that does something well, it’s capture video of your screen. If ScreenFlow is an application that does something well, it’s simplify the point of capturing and editing screencasts to the point of it being near painless.

So yeah: path of least resistance isn’t always the best way to go.

Socialize All The Things!

Your Twitter account is private?

Yes, I want to create mystery. Or not.

Earlier this week, I was talking with one of my partners at 8BIT about how it seems every new service has to have a social component to it.

That is, so many things that come out include the ability for you to follow someone, friend someone, star someone, stalk someone, watch someone, lead someone, etc. On top of that, all of these services usually allow you to share your stuff with Facebook and Twitter.

This means that if you’re following a person on Twitter and/or Facebook and you’re following them on this service, then you’re seeing duplicate content. On a small scale, that is – with a few friends – this isn’t really that big of a deal, but as soon as you’re dealing with even something as low as 50 – 100 connections, that’s a lot of duplicate content.

This means that a portion of our time is spent looking at the same thing on different sites several times a day. Do not like.

This probably makes me sound like I’m a crotchety old man (“get off my lawn!”), but I’m not. It’s just that I want what I do during the day to be as streamlined as possible.

To that end, I ended up unfollowing a lot of people on certain services, completely killing my account on certain services, and even removing certain applications from my phone.

Don’t get me wrong: I genuinely enjoy seeing pictures that people take with Instagram (seriously, no hipster jokes here), and I like chatting with others on Twitter. I also enjoy keeping up with my family and people that I know personally on Path and Facebook.

It just became a bit much for me to see the same things shared across three or more sites and services. It just became a bit much for me to see the same things shared across three or more sites and services. It just became a bit much for me to see the same things shared across three or more sites and services. Get it?

Finally, sometimes I just want an application that works for me without the relational component tacked on. If I want to share something with my friends and/or my family then I’ll use a service specifically designed for that.

By that, I mean that we have sites like Twitter who’s primary feature is relationships (and I use that term loosely). If I want to share something I’ve done, that I’m working on, that I’ve seen, or that I’ve read, then I’ll share it on Twitter. I don’t need to share it within the app and on Twitter.

Again, this is just me. We’ve all got our workflows, but this is one part that’s significantly changed within the past two months for me.

Uninstall The Apps


Gotta uninstall a few applications.

One of the things that I love about where we stand today is that our mobile phones are more powerful than the computers that I grew up using. On top of that, we no longer have to go to large stores to buy applications. Digital distribution has done some incredible things the least of which isn’t giving us access to our usual toolset and social apps while on the go.

In my free time, one of the things that I love to do is tinker around with music. In fact, I was one of those high school kids who considered forgoing college to pursue being in a band.

Contrast that with my sitting at a desk in an Atlanta suburb writing a blog post.

Anyway, when I was younger one of the things I loved about driving was the time that it gave me to listen to music – there was nothing else to pay attention to but getting to where I needed to be.

In the past 10 – 12 years, that’s drastically changed.

Now, I can check my email, Twitter feed, Basecamp notifications, and GitHub issues while sitting in a parking lot before going into a grocery store or before the traffic light turns green.

Sure, music is playing but it’s nothing more than background noise at this point. And I hate that.

So rather than have every mobile variant of my applications on my phone, I’ve uninstalled a lot of stuff, and have done my best to streamline to only those things I need should something come up with either my business, 8BIT, or my family.

Everything else can wait until I’m back at my computer.

So far, so good. I can honestly say that it’s resulted in a more relaxed pace. That is, I find myself returning back to simply sitting in the car and listening to music, or not fidgeting for stuff while sitting on the couch.

Very few things are so critical that they can’t wait until tomorrow. I want to keep it that way.

That’s it?

I didn’t claim that this would be anything impressive and I admitted that this was going to be more of a personal, very non-WordPress centric post.

I don’t believe that you guys don’t have opinions on this either, though. So, as usual, I’m curious to hear from you guys: What things are you currently experimenting with in your workflows, how are you balancing your mobile applications with your desktop applications, and/or what’s your take on all of the above?


Join the conversation! 4 Comments

  1. I’ve started removing the majority of my “consumption apps” (Social networks, RSS clients, email) from my laptop and desktop PC’s. That way when I’m using Windows or Mac I know that I need to be doing work.

    I’ve moved all that stuff to my iOS and Android devices. That way I can do other things (cleaning, important television watching) at the same time. It also means that when I’m supposed to be doing something productive, there is less distraction and noise.

    • Ah, that’s a neat approach. Totally makes sense, too.

      Though I don’t follow your approach, I do aim to keep the number of applications installed on my desktop (and even my iPad) as low as possible. I try to use as many web apps as possible.

      As far as my phone is concerned, I do enjoy having the actual applications installed rather than their web variants.

  2. I hear you on reducing the amount of apps on your phone. It’s super easy to get app bloat. I’ve always wondered how you keep up with everything, but I guess some red lights are longer than most =p

    I’ve found it really valuable to have time that’s set apart for myself. Usually whenever I leave the office, work stops. I’ll check email, sure, but I’ll leave it unread until I get back to the office and can address it with my full attention. I’m finding that doing 100% at whatever I’m doing is best instead of divvying up my attention. If I’m playing, I’m playing 100%. If I’m working, I’m working 100%.

    • Yeah – multitasking is great to a point (listening to music while writing code, for example) but I’m not so good at managing Twitter, writing an estimate, working through email, and listening to music.

      The older I get, the more concerned I am with streamlining my workflows so that when I’m supposed to be doing any one thing, I can do so with as little distraction as possible – this includes time during work and time offline.

Leave a Reply