08/23/14 19:00:19

My Work and Freetime Macros

I’ve shared my menubar recently, which lead to some interesting discussion. Not because my menubar would be tremendously interesting, but because other geeks like to know what’s in my menubar. Fair enough.

As you may know. I’m very much a minimalist. I don’t like things to be packed full under the brim. I like it small and neat, well in this case anyway.

For me personally there’s no need to have all apps running that I could potentially be needing all day. Some examples:

These are nice apps. I use CloudApp to share pictures regularly, but I don’t find it necessary to have it on all the time. Instead I use Spotlight or LaunchBar to open the app, drag an image onto it, share it, close it. That’s my workflow. I don’t feel like the 2 or 3 seconds, I have to wait for the app to be ready, to be a waste of my time, because, honestly, what am I supposed to do with that time? I agree that if I’d share one picture an hour, it would make sense to have the app running all the time, but as much as I use it, it just makes no sense. OmniPresence is an even better example, because when I work with OmniPlan (iOS) or OmniGraffle (iOS) I work exclusively on one platform. When I want to have the changes on my Mac, I open the app, wait for it to sync, close it.

That’s how I get rid of most menubar apps. Other examples for apps where it’s unnecessary to have a menubar icon are pretty much every Twitter client. These days almost every app wants to put a menubar icon up. One of the first things that I deactivate. I don’t need to have Twitter punching into my face all the time.2 TextExpander doesn’t need a menubar icon either. It’s running constantly, so why have a menubar icon? Hazel? No menubar icon.

I got more screen real estate by using iStat Menus’ customizable Battery icon, which allows for different states depending on whether the Mac is connected to a wall or not. If it’s connected to a wall, I just show a battery icon, if not I show how much time is left on the battery.

My best tip I can share is have apps only running when actually needed. Best distinguishing factor is “work” and “free time”. Some examples for work apps:

Some examples for free time apps:

All of these apps put up a menubar icon, but since F.lux, for example, is only actually active at night, I can’t see a reason why to have it running between 10am and 10pm.

It is probably no surprise that for these reasons, I have a Keyboard Maestro macro that starts apps when generally needed, and closes apps that are not. The macro does a couple more things. Like it closes Twitter, Facebook, Google+ and other distractions (Hello Feed The Beast!) automatically, so that I don’t get a chance to use them during the day.

A word of warning: This is my personal workflow. This might be too crass for many folks, but it works for me. I’m using my computer this way for over two years and it benefits my productivity greatly. If this is not for you, don’t blame me, don’t even blame yourself. This is radical.

I used to have five different macros for this, but recently decided to consolidate everything into one macro using date calculations. I know this macro is really really long and complicated3, but essentially the main parts are:

  1. Yes, Edi, I bought Command-C, you jerk. 

  2. Especially considering that I don’t allow myself to use Twitter on OS X from 11am until 6pm. 

  3. If the image is too small, here’s the original. http://cl.ly/image/2Y2O0G2E173c