Dont settle with the power tools give you

Sent on May 18th, 2021

Hi, I’m Aravind Balla and you are reading letter #09 from the Hackletter where I talk about the learnings and give you behind the scenes of things I keep doing for fun.

Customising your tools

Most tools these days, come with this capability of adding plugins which let us extend the usecases of that tool. Plugins in VS Code for example. We have plugins that help us format code, run some linting checks, change the colours (themes) etc.

Similarly, note taking tools have options to customize too. Like Obsidian and Roam. You’d need some technical knowledge here but that shouldn’t stop you.

I’ve built a Roam plugin recently that helps me summarize entries from my Interstitial journal and reports the time I spent on each project in that week. This helps me exponentially while planning my weeks. I can now have an estimate on how much time I can spend doing things in a week which helps me set realistic goals for the next week and say no to things that don’t matter.

roam plugin demo

Often times, we don’t realise we can actually customize or change the set actions we perform to finish repetitive tasks. Even if the tool we use doesn’t provide plugins, we can examine if some part of the workflow can be simplified.

For example, you found an interesting thread on Twitter. You now want to copy it your note taking tool and make notes on it. You can use some sort of a shortcut (iOS) or a thread reader app which unrolls the complete thread and problem is partially solved. And you’ve simplified this for yourself every time you want to copy tweet threads. I’ve built a iOS shortcut for this. I share the tweet to the shortcut and it copies the complete thread to my clipboard. From the experience of building these things, I’ve realized there is one key thing that I follow which is working with half knowledge.

You don’t need to know everything. You can figure things out on your way. Keep what you want to achieve in mind.

On a similar note, I've recorded a 9 minute audio with Reddy on this topic. 👉 customising, tailor-making and playing with products, apps & services

Closing thoughts - Don’t settle with the current power of the tools. Try extending the capabilities to your requirements. Help yourself and help others along the way. At the end of the day, its a great learning experience.

Practiced some hand lettering over the weekend

less is more

Have good week ahead. See you next Tuesday!

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