How I Work

This article is as much for me as it is for the public to remind me how I’ve organized my life. It will also include my notes on time management, productivity, using Nextcloud like a Personal Information Manager (PIM), and other organization life tips.

The name How I work was inspired by Lifehacker’s series of the same name. The series hasn’t been updated since 2019, perhaps they’ve ended it?

Everything in One Place

My greatest obstacle was tinkering with the endless series of tools instead of using said tools to be productive. There is a lot of great software out there both proprietary and open source self-hosted solutions. If it exists I have likely tried it. How did I decide what to use?

The answer was actually quite simple. I had numerous tools at my fingertips. I figured I would naturally gravitate to the most seamless solution. One that made it easy to collect data and even easier to find it. My solution?

Nextcloud.

There are prettier tools. But Nextcloud is a workhorse. If installed with PHP8.0 and Redis it’s quite fast. The search is amazing as it searches across the entire Nextcloud ecosystem. My contacts, calendar, bookmarks, passwords, notes, files, and photos are all stored in Nextcloud. The mobile apps (I’m on Android) are very good. I live in the Notes app. Whether I’m in a meeting or trying to remember an obscure command line syntax, I find my answer quickly in Notes.

Note Taking

I want as little as possible installed on my work laptop. I use a batch file resident on an SD card to map my Nextcloud’s WebDAV service to a drive letter. I then use Visual Studio Code to create and edit my notes. This avoids me having to have the Nextcloud client installed or using a standalone application such as Joplin. All notes are stored in my Notes directory in Nextcloud and are available in the app or via the web. I exported years worth of notes out of Joplin into hundreds, if not thousands, of markdown files. Search is lightning fast. There are prettier apps. But none have the search accuracy and speed I have with Nextcloud.