The computer has become the focus of our working life. If you are adopting Linux as your digital workspace, there's a good chance you're using the GNOME desktop interface.
A number of handy apps have emerged in the past few years to help you be more productive with any professional or creative task that you work hard on. Here are eight options worth checking out.
Do you like to work in silence? Some people do and some don't. Many people find it easier to focus when there is a little background noise. Going to a library or coffee shop isn't always an option, but Blanket lets you simulate the feeling.
Blanket is an ambient sound app that has different types of background sounds that you can mix and match so you don't have to open your browser or music app looking for a relaxed and non-distracting playlist. This is great because opening a browser when you don't need it is one of the easiest ways to lose track of what you're doing.
Download: Blanket (free)
2. Break timer
Contrary to what may seem intuitive, crouching and staring at the screen until a project is complete isn't the best way to go. It helps to take breaks, whether it's walking around, drinking water, or walking outside. But even with the intent, it's so easy to lose time staring at the screen for hours.
Break Timer keeps track of time for you. The app differentiates between short breaks, which are meant for your eyes and wrists, and long breaks, where you get up and move the rest of your body. You can keep the default settings or change the length of your work and break times.
Download: Break timer (free)
3. Get things GNOME
Getting Things GNOME is a to-do list app based on the Getting Things Done method of creating and managing to-do lists. While GNOME isn't the only to-do list app for the GNOME desktop, it is by far the most powerful. It also provides an example of how to make an app full of features without adding visual complexity.
Get Things GNOME is far from a new app because the original version is older than the GNOME 3 era itself. But the app stagnated for most of a decade, sticking to the old GNOME 2 design language. Fortunately, the app has received a complete redesign.
Download: Getting Things GNOME (Free)
4. Quick search
Years ago it was not uncommon to see a dictionary as an integral part of your work or study area. Now it is probably more common to simply look up the word online. But whether you turn to an online website or a search engine, you still face the same threat to your focus – opening a web browser.
With Quick Lookup, you have a small app that starts up and gets a job done quickly. So even if you are working in a program that has no dictionary functionality built in, you have a fallback that still offers a much smaller chance of being distracted.
Download: Quick search (free)
Sometimes it's not the definition of a word that you're looking for, but how to say or write the word in another language. Look at times like this dialect. You get all the benefits of Quick Lookup, but for word translation.
The dialect is able to process whole sentences, paragraphs and other blocks of text. Like many modern GNOME apps, it is scaled to fit smaller screen sizes. That said, if you have a Linux phone like the PinePhone or Librem 5, you can translate the text you come across while traveling.
Download: Dialect (free)
Wikipedia is an immensely valuable resource. Sure, it's not the best quote for a job and some inaccuracies creep in, but in general, it's a free and informative way to learn about so many things. But let's face it, getting distracted on Wikipedia is so easy that you can fall into the wiki hole.
Whether Wiki prevents or promotes this is a mixed matter. On the one hand, presenting Wikipedia in such a neat package can encourage you to spend more time on it. On the other hand, you can save pages and always have the information you need at hand. At least you save yourself the need to open a web browser and end up on your own website.
Download: Wike (free)
Apostrophe is technically a Markdown editor. If you're not familiar with Markdown, this is one of the quickest, easiest ways to format your writing without relying on the use of a specific app or format.
But apostrophes isn't mentioned here because it's a markdown editor. Apostrophe is worth considering because it's simply a quick way to start writing without the distractions. Most of the interface disappears out of the way when you start typing, and the word count at the bottom right tracks your progress. When you're done, you can export the file to PDF, HTML, or ODT.
Download: Apostrophe (free)
There are many reasons to keep track of how much time you are spending on a task. Perhaps you need to know how long you worked to get an accurate invoice for a customer. Perhaps you have an employer who needs time logs. Or maybe you feel unproductive and want to keep track of what you are actually spending time on.
Khronos does this for you without having to jump back and forth between a clock app and an open document. Do all of the tracking in Khronos and record the data elsewhere when you are ready.
Download: Chronos (free)
Improving productivity on Linux
Most Linux distributions come with the GNOME user interface, so all of the above apps will fit right in. But if GNOME isn't your thing, these apps will still work in your desktop environment of your choice, and there are plenty of other productivity apps they came from.
Many apps that work on Windows also run on Linux. Additionally, for those who recently migrated from Windows to Linux, several alternatives for Windows-only applications are available for free.
Can you run it on Linux? 11 Windows apps that work on Linux
Do you want to switch to Linux but are afraid of losing your favorite apps? Check Out These Windows Apps That Still Work On Linux!
About the author
(320 published articles)
Bertel is a digital minimalist who writes from a laptop with physical privacy switches and an operating system recommended by the Free Software Foundation. He values ethics over functions and helps others take control of their digital lives.
From Bertel King
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