12 Best Productivity Tools for Developers to Enhance Performance (2023)
According to a global survey of 2020, approximately 59.5 percent of developers reported a positive impact on productivity due to remote work setups enforced by COVID-19.
Similarly, pair programming was enjoyed by 96% of respondents in an online survey and also showed increased confidence among developers.
What does all of this data mean?
It means that there is a direct correlation between using certain SaaS apps in your daily workflow and experiencing a peak in your focus and productivity.
For example, there is a specific tool (which we will discuss) that allows you to engage in pair programming without requiring another person.
Moreover, there are tools available that perform such multiple tasks effectively while keeping costs low.
To help you enhance your development process, we have compiled a list of the 12 best productivity tools and how they can help you become a better developer.
GitHub Copilot is your pair programmer, but way less annoying and much cooler.
From suggesting code in specific sentences to writing entire functions in real-time, GitHub Copilot is the real deal, supporting multiple programming languages.
Similar to providing text-based prompts to a language model like ChatGPT, you can do the same with Copilot by giving it instructions on what you want, and it will generate the code for you.
The whole idea behind Copilot is to help you bypass the repetitive process of writing boilerplate code and focus on what really matters: building great software.
One of its smartest features is its recommendation system, which provides suggestions as you start writing code. This is really helpful and time-saving.
And the coolest part?
GitHub Copilot seamlessly integrates into your favorite IDE, including VS Code, JetBrains IDEs, and more.
It’s also highly valuable when learning something new, whether it’s a specific library or an entirely new programming language.
GitHub Copilot offers a 30-day free trial, after which you can choose to upgrade to one of their paid plans:
- Copilot for individuals ($10/month)
- Copilot for business ($19/month/member)
Useful Features of GitHub Copilot
- AI-powered real-time code suggestion and generation
- Supports multiple programming languages
- Instruction-based coding with text-based prompts
- The smart code recommendation feature
- Integration with popular IDEs like VS Code and JetBrains IDEs
- Useful for learning new libraries and languages
Sunsama is an amazing digital daily planner that’s perfect for busy professionals like you.
To start off, Sunsama provides guided daily planning. It helps you plan your day by guiding you to prioritize tasks, set realistic goals, and make the most of your precious time.
And speaking of time, Sunsama offers a unified daily view where you can see all your tasks, meetings, and deadlines in one place.
With Sunsama, you can timebox your tasks, which means allocating specific time slots for each activity.
Oh, and here’s a cool feature: you can simply drag and drop tasks from your project and task management tools directly into Sunsama.
Sunsama understands that emails and Slack messages can be major distractions, so it lets you set aside dedicated time to tackle them (you can also create automation for them).
And of course, Sunsama syncs with your calendar, ensuring you never miss a beat.
Auto-scheduling is another neat feature. Sunsama intelligently suggests optimal time slots for your tasks based on your preferences and availability.
Sunsama is available as a web app and as a mobile app for both Android and iOS. Additionally, they have an app for iOS and macOS. They offer a 14-day free trial, and if you find it useful, you can choose to upgrade to the paid plan that costs $20/month.
Useful Features of Sunsama
- Guided daily planning
- Timeboxing functions
- Email and Slack message management
- Auto-scheduling (meeting management)
- Weekly Review and Planning
- Focus mode
I’ve been using Rize for a long time now, and I must say this: it couldn’t get any better.
Rize is an intelligent, AI-powered time-tracking software that categorizes your time to help you engage in high-quality deep work sessions.
One of its standout features is the automatic time tracker, which starts tracking your time as soon as you begin working, eliminating the need to manually start or stop timers.
At the end of each day and week, you receive detailed daily and weekly reports directly in your inbox. These emails provide specific information about your productivity and how you spent your time.
Moreover, Rize offers break notifications, eliminating the need for an external Pomodoro timer by reminding you when to take breaks.
You can also create custom categories to define your activities throughout the day, enhancing the precision of time tracking.
Additionally, Rize seamlessly integrates with your Google and Outlook Calendar, gaining insights into your daily schedule.
Rize is available for download on macOS and Windows. It offers both a free plan and a paid plan with a 7-day free trial, priced at $14.99 per month ($9.99 per month with annual billing).
Useful Features of Rize
- Intelligent AI-powered automatic time tracking
- Detailed daily and weekly Gmail reports
- Focus Time Analysis
- Break and overworking notifications
- Customizable activity categories
- Seamless integration with Google and Outlook Calendar
Sourcegraph is an impressive code intelligence tool that can assist you in fixing even the most complex sets of code.
One of its products is called Cody, which answers any code questions you have by analyzing your entire code database in context.
Additionally, Sourcegraph’s universal code search feature allows you to find high-quality code for specific purposes by searching across thousands of repositories.
What’s more, the automation feature, known as batch changes, enables you to automate code modifications on a large scale.
With a single declarative file, you can make code changes to all relevant files without having to do the work twice.
Sourcegraph also provides a comprehensive view of all the changes that have occurred in your code throughout the entire process.
In terms of tracking, Sourcegraph’s Code Insights feature allows you to set and measure goals, track ownership and trends, and even create custom dashboards for visual tracking, similar to what we can do in Airtable.
Sourcegraph offers a 15-day free trial, and the Enterprise Starter plan starts at $5,000 per year.
Useful Features of Sourcegraph
- Cody for to answers code questions
- Find high-quality code with a universal code search
- Automate code changes at a large scale
- Code Insights feature to set and measure code goals
- Create custom dashboards for tracking
Visual Studio Code is one of the fastest IDEs and an intuitive code editor for productivity, personally speaking.
It provides you with a great coding environment and allows you to test code in nearly every programming language imaginable.
Its IntelliSense feature goes beyond sentence autocompletion and syntax highlighting. It offers smart suggestions based on variable types, imported modules, and more.
Additionally, it also includes all the built-in Git commands, which means you can execute any command directly from the VS Code editor.
One standout feature that makes VS Code exceptional is its ability to install and run extensions.
Similar to WordPress plugins, we have extensions for VS Code.
Whether you want to add a new IDE theme or additional functionality for a specific language, there are free extensions available for everything.
Furthermore, since extensions run independently, you don’t have to worry about them slowing down the application.
Useful Features of Visual Studio Code
- Fast and intuitive IDE and code editor
- Powerful IntelliSense feature with smart suggestions
- Built-in Git commands for version control
- Extensibility through a vast library of free extensions
- Cross-platform availability (Windows, Mac, Linux)
Focusmate is a virtual coworking app that helps you stay focused on your tasks by virtually partnering with someone from the community.
The concept is similar to the ‘Study With Me’ or ‘Work With Me’ YouTube videos that many YouTubers, especially productivity YouTubers, frequently release.
Focusmate offers three different types of time-blocking sessions:
- 25-minute sessions
- 50-minute sessions
- 75-minute sessions
If you enjoy working with someone and would like to work with them again, you can ‘favorite’ them.
Since Focusmate is a web-based solution, there’s no need to download any app. Simply book a session and join with just a few clicks.
To ensure you never miss a session, you’ll also receive a calendar invite. Additionally, they provide gender-matching preferences.
Focusmate also allows integration with the developer API and a tool called Beeminder, which is a goal-tracking app.
Focusmate offers a forever-free plan that allows you to attend three sessions per week. If you desire more, you can explore their Plus plan, which costs $9.99 per month (or $6.99 per month with yearly billing) and provides unlimited sessions.
Useful Features of Focusmate
- Virtual coworking app for focused work sessions
- Offers 25, 50, and 75-minute time-blocking sessions
- Ability to “favorite” and work with preferred partners
- Calendar invites to never miss a session
- Integration with developer API
Habitica is a gamification app that helps you have fun and stay motivated while completing your tasks.
It treats your real life like a game and holds you accountable for completing your daily goals and to-do lists, helping you build long-term habits.
Habitica uses positive and negative reinforcements to improve task efficiency. It rewards you when you complete tasks and punishes you when you fail to do so.
The rewards include upgrading your avatar and unlocking other in-game features such as pets, battle armor, and magic skills.
Even better, you can redeem the rewards (gold) to purchase additional in-game features or even watch an episode of your favorite TV show.
Habitica has use cases for almost every field, including health and fitness, school, and business.
Habitica offers free apps for Android and iOS, with in-app purchases starting at $4.99 per month.
Useful Features of Habitica
- Gamification approach
- Long-term habit building
- Positive and negative reinforcements
- Avatar upgrades (gamification)
- Reward redemption
If you are a freelance developer, it is likely that you are working with multiple clients on multiple projects simultaneously. In that case, Plaky’s minimal task management capabilities can be extremely useful.
Plaky offers everything you need to effectively manage your tasks and projects while effortlessly collaborating with your co-workers.
The user-friendly dashboard allows you to view everything in one place, eliminating any confusion or disorientation.
Whether you’re writing personal or business tasks for the day, assigning tasks or projects to others, or simply organizing your workflow, Plaky’s different views and customization options enable you to accomplish tasks efficiently.
In addition to inviting members to work on specific projects together, you can also mention them in comments, ensuring they receive a notification.
Furthermore, Plaky allows you to track the progress of completed and ongoing work. The filter options enable you to sort tasks based on priority, due date, and more.
Plaky is a free task management app available on both iOS and Android platforms.
Useful Features of Plaky
- Effective task and project management
- Seamless collaboration with co-workers
- User-friendly dashboard for a consolidated view
- Different views and customization options for efficient task management
- Ability to invite members and mention them in comments
- Progress tracking for completed and ongoing work
- Filter options for sorting tasks based on priority, due date, and more
- Available as a free task management app on iOS and Android platforms.
MantisBT is dedicated to keeping track of those pesky bugs and issues that tend to arise during software development. It is a bug-tracking software with a user-friendly interface.
With MantisBT, you can specify the severity of a bug, assign it to a team member, set a due date, and even attach relevant files.
But wait, there’s more!
MantisBT is not just about bug tracking. It can also serve as a comprehensive project management tool that enables effective collaboration with your team.
You can create multiple projects, each with its own set of issues, and effortlessly switch between them.
MantisBT ensures everyone stays informed by sending email notifications whenever a new issue or update occurs.
Additionally, it allows you to add comments, engage in discussions, and even share files related to each issue.
Being open source, MantisBT is free to download, install, and modify according to your preferences.
Useful Features of MantisBT
- Bug Tracking
- Project Management
- Collaboration Tools
- User-Friendly Interface
- Automatic email notifications (team)
- Customize fields, creating categories and tags
Obsidian is a note-taking and knowledge management tool designed with developers in mind (but honestly, it’s great for anyone who loves organizing their thoughts).
First and foremost, Obsidian prioritizes simplicity and flexibility.
It utilizes plain text and Markdown, a lightweight formatting language, to maintain a clean and readable interface.
But here’s the exciting part:
Obsidian revolves around creating connections. It allows you to build a web of interconnected notes, forming your own personal knowledge base.
Obsidian enables you to establish links between notes (bidirectional linking), and what’s truly remarkable is that these links work in both directions.
So, if you link Note A to Note B, you can effortlessly navigate back to A from B with a simple click (and they show as connected in a graph view).
Obsidian also provides powerful features like tags, which enable you to categorize and filter your notes with ease.
Moreover, with its robust search functionality, locating a specific note you wrote ages ago becomes a breeze.
Did I mention that all your data remains in your hands?
Obsidian stores your notes locally on your computer, ensuring that you have complete control over your data.
Obsidian’s Personal plan is free to use. Its Catalyst plan costs $25 as a one-time fee. Lastly, the Commercial plan is priced at $50 per year per member (includes a 14-day free trial).
Useful Features of Obsidian
- Plain text and Markdown-based note-taking
- Web of interconnected notes with a graph-based interface
- Bidirectional linking for effortless navigation between related notes
- Powerful organization features including tags and search functionality
- Customizable themes to match your preferred style
- Support for plugins to extend the functionality
CodeSandbox.io is an outstanding online code editor and development environment that will greatly enhance your coding experience.
With CodeSandbox.io, you can forget about the headaches of setting up your local development environment. Say goodbye to complex installations and configurations.
All you need is your web browser and an internet connection, and you’re good to go!
One of the most impressive features of CodeSandbox.io is its live preview functionality. As you write and edit your code, you can see the changes in real time without having to constantly switch between your code editor and browser.
Collaboration is a breeze with CodeSandbox.io. You can easily share your sandboxed projects with others using a simple link, allowing them to view and edit the code simultaneously.
It’s excellent for team collaboration, pair programming, or even teaching and learning.
CodeSandbox is available as an iOS app, works in the browser, and is also available as an extension for VS Code. For personal use, they offer a free plan and a Personal Pro plan that costs $15/month. For business use, the Team Pro plan is available at $18/month.
Useful Features of CodeSandbox
- Online code editor and development environment
- Live preview for real-time feedback
- Seamless collaboration and simultaneous code editing
- Integration with version control systems like Git
- Package management support
F.lux is the ultimate productivity tool for developers and anyone who spends hours in front of screens.
It intelligently adjusts the color temperature of your screen throughout the day, allowing you to work comfortably and get a good night’s sleep.
So, how does it work?
Well, it’s all about reducing the detrimental effects of blue light emitted by your screen. You see, blue light can disrupt your sleep patterns and cause eye fatigue.
With F.lux, your screen’s color temperature automatically adapts to the time of day and your location.
During the daytime, it keeps your screen bright and cool, mirroring the natural daylight. This helps you stay focused and energized.
However, as evening approaches, F.lux gradually shifts your screen towards warmer and more soothing tones.
Using F.lux is easy. Simply install the application on your computer or mobile device, and let it work its magic.
F.lux seamlessly operates in the background, adjusting your screen’s color temperature without you even noticing.
You can customize the settings to fine-tune the transition speed and intensity of the color temperature changes.
Useful Features of F.lux
- Adjusts screen color temperature throughout the day
- Reduces blue light emitted by screens
- Adapts to time of day and location
- Works in the background
- Customizable settings for transition speed and intensity
These developer productivity tools are simply brilliant, good to have, and designed to enhance performance and streamline workflow.
Here are some action-oriented takeaways from each tool:
- Try GitHub Copilot to accelerate coding: GitHub Copilot offers AI-powered real-time code suggestions and generation, saving you time and helping you focus on building great software.
- Take control of your day with Sunsama: Experience the difference Sunsama can make in streamlining your tasks, achieving your goals, and maximizing your valuable time.
- Improve code intelligence with SourceGraph: SourceGraph’s Cody can answer your code questions, while universal code search helps you find high-quality code.
- Optimize your coding experience with Visual Studio Code: Visual Studio Code is a fast and intuitive IDE with powerful features like IntelliSense and built-in Git commands.
- Boost focus with Focusmate: Try Focusmate, a virtual coworking app that keeps you accountable and productive.
- Gamify your productivity with Habitica: Make task completion fun and build long-term habits with Habitica’s gamification approach.
- Streamline task management with Plaky: Plaky is a minimal task management app that helps freelance developers effectively manage projects and collaborate with ease. Utilize its user-friendly dashboard, collaboration features, and progress-tracking capabilities.
- Optimize time tracking with Rize: Rize’s AI-powered time tracking simplifies the process and provides detailed reports of your productivity.
- Enhance bug tracking and project management with MantisBT: Assign and track issues, collaborate with your team, and benefit from email notifications and customization options.
- Organize your knowledge with Obsidian: Obsidian is a note-taking and knowledge management tool that allows you to create interconnected notes, establish links, and easily navigate your personal knowledge base.
- Simplify coding and collaboration with CodeSandbox: CodeSandbox.io is an online code editor and development environment that eliminates the need for local setups.
- Protect your eyes and improve sleep with F.lux: Install F.lux to adjust your screen’s color temperature throughout the day, reducing the negative effects of blue light.
By incorporating these productivity tools into your workflow, you can enhance your performance as a developer, save time, and stay focused on what matters most—building exceptional software.