My Workflow in 2021

3 minute read

A table documenting how long you can work on making a routine task more efficient before you're spending more time than you save.
Is it worth the time? (CC BY-NC 2.5 by XKCD)

I wrote about my workflow in more detail in 2020. Not a lot has changed, so this text is shorter and focuses on the changes.


  • MacBook Pro (Retina, 13-inch, Mid 2014)
  • Kobo Aura H2O Edition 2
  • iPhone XR
  • Remarkable 2

The MacBook I’ve been using for years is still going strong, which is pretty impressive given the current standards of disposable hardware.


  • Pocket
  • Remarkable 2
  • Kobo Aura H2O Edition 2
  • Zotero + Zotfile + MacOS Preview

I got my Remarkable 2 after some time I last wrote about my workflow, and it’s worked more or less like I expected. It allows me to read articles on a nicer screen, while taking notes on the PDF file itself. This is convenient, but moving those notes somewhere more permanent is not, which means that I don’t really do that. I read a lot of texts for seminars, or while reviewing them, where this is not really a problem: the notes I take are about a particular text, not so much about the concepts behind it.

I originally had a nice automatic sync going on between my Zotero and my Remarkable, but the company behind the device decided to kill the older sync API and introduce a paid one instead. I dislike that decision for multiple reasons, but currently killing my convenient workflow is the top one.

I haven’t really managed to solve the problem of staying up to speed with my reading. I have 208 articles in my Zotero To Read folder and I’m currently reading articles added in April 2018, which means that I haven’t managed to catch up on my reading since last year.


  • Neovim
  • Google Docs
  • Microsoft Word
  • Scrivener
  • nValt
  • Zettlr/Obsidian
  • Physical notebook (with bullet journal)

I still write mostly in two places: in Neovim when I have the choice and in Google Docs when I’m collaborating. Microsoft Word is also necessary, since most of the texts I have to edit or comment come in that format.

I managed to write a whole article manuscript in Scrivener, which was an interesting change, but wasn’t really more convenient than writing in Neovim. It’s optimised for longer texts, so that makes sense.

I’ve been trying a bunch of note-taking software for creating more permanent notes in the form of a Zettelkasten. Most of the notes I’ve taken over the years are not very useful afterwards, so I’m trying to figure out if I could build something more permanent that would help me think in the long term. I spent way too much time trying to figure out the best way to do this, which is pretty typical to me. I currently have 88 notes. I created most of the notes in Zettlr, but I’m currently trying if Obsidian would work better. The best feature of both of them is that they can work with Zotero, meaning I can easily cite my research database while writing notes.

I also started keeping a bullet journal in a physical notebook. I tried different ways of using a notebook and taking notes before without much success. Moving my todos and agendas into a physical notebook is probably less convenient than having everything sync between my devices, but that friction seems productive: I don’t have as much less important todo-items making my lists long and stress-inducing. I’m halfway through my second bullet journal, so it seems to have become a consistent habit.


  • Neomutt
  • Zoom
  • Teams
  • Slack/Ripcord

I briefly tried going back to Apple Mail for reading my email, but good hotkeys were just too convenient to give up. Neomutt is sometimes inconvenient to use, but nothing has given me as much control on how I read and organise my email.

I started working in a new project that needed a way to communicate. We picked Slack, mostly because that was something people were previously familiar with. I use Ripcord instead of the official Slack client, mostly because it’s much easier on the limited resources of my old computer.

Backups & File sync

  • Nextcloud

I’m still using Nextcloud to sync all my files. We also started using it in our project. It’s not always intuitive to use, but seems to work most of the time well enough.