Last week I made a revolutionary choice (for me anyway) and switched from using a light Textmate theme to a theme with a dark background.

In the past whenever I have fooled around with the preference settings in textmate I've always felt that there could be no way that I would choose a theme with a dark background over a light background. The high contrast of the dark background always seemed far too intense for my eyes and made it almost ridiculously hard to follow text on the page.

But now - for good or bad - I am sticking with the unmodified Textmate theme called twilight. The contrast is less severe than some of the other dark themes and it may turn out to be a useful way to make a small change in my workflow.

Change is a good thing.

In the past I've written about my template toolkit and then afterwards some changes to the basic kit that I use to build a Joomla template. I find that when I make even the smallest change to my working environment, it can (sometimes) be a boon for productivity.

The thing about habits is that they often form without you noticing them. Habits can be helpful and they can certainly be comfortable but they may not necessarily be productive. I'm certain that even small changes in a designer / developer's workflow can help encourage their brain plasticity and encourage them to think, react and problem solve issues more efficiently.

A small example

As an example, a few weeks ago I switched the mac finder to sit on the left of the screen rather than at the bottom as it has for the last five years. A small difference that took time to adjust too - I think I was still automatically reaching for the bottom of the screen for a week or so - but nevertheless it was a change that has helped to shake things up in my working environment.

The result of the change has some practical outcomes like less clutter at the bottom of my screen but I think the real benefit is less tangible than that. Each time we make a small change to the way we approach any type of activity it encourages us to grow and evolve. It's in the process of adapting to a new environment or new conditions that we find the most benefit.

I can't say exactly what the benefit of coding on a dark screen will necessarily be right now and perhaps it'll prove to be a fleeting change, but right now it feels good and that somehow it's helping me to keep fresh and become more aware of my habits.

Over to you.

Im interested in hearing about your experience of change.

  • What are the things that you can change in your workflow?
  • What are the things that you don't want to change?
  • Are there times that you've made a change to your workflow that have turned out to be super / counter productive?
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