A few weeks ago we moved the furniture around. The biggest objective was to get some desk space setup in a more usable fashion. I find myself doing this a couple times a year. It's easy for me to get in the habit of having everything a certain way without realizing that the chair I like to sit on is always in the sun during the mornings when I like to write, or that I never put the dishes away, because the cabinets were arranged backwards. The same sort of thing happens with computers and the way we use technology.
Matt Lundin and I were talking about this a couple of weeks ago. I think at the core of the issue is that the kind of work we do with computers, changes subtly: either what we do actually changes as a result of our progress, or we learn more about what we're doing and what we ought to be doing from completing work. Like the furniture, it's easy to get accustomed to doing things in one particular way and not realize that there's a better way.
It's useful then to spend a little time every now and then to do a little bit of digital spring cleaning. There are two major parts of this process:
3. Figure out if "what you do" has changed significantly. As our projects grow the work we do changes, sometimes in ways that make it hard to continue to organize our efforts and tools in the same way.
4. Looking for new tools that you can use to do what you do. This includes flat out new tools of which you weren't aware, little automations that you may be able to build, and tools that solve problem domains that you'd previously ignored. It's also sometimes useful to look at your tools and figure out what is more trouble than it's worth. Ideally these don't all change annually, but it's worth doing a review.
There's no guarantee, of course, that you'll find a solution to any issue that you come across but you might. You might also be able to gain new insights into issues that have nagged at you by approaching a number of issues and pain points all at once. It's also, I'm pretty sure, more productive to spend most of your time doing stuff (writing, coding, etc.) even if your world isn't perfectly optimized, than it is to spend all your time tinkering with things.
And the sofa really does look better over there.
Onward and Upward!