Zenhabits-Inspired Post on My Essential Windows PC Setup

Zenhabits has taught me many useful strategies for living my days peacefully and joyfully, which has been an essential part to my recovery from Chronic Fatigue Syndrome.

Although Leo Babauta’s post on his Essential Mac Setup may seem like it is for Mac users only, it provides brilliant insights into what tools and functionalities we need in order to enjoy a Zen-like workflow on any computer regardless of the platform. What’s missing is a list of Windows PC equivalents of the Mac applications Leo is using, and this post attempts to provide this list.

Even though Leo has been my teacher for a long time, I was still surprised when I realized that my Windows PC is set up almost identically, in terms of functionality, as Leo’s Mac. I’m sharing my essential Windows PC setup in hopes that it will help the Windows users among us Zenhabits readers experience the same levels of peace of mind, happiness, and productivity that our Mac friends enjoy.

Below I list the programs Leo mentioned together with the Windows PC equivalents that I use.

Essential Mac Apps and Their Windows PC Equivalents

1. OmmWriter/Byword – MS Word or Windows Live Writer. When I press Ctrl+F1 in Word the “ribbon” up top disappears and the otherwise complex program turns into a simple, vast, open space, inviting me to write down my thoughts. Additionally, you can prevent distracting underlines from appearing under misspelled words by going into the proofing options of Word and disabling “Check spelling as you type.” To transition my writing from Word to WordPress, I have to copy it from Word into Live Writer and then from Live Writer into WordPress.

2. Launchbar – I’ve pinned my favorite programs to my taskbar and can access them by pressing the keyboard combination “Windows Key + 1,2,3, etc.” Alternatively, I use Autohotkey as explained here. While Autohotkey comes with a steep learning curve, it also boasts endless potential: You can literally automate any task that you do repeatedly on your computer. It’s my favorite application for Windows.

3. Dropbox – Dropbox is as amazing on a Windows PC as it is on a Mac.

4. 1Password – LastPass. Very much like 1Password, I believe. I just started using it today after reading Leo’s recommendation of 1Password for Mac.

5. TextExpander – Autohotkey with the script suggested at the bottom of this site. After activating the script add a new “hotstrings” by highlighting a string of text on your screen and then pressing WindowsKey+H on your keyboard.

6. National Velocity – I use OneNote or an ongoing document in Google Drive. I like Google Drive because it syncs without delay between my smartphone and my PC. Sometimes when I lie down for a power nap, I start journaling on a great idea on my smartphone Google Drive app. Then, when I get back up to continue my work, I can continue on my PC exactly where I left off on my phone.

7. Transmit – Filezilla is my favorite FTP software for Windows

8. Google Chrome – I love my good old Firefox because I prefer Leechblock over StayFocusd. No doubt though that Google Chrome is better overall.

Other Mac Utilities and Their Windows PC Equivalents

1. Flycut – Ditto. Just installed it after reading Leo’s post and this post on Lifehacker.

2. Mindful Mynah – Stillness Buddy – works like Mindful Mynah, I believe.– I love it beyond limits. It reminds me to be mindful and features beautiful quotes of many of revered spiritual teachers as well as unreligious relaxation exercises.

3. Anki/Genius – Anki – This software truly is amazing. Whatever you want to memorize, create a well formulated flash card for it in Anki, and you are on your way to memorizing it forever. I use Anki for learning new words (English is my second language), programming syntax, and keyboard shortcuts.

4. Timeout – Stillness Buddy – I think this one covers the functionality of, both, Mindful Mynah and Timeout.

5. Low Battery Saver – I use Windows built-in low battery alarm.

6. Transmission – I don’t use a bit torrent, but if I would, I would use µTorrent.

7. Handbrake – I don’t use this software, but if I would I would use Handbrake for Windows.


I have nothing to add to Leo’s awesome collection of WordPress tools.

Over to you

Do you have experience with Windows PC applications and tools that are equivalent to Leo’s Mac setup? Share them in the comments – I promise to update this post if you make me aware of applications that are even better than the ones I have shared.

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