I went to a great presentation by Neal Ford last week at the DJUG, entitled the Productive Programmer. Neal is a sharp guy, a good speaker, and a solid thinker on improving productivity. Go ahead and CRTL-Enter nealford in your address bar to check out his site (you'll see what I mean).
The talk was a bit of a wake-up for me. His premise is that the rise of the IDE has made programmers, well, lazy (my words, I don't think he went so far). I realized that I have let some old but valuable skills languish in the past few years. So Neal's talk has inspired me to sharpen the saw back up. For example, I have made the decision that Ruby will be my scripting power tool moving forward (used to be Perl), and I will not shy away from opportunities to explore automation (even if it is initially just exercise).
Another point that resonated with me was the idea of the "perfect" editor. I do think that I am now as productive over all in Eclipse as I used to be in Emacs (with a side trip through NetBeans). But Neal hit on two things that are missing: Multiple cut/paste buffers (kill-loop in Emacs) and editor scripting. Though I am intrigued by the lightweight JEdit, I am determined to stay in Eclipse and make the best of it. I think that surely these two deficiencies can be addressed.
On the multiple buffers front, I quickly came up with an answer that works for me: CLCL. This tool is actually a utility that caches your Windows clipboard. So CRTL-C still works like normal, but you can also reach back in time and paste something from 30 cuts ago. Sounds trivial, but it can change the way you edit.