how to be more productive on Linux with KDE Actions

how to be more productive on Linux with KDE Actions

Do you lose focus trying to navigate between the many programs open on your PC? Are program icons on your desktop or taskbar distracting you from the task at hand?

How To Geek shares hacks on how KDE activities solves this problem, allowing you to create separate spaces for work, study, gaming, and more.

What are KDE Actions?

KDE Activities is a powerful feature available in the KDE Plasma environment for Linux that allows you to create multiple customizable workspaces.

Each workspace can have its own application shortcuts and visual settings, allowing you to efficiently organize and switch between different environments for specific tasks.

KDE Plasma solutions for organizing workflow

Initially, we had a single desktop – for viewing and organizing all open programs. Technically, you can use multiple apps, minimizing-maximizing them when needed, but this can easily make the user interface cluttered and unproductive.

The most efficient solution would be to set up multiple monitors, but this can be expensive.

An economical solution is to use virtual desktops to create separate spaces for grouping open programs. For example, you can have a virtual desktop with a browser and word processor open side by side to do research. While in other spaces, you can have apps for notes, media apps, etc.

However, as soon as you start using virtual desktops, you will soon realize that this is not an optimal solution. For example, each desktop has the same wallpaper and icons, so there’s no visual cue that you’re in a different workspace.

Also, the Steam app is still present in the system tray even when you’re on a virtual desktop. It can be distracting.

KDE Activities will help you. Activities unique to Linux’s KDE Plasma are like virtual desktops on steroids. You can customize multiple actions for specific workflows with unique wallpapers, widgets, and different background settings. By default, you can switch between actions by pressing Windows (Meta)+Tab.

How to configure KDE actions

To configure KDE activities, open System Settings and go to Workspace Behavior > Activities. You can also use the search function and enter Activities. Click the “+ Create New” button to create a new activity.

Assign an icon for easy identification and give it a name and description. When done, click Create. You can also set privacy settings here and assign a shortcut key to quickly open this action.

How KDE Actions Help You Be More Productive

KDE Activities is a game changer when it comes to desktop productivity. It helps you create multiple actions or workspaces that can be customized for specific workflows with many customization options.

The idea is that each activity helps you focus on one specific task or need. For example, on writing, researching, planning, etc., thus minimizing distractions, simplifying workflow and maximizing productivity.

Create visually unique workspaces

KDE Activities allow you to set different wallpapers and widgets for each activity. This can help you easily navigate to a specific Activities task, thereby reducing the time and effort required to switch contexts.

For example, you can have separate Activities for work, play, and study to help you complete the respective tasks more efficiently.

To change the wallpaper, enter this action and right-click on the desktop. Click Configure Desktop and Wallpaper, and then select the desired wallpaper.

Likewise, you can add different widgets to each activity by right-clicking on the activity’s desktop and selecting the + add widget option. You can then populate each action with unique widgets to help your workflow.

Set apps to “Open only in appropriate Activities”

KDE Activities also allows you to designate different programs to open exclusively during certain activities. So even if you click on Steam while in a work activity, it will open in the Play Activity, not in the current view.

To configure this, go to System Settings > Window Management > Window Rules and then click the “+ Add New” option in the lower left corner. A new settings panel will appear. Fill in the Description field with an identifiable rule name. For Window Class, select Exact Match, and then type the name of the program in the box next to it.

Next, click the “”+ Add Property” button and select Activities from there.

In the first field, select Force, and in the second, specify the action where you want to open it. You can choose multiple actions if you want. Click Apply when finished.

You can also pin and unpin apps to the taskbar and app launcher to show them only in selected actions. This removes an extra layer of distraction and allows you to focus on the task at hand.

Just right-click the program on the taskbar, point to Pin to Task Manage, and specify an action.

Similarly, right-click an application in the application launcher, point to Show in Favorite, and specify an action.

Define different power rules and privacy settings

Each activity can have its own set of power management options. This means that if you want, you can set your Play Activity to have a sleep screen saver, while your Work Activity can have sleep turned off so you don’t accidentally miss important notifications.

To set power rules, open System Settings and go to Power Management > Activity Power Settings. You’ll get a tabbed view to switch between different actions, where you can choose Define A Special Behavior or Use Separate Settings. Click Apply when finished.

KDE Plasma also tracks user data that is intended for the system-wide search function. You can leave this on for some actions and off for others.

To do this, go to System Settings > Workspace Behavior > Activities and click the radio button next to the activity you want to change. Check the Do not track usage for this Activity box next to the privacy field and click Apply.

Combine activities with virtual desktops

When using Activities, you still have access to virtual desktops to further manage and organize your desktops.

So, in your work Activities, you may have five programs scattered across four virtual desktops, but when you switch to your learning activity, you will again have a blank canvas of four empty virtual desktops to organize your workflow.

The number of virtual desktops is the same for all actions. Also, adding or removing virtual desktops in one action will have the same effect for all actions.

Whether you’re a programmer, writer, designer, or someone who uses their PC for a variety of workloads, you can now streamline your complex workflows and stay organized with KDE Activities.

If you are not already using Plasma, install a Linux distribution with KDE Plasma to use KDE actions.

Also read on ProIT: Fedora Linux 39 is now available for download based on the Linux 6.5 kernel.

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