A pretty trivial post but something I’ve been doing for a while now is keeping my dock as a vertical bar on the right of my screen. I started doing this years ago when I was working on Windows and it was too difficult to track every single program that was running. At that point I was in finance and would have a dozen Excel workbooks open and needed to be able to quickly switch between them. The only way I could do this with a bottom toolbar was by making it extremely thick which would take up too much space. Moving it to the side solved that problem and I stuck with it as I moved to Ubuntu and now OS X.
These days I have significantly fewer programs running at once and I’m much better at hopping between programs but it’s surprising what a good dock location can do for efficiency. Getting everything right only saves a fraction of a second but doing this countless times a day adds up. As important as tools are, the way they are access and used is just as important. The challenge is getting stuck with a suboptimal routine that you’re used to and not moving to a more optimal one since the short term cost is high. The greatest example of this is probably the Dvorak keyboard layout - in theory it’s significantly faster than QWERTY and yet virtually everyone is using the slower QWERTY approach. It’s just good enough.