Productivity comes down to the tools you have and how you use them. These are the tools I use on a regular basis.
Simplify your SSH commands with SSH configuration files
The appearance of windows in Gnome can be tweaked by applying custom CSS. Here is a hack for slimming down the height of application title bars.
Use an alias to quickly list all SSH hosts defined in your SSH config
Encrypting an Ubuntu Server that you have physical access is a fairly easy and straight forward process. But what happens if you don't have physical access to the server? How do you enter the passphrase to unlock the drive during boot?
I've been considering moving my data off of cloud services such as CrashPlan and Dropbox and putting it back onto hardware that I own and fully control. In my new setup I have opted to store my data in a fault tolerant method using ZFS.