Add some magic to the way you work via ssh by using a config file to allow you to make shortcuts.
Access and work on your remote database sever from localhost using phpMyAdmin. It only requires a few changes to the configuration file found in the phpMyAdmin folder.
Good design is always nice, great design is even better, but until you can reach that point you first need to understand design itself, what it means and why it matters so much.
A very useful feature in Sublime Text 2 that makes editing of multiple instances of the same word very fast. This will definitely save you some time and help you code faster.
Sublime Text 2 is my editor of choice when it comes to web development. It contains all the basic features plus a lot more made available though packages, a very usable interface and it's also available on all major platforms.