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6 Effective Tips for Developers to Maximize Productivity

Tim Ferris


Focus on being productive instead of being busy.’

Many of us today confuse ‘ busy’ with ‘productive’. Being busy simply means that you don’t have much free time due to a great number of tasks of the worklog that you’re trying to do. Being productive is when you do quality work to finish your important tasks or get closer to the goal. 

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Being a programmer instantly means that you have a lot on your plate but if you spend too much time reading through emails or iterating repetitive tasks, you can end up just ‘ being busy’ without much productivity to display. 

How can you get more productive as a developer instead of being just ‘busy’?

Tip 1. Know When to hit ‘Pause’

Writing codes can really get intense especially when coding for multiple hours in a row. After a while, you’ll find yourself staring at the screen not knowing how to solve the problem in front of you. 

Productivity is not the same as the number of hours spent behind the screen – staring aimlessly at the screen can give you a false sense of productivity yet don’t get fooled. 

You should clear your head for a few minutes as it will surely revive your focus. You can stretch your legs with a short walk, exercises or a dance or just bring yourself some food or water to move from a dead spot. 

Once you get back to the same problem, you will have a fresh perspective whilst you do some other everyday task. 

Joyce Wheeler


“Sometimes it’s better to leave something alone, to pause, and that’s very true of programming.”

Tip 2. Automate where possible

Every job in the world has some parts of the work process that are very repetitive and programming is no exception. Depending on the work task you do, you can also automate some part of the programming process.  

Automation can help you spend less time doing manual and time consuming things. Firstly, you need to devote some time to create the script to automate a certain task but in the long run, it will help you more than you thought. 

Source: drsimaging.com

Automation is not important only for saving you some time of manual work but it also helps you not to break your focus when doing something important or urgent.

Automating certain parts of the work process will definitely help you to focus on more important tasks as the automation will take care of the tedious tasks.  

Tip 3. Prioritize

This sounds rather boring but not all of your tasks are critically important so don’t treat them like they’re the same. 

Your most important tasks are the ones with responsibility to create the most critical results you should accomplish.

All it takes is:  Identify your most important tasks and do them first.

Don’t overwhelm yourself with tasks – create a to-do list and prioritize your daily tasks.

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Build a discipline of scheduling time to work on your priorities – do that prioritized task FIRST in the morning. 

Don’t multitask: focus on a single task at a time, and complete it before you move onto the next task.

Sometimes it is okay to help your coworker and share the burden of a complicated task however, don’t hang on to it for too long. 

Finish your most important tasks before reading or answering emails and phone calls. 

Tip 4. Create a Plan Before Coding

No matter the type of task you need to do, brainstorming and planning will help you to stay focused. The result is knowing exactly what to develop and which approach is the best for solving the problem. 

This allows you not to add some unnecessary features you think can be useful in the future. 

Prior to starting to code, make sure you understand all the requirements clearly – you need to understand exactly what you need to build as smallest details can have a huge impact on the solution you’re trying to implement. 

Once you’ve done this, start making a plan by breaking your problem or feature down to smaller pieces. 

Take into account the potential problems you’re going to face and do a short research to be on a safe side. 

Be strategic with your tasks: analyze any problems with your productivity and come up with solutions.

No matter whether the application is simpler or more complex, planning will save your time and spare you any unnecessary negative effects.

Tip 5. Learn New Tools

You are what you code – and the tools you use define your workstyle or work signature. Although you’re the expert or even a master of the tools you use, you should spend some time learning new tools you’re interested in. 

Developers have their focus area and accompanying tools along with it. The tools you may need are completely different for every developer – Java developer uses different tools that a Python developer etc. 

Put some time and think about the tools you’d like to know more about and which are available. Always look for the tools that can reduce the amount of the manual or repetitive work you do. 

Source: bigthink.com

If you keep your mind fresh with a new tool, it will help your reasoning to stay sharp and quick which is essential when trying to resolve an issue. 

Tip 6. Cut Yourself Off From Social Media

The last but quite important tip to increase your productivity is to cut yourself out from social media – the only reason is that social media is a huge distraction.

Social media feed has no end – once you start scrolling, it becomes an endless story. You can do it every 15 minutes checking if anything new, but it just shifts your focus and drains your wit which you can use to resolve some issue at work. 

If you aren’t careful, social media will suck up a lot of your time. Each time you get distracted (by social media or other) it takes double more time to retrieve your focus and meanwhile no work is done. 

Being a developer, try to develop your social media skills and only dive into social media feed once you hit a break. When you master your social media discipline, you will see that this tip might even be the one that can increase your productivity the most.

Recap

A productivity increase takes time so do not expect to see huge growth in a short period of time. Focus on one item at the time and you will see yourself getting more productive over time. 

It is okay if we don’t do everything in one day. Don’t be busy all the time as it does not mean necessarily that you will get more work done. 

Keep in mind that being busy is a form of lazy thinking and meaningless action whilst being productive is being efficient in building the problem solutions. 

Franz Kafka


Productivity is being able to do things that you were never able to do before.

6 Proven Tips for Successful Remote Work

Working from home is the new reality for most people and many found themselves working from their living or dining rooms, kitchens, etc. It’s quite a sensitive environment where any noise can distract you and make you less efficient.

If you’ve never worked remotely before, you can check some global statistics about remote work that can give you further insight on all the benefits of working from home.

One of the biggest challenges of remote work is bridging the distance between team members.

During this outbreak, we all keep social distance and stay home so let’s share some short tips on how to leverage work from home to your advantage.

Basic preps

There are several basic elements you should consider when working remotely, but I’ve gathered them up under the ‘Preparation’ stage. 

The basis of any work process is a good organization – having all necessary tools, equipment and also habits to work effectively at home. 

Some short tips on basic preparation can be:

Have a designated space to do your work - if you don’t have a spare room, a small corner in the room will do - try to turn it into an office. Having your ‘work place’ matters greatly as you’d have space for your laptop or reports etc. and it will provide inner motivation as you’ll know it’s time to work when you go there. 
Source: appleinsider.com
Have designated work clothes - In his book, Remote: Office Not Required, Jason Fried says ‘Having designated ‘work from home’ clothes can get you into the right frame of mind’. That doesn’t mean that you need to dress up,  but simply: don’t wear the same T-shirt at work like the one you wear while relaxing at home.  
Prioritize and schedule your tasks -  give your day some structure and prioritize tasks for a day ahead but try to remain ‘agile’ if the situation requires. You can organize your work process per hour, per task or per urgency, however suit your work process better. You can also schedule your breaks as it can help you to maintain consistency in your work. 
Accept some distractions - many parents work from home with small kids or teens around the house and it’s proven difficult to provide yourself an ‘isolated spot in isolation’. Accept some distractions (kids, deliveries, doorbell, etc.) and try to keep other distractions to a minimum by reducing the ones you can control like loud TV or checking social media newsfeed (Facebook, Instagram etc.) as it can divert your focus.             
Leave those activities for short breaks in between tasks and indulge yourself into newsfeed once the task is completed. 
Source: mommymaestra.com

Connect with your team

When working remotely, a great deal of communication is via chats or messages – it can feel a bit unnatural since sometimes you cannot type properly all you need to say or you don’t want to hassle anyone. When working in an office, you tend to have live interaction that fortifies relationships and enables better project communication.

How to maintain such relationships while remote?

On a professional level, going the ‘extra mile’ for your colleague, like taking on an extra task that your colleague doesn’t have time to complete, is a vital element to keep a team working effectively. Everyone likes safe surroundings where members ‘have each other’s backs.’

Reach out as much as you can as it adds value to your working relationships – in a remote setting, your supervisor or your teammates cannot know if you’re having difficulties with something unless you tell them.

Connect with your colleagues not only for work but also for casual conversations, like for birthdays or on other important days to them. 

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Teams that work on a specific project may organize quick daily or weekly meetings and discuss all important details as it’s better to understand when talking rather than typing. Seeing and talking to someone face to face, even if over a screen, still builds relationships in ways “text” conversation cannot.

Away messages are as important as other elements –  details about when you’re not around can also be helpful with open communication keeping all team members on the same page.

Although virtual, this kind of communication establishes trust across departments and creates a more accessible community culture. 
Source: engadget.com

Use Available Technology

Digital transformation led us to mobility along with the tools necessary to do the work properly. Today’s technology enables us to interact with each other without having to be physically present.

Everyone should use technology that enables us to work remotely and keep in touch with everyone – chat apps, video conference tools etc. and other communication tools

There are many types of tools today (time tracking tools, file sharing tools, collaboration tools etc.) to maintain constant communication and connection with your remote teams – review their roles and functions and check which one serves your needs the best.

Pay attention not to overwhelm people with many communication channels, yet only the ones necessary to function seamlessly. 

If you have a large company and large teams, the best solution is to divide the team into subsets or subgroups (for example, per specific project)  which will narrow down the number of communication channels and reduce the possibility of miscommunication. 

Dividing your team into subsets will ensure a constant flow in your communication. 
Source: belletimemagazine.ie

Play 

When you feel connected with your team, a state of ‘play’ comes naturally. Active engagement with your team members leads to creative challenges when approaching tasks and doing valuable work.

As per psychologists, this is a natural flow where a person is completely consumed into what they’re doing – that’s the ‘zone’ where we’re keenly focused on our activity at the moment. 

Informal (playful, fun) conversations are also important – off-topic jokes, chatter or banters should build up to work-related discussion.

Video chats and live meetings still remain crucial for divided team members to get to know each other – if you can see and talk to a person, you can build relationships that trigger those playful conversations. 

Casual communication and how we deal with each other is a huge part of building a sense of togetherness and company culture.
Source: laughterandhumor.blogspot.com

Manage Your Energy 

It’s much easier to manage your energy as opposed to managing time – time is often tricky, while managing your energy makes more sense as it’s something you can control.

Managing energy is simple – you should establish some simple rituals that give you energy: for example, you can take 10-minute walks in between tasks, dance along favourite music when possible or just get up and do some workout at short breaks. Although it may appear burdensome to get away from your computer at the ‘middle’ of something, the short break will boost your energy.  

Remember, the key is to stick to the routine for these short energy breaks in order to create effective results in your workstyle. 

Source: finerminds.com

Define Work Time

Clearly define your availability at work – when you’re working and when not and discuss it with your colleagues. If you work double hours, your team members need to know about it to be able to communicate with you more effectively.

Don’t work ‘all‘ day as it will drain your energy and affect your productivity. Once your work day has ended, close your laptop and put it out of sight.

Some companies have flexible work schedules and if so, it’s critical to determine your peak work period.
Are you a morning person? Or do you like the silence of the night more?

The answers can help you determine your peak work periods – prioritize important tasks for these periods and less important tasks for later in your work shift. 

If you know when you work the best, you’ll get the most out of your day. 
Source: majorgeeks.com

FINAL WORD

If you’ve found yourself working from home and struggling with an isolation period, remember to always reach out to others and try to maintain the communication via available tools like chats and video conferences. 

Being able to see and talk to your team members will keep your spirits up and boost your energy and work efficiency.

Staying connected during isolation will give us a sense of ‘working together’ no matter the physical distance between us.