6 Tips to Focus if You Work From Home as a Developer
Working from home isn’t as easy as it sounds. Let’s make it easier!
By now, if you’re working as a developer, you probably work from home during this crisis.
Maybe you are already working remotely by default, or you’ve only just started working from home. In this post, I want to share with you how to stay focussed and work productively from home.
1. Dress Up
When you work from home, it sounds very tempting to stay in your pajamas or to not wear pants, or even stay in bed while working.
I advise you to not do that!
Chances are higher that you will not feel productive. Even worse, it could be tempting to take a nap while working. Not a good idea for getting things done.
No! Dress like you would go to the office, or at minimum, just wear slightly more comfortable clothing if you would normally wear a suit or something like that.
After waking up, take a shower. Dressing up and doing your hair will make you feel more awake than if you stayed in bed.
Open your laptop or turn your computer on and make a plan for the day.
2. Make a Plan for the Day
Maybe you’re already used to making a plan for the day. If you’re working with the agile framework’s Scrum, you’re very used to this.
If you’re not used to this, let me explain why it is a good idea.
Make a list of things that you think you could do on that day.
You can make this list at the start of your day. Maybe even better, at the end of the previous day because at that moment, everything is still fresh in your mind to make it easier to plan a day.
Don’t estimate too little, this will make you slack but also don’t put your bar too high, this will make you feel burned out eventually!
Just estimate what you could do in a day. You can use your Notes app on iOS or Mac, or Google Keep on Android or in any browser. Or just in plain text or even paper if you’re more into that.
Every time you finish a task, put a checkmark before it so you know it’s done. This could be very motivating.
This will make your day more structured than if you don’t. And, at the end of the day, you know exactly what you did that day.
3. Open Your Window
While working behind your desk, it is always very important to have a good amount of oxygen.
So, simply open your window. Maybe, at this time of the year, completely open is too much. But open it enough so fresh air can come into your room. This will prevent you from getting a headache. Working with a headache is a complete disaster for your productivity.
If you get too cold, close your window or put on a warm hoody to prevent your muscles from getting stiff.
4. Take Breaks Regularly
If you’re in the vibe of deep thought and solving a problem, it’s very tempting to continue for hours. That will maybe feel very productive, and that could be the case. But, after a few hours, you will feel like your brain can’t take the information anymore.
That’s why you should take breaks regularly. This will help your brain to process the information for a while.
Just do something different for ten minutes, get something to drink from the fridge, go for a walk with the dog, if you have kids go and play a 15-minute football game in the garden.
As long as it’s not working!
You can use the Pomodoro technique to set a timer to take breaks at fixed times. I’m not the person to use that (right now). But maybe it will be useful for you.
5. Drink Enough Water
This tip is as much for me as it is for you! But lately, I have reduced my level of drinking caffeine. I drink water throughout the day, only a caffeinated drink in the morning because I like it.
Drinking enough is important for everyone! If you don’t drink enough, you will get headaches which won’t make you feel good or even productive.
Just drink enough water!
6. Communicate a Lot
Because you’re not in the same office, communication has to be more thoughtful than before.
When you’re in the same office space, communication will most of the time go on by itself. But when everyone is working from a different place, this will not be the case.
Start with a call, chat, or video call every morning. (In Scrum, we call it standup.) This will help you know what everyone is doing in your team.
For the rest of the day, keep an open group chat for the team to communicate without any hesitancy. When discussing issues or bugs, make a phone call or even a video call to prevent miscommunication.
You can use Skype, Zoom, or Slack for this. All work great for me and my team.
I love to share my knowledge with you, gained from being a developer since 2009.
I hope that these tips will make working from home a bit easier and more productive. If you have additional tips for working from home as a developer, please share them in the comments.
Stay focussed, stay happy!
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