How To Boost Your Productivity as a Developer
Because who doesn’t like to get more things done?
Do you remember the last time that you had a super busy day but didn’t get anything done? You stare at your screen for quite some time but no code comes out of your hands. Unfortunately, we all have a day like that sometimes. Those days can be really frustrating since everybody likes to get things done. And sometimes there are days where you are in a flow and get an enormous amount of work done.
Getting things done is what really matters when you’re working. Tim Ferriss has a great quote about being productive: “People should focus on being productive instead of being busy”. A lot of people like being busy but don’t get that much done. This doesn’t feel very efficient. So how can you boost your productivity as a developer?
This one seems quite obvious but is really important. Don’t check social media or the news when you’re supposed to work. All that this does for you is to waste your time! If you constantly get distracted, you will get pulled out of your zone and productivity will go to zero.
Also, don’t forget to turn off notifications. We all know that we aren’t supposed to look at all these notifications, but it’s so tempting. Just turn off all notifications. Zero interruptions will give you extreme focus, which leads to big results.
Don’t review some other developer’s code while you are in the middle of writing a piece of code. Focus on one task at a time. What really happens when you’re trying to multitask is task-switching. And it takes more time to switch between tasks than to stick with one task until it’s finished.
If you’re convinced that multitasking makes you super productive, you’re wrong. All that it means is that you backtrack a lot because every time you switch tasks you have to find out where you last left off.
Optimize your IDE
There are plenty of great IDEs available. Some of them come with a lot of tools out of the box. Others have the possibility to install plugins. These plugins can increase your productivity. For example, you could install plugins for syntax highlighting that make your code more readable and help you find syntax errors more easily.
Another way you could optimize your IDE is by installing snippets. Snippets can save you a lot of time while coding since they allow you to not keep writing the same code over and over.
Take more breaks
What? Really?! The trick to getting more things done is taking more breaks? Although it sounds counterintuitive, it’s actually true. If you really want to get more things done, you should take a break more often.
Working too long without breaks will eventually make you less productive. You can compare this with going to the gym. If you go to the gym for an hour, you will build muscle. If you train for two hours straight, you get overtrained and it will have the opposite effect. The same applies to writing code, in my opinion. Clear your head for a few minutes and refresh your focus. Stretch your legs or get something to drink. You will find out that you’re able to solve problems more quickly.
Work on the command line
The command line is a tool that gets used by very efficient developers. Working on the command line saves a lot of time compared to working with GUIs. Clicking your way through a GUI takes so much more time than doing the same things on the command line. It might take some time to learn how to work on the command line. But once you know your way around the command line, your productivity will increase tremendously.
A great tip to work even faster on the command line: Create aliases for commands that you find hard to remember or to shorten very long commands.
Be less random
This one applies to people who freelance, but it could also apply to people who have a lot of freedom when it comes to planning their workday. Structure is extremely important if you want to be more productive. Don’t just take things as they come. Try to start working at the same time every day. The same applies when it comes to taking breaks, etc. If you have a certain routine in your workday, you’ll find yourself being much more productive.
Learn to say no!
Most people feel the need to be liked by other people, which often translates into saying yes to everything. This kills productivity. You need to say no to whatever isn’t leading you toward your goals. This includes saying no to distractions.
Saying no saves you time in the future, precious time that you could use to work on your goals.
Start Increasing Your Productivity Right Now
Increasing your productivity is something that you could start with right now. As I said before, one of the things that you can do to increase your productivity is to minimize distractions. You could start by turning off your email. Try answering your emails once or twice a day and at the same time every day. You could check your email at the end of the morning and the afternoon, for example. These are the only times that you are allowed to check your email.
Another thing that you could do to boost productivity is to say no to unnecessary meetings. This doesn’t mean that you shouldn’t attend any meeting, but we say yes to things that we don’t even want to do. Not attending a meeting will save you time to work on your goals. And we all have a meeting that’s held that doesn’t need to be held.
“Work smarter, not harder.“— Carl Barks