8 Best Productivity Tips for Developers and Programmers
To stay productive as a programmer and developer is not an easy task. It's a stressful job that can make you lose focus very fast or make you feel drained, the understanding of how you can focus on your work, and deal with distractions, can help you a lot in making the most out of your working hours. In this article, we have made a list of the best productivity tips for developers and programmers that should follow for the best productivity.
1. Start With The Most Difficult Task
Almost every developer has some hierarchy of daily tasks in some sort of to-do list. If you focus on simply checking off to-do list items, you’ll end up with a mix of important and less important tasks completed. This habit can also expose you to spending the whole day checking off easy, less important to-dos instead of finishing some of the hard stuff. Instead of doing this, you should spend a couple of minutes at the beginning of your workday to chose a couple of most difficult tasks and do them, no matter what, you need to finish by the end of the day.
2. Break Down Tasks Into Smaller Tasks
Most of the way then we see some hard task it looks too daunting and we want to skip it somehow, you look at the task and think “I don’t even know where to start.” I bet you hear about divide and conquer algorithm, here we can reuse the same principle for the work-related tasks. For example, if you have a task that says "write a blog post on productivity" you can break that task into smaller parts like: "look for keywords related to productivity", "Find 5 examples of productivity posts", etc.
3. Eliminate Distractions
Distractions are the biggest enemy of productivity not just for developers but in every profession, so you need to find a way to ignore them as much as it is possible. For example, often checking work-related stuff like emails, chats, etc, can be seen as work-related but spending too much time on these things will make you not finish anything at the end of the day. So the best thing is to make some patterns, for example, to check emails two times a day, switching off notifications from social channels, etc
4. Take Breaks
Nobody can stay focused for eight hours a day without taking breaks, not even highly focused people. There are many kinds of research done that are showing that taking a break at least a few minutes long can help you to feel more focused and come up with new ideas. There is one famous technique for taking breaks called Pomodoro Technique that uses a tomato-shaped timer to measure time. It works with 25 minutes time blocks with 5 minute short breaks and 10 minutes long breaks. The Pomodoro Technique is so much popular in the developer community that there are even Pomodoro Apps you can use it.
5. Find The Best Code Editor
Programmer productivity starts with a good code editor. There are great Code Editors or IDE's out there, and it is not easy to tell which one is the best, and also it depends on your needs. To find the best code editor for you, it is best to try different code editors to see which one fits you the best. When searching for the best code editor there are few things to remember:
- Programming languages that you are using. The code editor should have syntax highlighting for the languages you are using. Some popular code editors also offer syntax highlighters for frameworks too (Sometimes if syntax highlighting is not available you may download a plugin).
- If you work with technologies like Git (which you should!) you might need built-in Git functionalities for committing your code directly to GitHub, etc.
- Code Editor with adequate themes and plugins.
6. Automate Repetitive Tasks
Today automating repetitive tasks is a must as a developer or programmer. In the development phase, this can be a lot of things like learning common keyboard shortcuts in your code editor or IDE or refactoring the name of a variable or function in more than one place (which are connected with the last tip about the best code editor). Knocking these things from your work-flow can save you lots of energy and time, and make you much better on focusing on other more important things.
7. Schedule Your Tasks in Advance
Scheduling your tasks in advance can greatly improve your productivity. You can create a to-do list for your tasks using to-do apps like Notes - Notepad and Memo App. When using task scheduling apps, too much complexity can even lead to a loss of productivity. So the app should be simple enough and still useful like the app linked above, it is easy to get lost in some big apps in doing very simple things.
8. Use the Command Line
One of the best habits for every programmer is to use the CLI (Command Line Interface) instead of GUI (Graphical User Interface), this will greatly speed up the development process and at the end, good knowledge of the CLI commands is an important programming skill that will greatly improve your market value when you will be looking for a new programming related job and will make your work-flow look much more confident and professional.
If you follow these productivity tips, you can make your working hours much more efficient and also improve your development workflow at the same time. At start picking, new habits can be hard but quickly will become natural. Experimenting new things is key in productivity when you try new thing that or tool it is not working on you skip it and move to the next one, until you find the best tools and techniques.
I will highly recommend you to read these two great books about productivity: