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Productivity tips for programmers that no one will tell you about

Here are a few productivity tips for programmers that will help awesome developers like you achieve the most out of your time.

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Imagine driving your car with handbrakes on. You will be using a lot of fuel and reach your destination slower than your potential. A similar scenario occurs when developers are not productive during coding. It takes 15 minutes for a developer to get back to the productive zone once they are out of it. You do not want to waste these 15 minutes multiple times a day. It would make you slow, inefficient, and unproductive leading to slow growth and lack of work-life balance.

But when a programmer is productive, it helps him excel at his job, get higher pay, and earn respect amongst his peers. It is tough to stay productive all the time in the ever-changing world of programming.

Here are a few productivity tips for programmers that will help awesome developers like you achieve the most out of your time and increase the quality of your work.

Minimize all your Distraction

Distractions are the biggest enemies of a skilled developer. Coding is an abstract art where you might need to stay on a train of thoughts for a long time. Each distraction slows this process down. You should make sure that your desk or the area of work has absolutely no distractions. Random office chit chats are one of the biggest workplace productivity killers.

  • Have a habit of wearing earphones so that the people around you won’t disturb you unless necessary.
  • Put your mobile phones to ‘silent’ or ‘do not disturb’ mode.
  • Listen to LoFi / Instrumental music if it helps you focus. 

Write things down

When you are working on a project, you will get ideas regarding that at the most random moments. Don’t fall into the ‘I’ll make a mental note’ trap because you are most likely going to forget that. Write that idea down on your mobile phone’s notes app, computer, to-do lists, or anywhere you can.

Listing down these ideas will give you something to think about when you’d be out of ideas or when you have nothing to do. These ideas could be anything from lines of code to a tweak in your way of sitting. Make sure you try and put some thoughts on these ideas in your spare time.

Know your code editor

There are lots of code editors out there like Atom, Vim, Sublime Text, and Notepad++ to name a few. You will be spending most of your time with this tool; you must know every minor detail that could save you time. There are hundreds of shortcuts that would help you navigate through your code smoothly and make you more productive.

  • Automate Repetitive and Menial tasks

Every developer knows the importance of automation, yet only a few who would implement it while doing their work. If there are a few menial functions like logging in on a portal or a repetitive code that keeps on coming, you must automate them to save time and increase productivity.

Analyze your workflow regularly and see if there are unimportant tasks that take a big chunk of your time. Find out ways to automate these tasks and implement them. Make sure you do a cost-benefit analysis where you calculate the time spent on developing the automation and if it’s worth it. It is a thin line that could make you counter-productive. When you have dedicated developers working for you, you will understand the time saved from automating a simple task can be up to hours.

Read everything you can

The habit of reading is diminishing since the internet era has taken over. Not necessarily books but reading of anything is slowly deteriorating. Just by getting this far, this blog goes to prove that you are serious about being productive, and you enjoy reading good content. Try categorizing a certain amount of time daily just for reading new things and learning from it. You will see a marginal difference in the way you think in about a month or two.

Make sure that the source of your reading material is reliable. You don’t want to consume the wrong information in this era. That is one of the primary reasons people suggest reading books over the content on the internet. But if you are confident about your source, any reading will make you more productive.

Use the Scrum Framework

Scrum is a simplified process framework used by a lot of companies, including Spotify and Amazon. Here, the team of dedicated developers is assigned a task every 3-4 weeks. The Scrum Master will regularly take updates from the developers regarding the status of their work. Hence, this will motivate you to complete a small set of work every day and indirectly make you more productive. Scrum is widely recognized to increase productivity amongst developers.

Conclusion

There are absolutely no downsides to becoming productive while you are programming. That is why you should keep these easily implementable tips in mind next time you start your coding session. Also, there are other miscellaneous things like getting enough sleep, keeping clutter off your desk, and maintaining a work-life balance that is too general to be mentioned here. But you do need to take care of it as well to make the most out of your skills. If there are any other tips and tricks that you know, write them down in the comment section. Until then, happy productive programming.

Editor’s Note: Hardik Shah works as a Tech Consultant at Simform – dedicated team of mobile app developers in San Diego. He leads large scale mobility programs that cover platforms, solutions, governance, standardization, and best practices. Connect with him to discuss the best practices of software methodologies @hsshah_.

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