Staying productive as a developer is no simple feat, especially under the pressure of a looming deadline. With that in mind, we’ve put together some of the best tips for boosting productivity, streamlining the development process, and delivering projects on time.
What Are the Best Time Management Techniques for Developers?
Effective time management is perhaps the most important skill a developer can learn to improve productivity, and here are some of our favorite techniques.
Developer Productivity Tip #1 – Start with the Most Difficult Task
People only have so much energy to devote to task completion and problem-solving each day. Try starting each day by tackling the most difficult tasks when you have the most energy and focus to make sure you consistently accomplish your larger, more intensive projects.
Developer Productivity Tip #2 – Take Regular Breaks
Most people can only devote their full concentration to a single task for about 45 minutes before their mind starts to wander, and it’s easy to lose track of time when you’re staring at code all day. If you find yourself struggling to stay focused on your work, take five minutes away from your screen to decompress and reset.
Developer Productivity Tip #3 – Schedule Tasks in Advance
Having a simple roadmap for the work you need to do each day can do wonders for your workflow. There are dozens of great scheduling, task-tracking, and checklist tools, so take the time to experiment to find one that best suits your needs.
Developer Productivity Tip #4 – Track Your Hours
Time-tracking apps are commonly used by developers who are keen on ways to be more efficient with their time. They can also be a wake-up call for developers who don’t realize how often they get distracted.
Making Your Workflows More Efficient
There are always ways to streamline processes, leverage automation, and learn new tools to make your work even more efficient. Here are just a few.
Developer Productivity Tip #5 – Find the Best Tools
You can save yourself countless hours of frustration by making sure you have the best tools for the job. Don’t be afraid to try something new if it can provide the results you need, but also recognize when it’s time to ditch a tool that isn’t getting the job done.
Developer Productivity Tip #6 – Automate Repetitive Tasks
Finding ways to automate routine tasks is one of the fastest ways to boost your productivity. Whether for email management, data entry, or image optimization, there are a plethora of automation tools that can cut unnecessary repetition out of your daily workflow.
Developer Productivity Tip #7 – Use the Command Line
A GUI may be more visually intuitive, but developers who are comfortable using the command line have an advantage when it comes to speed and efficiency. A CLI is faster and more flexible when it comes to scripting and automation, and you won’t have to worry about relearning anything after a new update changes the user interface.
Developer Productivity Tip #8 – Use Past Work
Don’t waste your time reinventing the wheel. A large part of efficient development is reusing tried and true code, which can save time, shorten development periods, and reduce risk.
No matter how efficient you are, distractions can still be a major roadblock for productivity. So here are some of the best ways to cut out those distractions and minimize their impact when they do occur.
Developer Productivity Tip #9 – Stay Focused
Focus sessions are invaluable for developers looking to boost their productivity, enhancing focus during work sessions and allowing your brain to rest and recharge. It may sound simple, but it’s a great way to stay focused and avoid burning out.
Developer Productivity Tip #10 – Avoid Multitasking
Studies have repeatedly shown that multitasking negatively impacts productivity by dividing attention, reducing mental efficiency, and increasing the odds of making errors. By focusing on one thing at a time, you can be more efficient, more present, and gain a deeper understanding of the subject at hand.
Developer Productivity Tip #11 – Establish Productivity Time
If you find yourself constantly distracted by small social interactions at work, it may be wise to set up a system that lets coworkers know when you’re in the zone and shouldn’t be bothered. Consider posting a sign at your desk, temporarily turning off Slack notifications, or setting a “do not disturb” status to help eliminate distractions.
Developer Productivity Tip #12 – The 2.8 Second Rule
A study conducted by Michigan State University found that being distracted for only 2.8 seconds resulted in a 100% increase in task errors for a short duration afterward. While you may not be able to eliminate every distraction, this statistic proves how important it is to avoid them wherever possible.
Growing as a Developer
Actively pursuing growth is key to gaining a deeper understanding of development processes, which translates into more efficient and intuitive work. These are our favorite tips for maintaining a growth mindset.
Developer Productivity Tip #13 – Study the Fundamentals
Going back to the basics can improve your understanding of the tools and languages you use daily and make learning new frameworks faster and more intuitive. Think of it as an opportunity to review the fundamentals within the context of your current skill level. You might even find yourself picking up information that you didn’t fully comprehend as a beginner.
Developer Productivity Tip #14 – Improve Your Typing
The faster you type, the faster you code. A few minutes of dedicated practice each day can improve both your typing speed and accuracy, and it’s also worthwhile to become more familiar with your keyboard shortcuts if you want to work more efficiently.
Developer Productivity Tip #15 – Get Feedback
Quality feedback is crucial when improving any skill. If you work alongside a team that does periodic code reviews, take the opportunity to ask for honest, actionable feedback. If you’re working solo, it may be beneficial to schedule chats with other developers or even a dedicated mentor.
Developer Productivity Tip #16 – Stay Up to Date
A developer is never done learning, and staying current means keeping up with an ever-changing landscape of new features, tools, and frameworks. Often, these innovations will make your job easier, but only if you devote the time to learning how to use them.
Bonus Developer Tip: Get a Good Night’s Sleep
Getting quality rest is essential to improving your productivity and avoiding exhaustion or burnout. Invest in a good mattress, and get rid of lights, sounds, and other distractions to make sure you’re refreshed and ready for the day’s challenges.
Making the Most of Your Productivity
Productivity can be a real challenge if you don’t have the mindset and tools to effectively navigate distractions and tackle busy schedules. But by applying the above tips, you can streamline your workflow, avoid interruptions, and get more done with your workday.