If you are a developer, then you know how difficult it can be to increase your productivity. It’s not enough to just increase the amount of time that you spend programming because that will only increase the number of errors in your code and make debugging more difficult. You need to increase your productivity by focusing on making sure that you are always working efficiently – which means doing things like taking breaks, listening to music, and staying hydrated.
In this blog-post I’ll go over 20 tips for increasing your productivity as a developer!
1. Use Your Own Text Editor/IDE
This one seems obvious but it really makes a huge difference. No more worrying about formatting issues with someone else’s favorite text editor/IDE setup. Just use your own! Most IDEs have good color coding, change suggestions and other shortcuts to speed up coding. For example, I wrote this blog post in Visual Studio Code on a Windows machine running Aero Glass for the color highlighting.
2. Work on Multiple Small Tasks
The longer you wait to compile your code changes after making them, the more likely it is that you will get distracted by something else and never come back to the task. It’s hard enough keeping your attention focused on one thing at a time – just think about how much harder it would be if you have 10 things waiting for compile?
3. Fight Off Distractions
Distractions are everywhere. No matter where I am or what I’m doing, someone finds some way of distracting me from what I’m currently on. Here are some examples of distractions, generally in order of how difficult they are to resist: Clicking on an interesting looking link Someone wanting your attention (for anything) A developer you’re working with is having problems and pulls you into the conversation The urge to check email Social media notifications Your cell phone ringing/vibrating The browser automatically redirects back to your website after 4 minutes of not being used The urge to jump over to another task that comes up
My best suggestion for fighting off distractions is always be aware. Every time I get distracted, I try to think about why it happened and what I can change or do differently so I’m more productive next time. For example, if someone wants me for something random – which happens often – I take 5 seconds to think, “What is it that they need and do I have time to get it right now?” If the answer is no, or I’m unsure if I do, I advise them to find someone else.
4. Know What You’re Working On For Next
There’s nothing worse than going back to a task that you were working on yesterday because you forgot what you were doing after taking a break for 3 days. Make sure you know what your next task is going to be before moving onto it! This one may not seem like a big deal but trust me, it saves a ton of time not having to think about where or what your next task will be while refactoring old code so your new code works nicely with it.
5. Know What You’re Working On For Later
As with knowing what you will be working on next, make sure you know what tasks are coming up but for later. This ensures that your priorities aren’t all over the place. Don’t be distracted with the task at hand and end up taking a long time to complete it because of distractions or interruptions by thinking about other things. If possible, run through what’s left for today in your mind; prioritizing important items before hitting compile/run.
6. Listen To Music
I’ve always found listening to music while programming is great! I tend to listen to more chill music without words so it doesn’t take my attention away from coding (or whatever else I’m doing). If you’re anything like me, then you’ll find that listening to music while programming is very relaxing and helps get rid of distractions.
7. Take Breaks/Coffee Shops Instead Of Working At Home
Working at home tends to be full of distractions for everyone (and probably more for developers). Trust me, I know how difficult it can be trying not to check Facebook while working on a task because all your friends are posting about their lives or something else interesting – but don’t do it! Not checking social media will increase your productivity significantly; I promise. The same goes for working in a coffee shop. I find that while it may be more difficult to get work done there, the environment is much better than sitting at home!
8. Get Up & Walk Around As Much As Possible
There’s nothing worse than trying to get stuck into coding (or whatever else you need to do) and your body decides “Nope, not happening – time for a nap.” Getting up and walking around every hour or so can improve your focus greatly. Not only does this help keep you awake, but improves blood flow to make sure you’re thinking clearly. You’ll notice that after spending 1-2 hours sitting down coding, your mind starts wandering; which isn’t good because that means it’s hard to concentrate on what you’re working on.
9. Don’t Multitask
This is something I’ve noticed with myself recently. While performing tasks that require some thinking, if my phone goes off or I get an email notification – even if it’s just a chime – I’m distracted and lose concentration on the task at hand. If you find yourself constantly multi-tasking while trying to get things done, try focusing on one thing at a time for an hour or so before moving onto something else. This will help keep your mind focused on what you’re doing and keeping distractions out of the way.
10. Turn Off Notifications & Email Checking
I don’t think this needs much explaining; whenever possible, turn everything off! If there’s something that’s going to distract you from getting stuff done, turn it off. When working on a task or coding – not checking email is essential. If you have notifications enabled on your phone, disable them as well so they don’t go off whenever someone posts something interesting/memorable on Facebook or Twitter.
11. Use A Project Management Tool Or Notepad To Keep Notes
Keeping notes about what needs doing is important. You never know when you’re going to forget that code snippet for later or how many hours are left in the project before deadline! There are tons of tools out there which will do this for you (I’m sure everyone has their favorite), but sometimes nothing beats good old fashioned pen and paper.
12. Get Up Early
Getting up early might not be an option for everyone, but I find that getting up just 30 minutes earlier than when you usually start work can help immensely when it comes to productivity. When its bright and sunny outside and barely anyone else is awake – it’s a lot easier to get stuff done without distractions! It also helps if you’re working on something which requires extensive time (and the sun isn’t out) because you can keep going later into the night without worrying about light or who else might walk in the room unannounced.
13. Keep Everything Clean & Tidy
I’m not saying go crazy and throw everything in your office/room out the window so you don’t have any clutter at all… But keeping everything tidy and clean can make a difference to the way you approach what needs to be completed. You might not notice it much, but if there are papers everywhere or your room is covered in clutter – it could distract you from getting work done because all this stuff needs organizing first.
14. Read A Book Or Magazine To Pass The Time
Remember that time when you were sick with the flu or had food poisoning? Instead of watching TV/playing video games all day, I found myself reading books and magazines to pass the time. If you feel like you don’t have enough time during the week to read for an hour or two, maybe try doing so on weekends instead. It’s also good for keeping your mind focused on something other than coding!
15. Get Out Of The House / Find A New Location
Sometimes when you’re in the same spot for a long period of time, it can get hard to focus on what you’re meant to be doing. This isn’t because the location is bad, but because you have been there for hours with nothing else going on! If possible – try going out or looking for a new place to work from so that your mind is focused on where it should be rather than whatever was distracting you before.
16. Keep An Inspiration Folder
If you’ve seen one of these before, keep one handy! Sometimes I find myself getting stuck when coding and finding myself unable to go any further. It’s not because my method or idea has failed, but because I can’t think of anything to go on with. Having a folder full of your favorite coding bits you’ve found online or snippets from other places is always useful in these situations and can get me out of a problem when stuck.
17. Turn Off Your Internet Connection
And switch off your router while you’re at it! No seriously, trying going offline for a while and see how much that helps with productivity. For some people this isn’t even possible because they use the web every minute of the day to access information, look things up etc. But if you’re able to – try doing so and see how productive it makes you feel!
18. Learn To Say No
Having the ability to say no will make your life a lot easier, especially when it comes to your career. There are lots of people out there asking developers for help/advice with their projects or even trying to get you to fix bugs in code they have written. You don’t have to be rude about saying no either – simply let them know that you’re too busy, but find someone else who can help them if possible.
19. Work In Stages
I’m not just talking about being on stage at some theater here! For example, instead of working on 3 different sites / clients etc on the same day – why not do one first and then take a break? Come back later and finish off the other 2 tasks having had time to think of better ways of doing what you were stuck on.
20. Reward Yourself Once In A While
Working long hours can have an impact once you stop, so it’s always good to give yourself a treat every now and again to show you what you’ve achieved! For example, after I finished my coding college course – I went out with friends for the day and really enjoyed myself. The next day I returned to work and found myself more motivated than ever (because of my reward). It’s like a little pat on the back for whenever you achieve something big!
So those are 20 tips which all help increase productivity when coding! If they sound familiar, that means you’re probably already doing some of them or might want to start implementing them into your daily routine. They are all fairly simple to do and don’t take very long, so there really isn’t an excuse not to! I hope you enjoyed reading this article – thanks for stopping by! If you did enjoy it, please share it with your friends on Twitter or Facebook so everyone can see it too!
Also if anyone has any other useful tips which might help increase productivity when coding, feel free to comment them below. Thanks again!