Eight tips for becoming more productive as a developer
10 months ago I transitioned to full-time remote work. First to help my medically fragile son, and then again for Covid-19 lockdown. This is a list of things that have helped me cope, and still have a good work-life balance.
1. Reduce randomization
- Try to start and stop work at the same time every day.
- Try to take scheduled breaks, ideally at the same time every day
2. Reduce or eliminate time-wasting activities
- Cut down on social media, news, etc.
- turn off phone notifications.
- schedule e-mail checking. (limit to once per hour if possible)
- when checking messages, you don’t need to respond immediately, schedule responses into batches
3. Create a workflow that works for you (or your team)
- If you work in a team, ensure that you all follow the same workflows as much as possible (Scrum, Kanban, etc.)
- if you are a solo developer find what works for you ans stick to it
- Constantly review your workflow patterns to ensure that they are working (keep doing what works, change what doesn’t) don’t be afraid to try new things.
- Create and follow a template or framework that works for you
- Acknowledge that all projects are different and have different needs
- Work in the smallest possible chunks of tasks
- automate what you can
4. Use good project management tools
- Find the right tool for you.
- Do NOT try to keep everything in your head. You will fail.
- Simpler is better
- Don’t rely on ephemeral systems (e-mail, SMS, etc)
- Your goal should be able to quickly create or find tasks and plan your work
- Find something accessible:
- Something cloud based and accessible whenever you need it is great
- Don’t rely on local systems dependent on network availability, or prone to failure.
- For larger team projects I use Jira or TFS (Azure DevOps). Github is perfect for solo work, smaller teams, or Open Source projects.
5. Use tools to help you code faster
- Learn your code editor shortcuts, snippets, etc.
- Find plugins to help you (I love Resharper for C# or RedGate tools for SQL, but your opinions may vary)
6. Take breaks
- Overworking can cause burnout, stress, and depression.
- Take at least one 15 minute break every 1-2 hours.
7. Minimize distractions
- Set limits and boundaries with co-workers or family members to avoid interruptions.
- Create a peaceful and productive work environment
8. Always seek to improve
- Learn new things every day
- Keep your passion for what you do
- invest in yourself and your career
- Dedicate time for learning.