Productivity Tips for Developers

03 Nov 2022

7 min

Aleksei Koloskov

Back-end Developer

Choose the Best Programming Tools and Code Editors

Software development needs to be high-quality. It means that you should be well-concentrated and free from stress and tension. That is why productivity for programmers plays a great role in the final results of everybody’s performance. You should learn how to make the most of your working hours. It is not so easy, indeed because of all the phone calls, message notifications, social media, and other distracting factors.
You need to learn how to complete tasks quickly and efficiently without sacrificing quality. It means learning to be productive. We have compiled a set of useful tips to help you solve the problem of programming productivity, ranging from establishing an appropriate working schedule, and dealing with distractions and tiredness to picking the best programming tools and the most efficient technologies. We hope that these tips will help you to stay productive, especially if you work from home, and keep a satisfying work-life balance.
You will need a lot of cutting-edge software to do your programming work more efficiently. Choose the right instruments that will work best for your needs and purposes. Consider automation, project management, and collaboration tools that are available online nowadays. They may include:
━ software tools to minimize distractions (e.g. Freedom or Escape);
━ bug-eliminating tools (e.g. MantisBT);
━ tools meant for code finding (e.g. The Silver Searcher);
━ time-tracking instruments (e.g. Jibble);
━ tools facilitating project management (e.g. Trello or Asana);
━ instruments for team collaboration (e.g. Microsoft Teams or Slack);
━ productivity-enhancing instruments (e.g. Habitica).
Pay special attention to code editors. It is difficult to choose one instrument from a great variety available on the market nowadays. You need to consider all your aims and plans to decide what code editor will work better for boosting your developer’s productivity. There are some essential things you need to take into account while choosing:
━ the programming language you use (React is one of the most popular and efficient technologies);
━ an appropriate theme and plugin eco-system of your code editor;
━ functionality allowing you to perform coding without leaving an editor;
━ a possibility for a code editor to add and import your own code snippets and keyboard shortcuts.
You can always test your software and decide whether it meets all your requirements and pick out something that works better for you.
Choose the Best Programming Tools and Code Editors

Develop a Flexible Schedule

A lot of tasks every day result in procrastination, especially if you work as a freelancer and have to manage your own working schedule. That is why, when you look at the results of your daily work, you may see that you haven’t done anything. That is why it is important to develop your individual hierarchy of tasks and try to begin your day with the most difficult ones.
Another tip here is to avoid multitasking. Though multitasking skills have been considered an important strength, research shows that only 2% of people can do numerous tasks simultaneously and successfully. It means that multitasking is not productive at all, especially since it is useless for productivity in software development where the work demands a lot of accuracy and concentration. Therefore, if you don’t belong to that 2%, avoid multitasking at any cost.
The difficulties in focusing on even one task may result from other family members and distractions. That is why you will need to develop exact rules, regulating your working schedule. Plan all the tasks per day properly and try to be realistic. Find your individual most productive hours and decide never to do anything not related to your work during that time. You should also decide how many hours per day you are ready to work and when to finish your work day. You will see that proper planning will help you get the best results.
You should also have a thorough look at your workplace and eliminate all the distractors there. Make adjustments if needed. Don’t forget about the efficient pauses for eating, socializing, sleeping, and doing exercise. They will help you stay healthy and well-concentrated.
Develop a Flexible Schedule

Importance of Taking Breaks

The attention span of most people is rather limited. Research has shown that an individual can concentrate on the task for not more than 30-45 minutes. Since concentration is very important for programming productivity, don’t forget to take breaks.
Therefore, Pomodoro Technique can be pretty helpful. It implies that you should work in 25-minute time blocks with short breaks for 5 minutes. After the set of 4 such blocks of 25 minutes, you need to take a longer break of 25-30 minutes and continue from the beginning. Using such a technique may be quite individual, and you will find that it is not working well for you. So, look for something else.
However, taking breaks is important for every working schedule. The most essential point here is that you have to take your eyes off the screen. Don’t look through new messages you have received, social media, blog posts, or any other information transferred via technology. Stand up, stretch your body, do some exercise for your eyes and joints, perform some simple household duties, or just have a light chat with your family members or friends. You will see that you can return to work quite physically and mentally refreshed and ready to concentrate again.
The only notice here is that, when you are in the process and need to complete some part of work or see how your idea can perform, do not stop doing it when you see that it is time for a break. Try to finish everything you are doing, if it is not a big job, and then have a break.
Importance of Taking Breaks

Tracking Working Hours and Automation

You may think that tracking your working hours is useless. Though, if you have problems with time management, it is very helpful. Install a time-racking app, and you will know how much time you spend on certain tasks. This will increase your overall productivity in software development because you will be able to track your distractors as well. If you are a freelancer, a time tracker will also help you to charge your clients on an hourly schedule.
Don’t underestimate automation, either. Developers need to do a lot of repetitive tasks that take them a lot of time. Developing a code that will be ready for production involves a lot of routine tasks if you are a front-end developer. You may feel bored with all those processes involving image optimization, minification, and auto-prefixing. There are many effective automation instruments for both front-end and back-end developments. Automation will save you hours of coding and other monotonous tasks and efficiently improve your developer’s productivity.
Another good example of technology use is a command line. Using CLI instead of a Graphical User Interface (GUI) will speed up your website development and maintenance. You can also use it in many other aspects of your work.
Tracking Working Hours and Automation

Get Rid of Distractors

Distraction does a lot of harm to productivity, so you need to eliminate all the distractors as soon as possible. It is pretty difficult to do at times because distractions are sneak, and they do not seem to be so harmful at first sight.
You may not consider checking emails or watching video tutorials as distractions. Chatting with colleagues or clients may also seem to be a work-related job. However, it can take you so much time that you will find that you haven’t ultimately completed any tasks of your own.
Therefore, you need to be aware of all possible distractors and do your best to eliminate them. For instance, you can check your emails or messages twice a day at strictly established hours. Switch off all the notifications from Slack or social media messengers while working. You may also opt for blocking all the websites you are used to looking through for new information.
Remember that the presence of many distractions can influence the productivity for programmers because it is difficult to maintain focus on the task while doing something else. The research argues that an individual can get distracted within a few seconds, while getting back on the task that has been interrupted may take more than 25 minutes. In addition, as a software developer, you will need about 15 minutes to concentrate on the previous task and make yourself resume work. Anyway, you have to learn how to say ‘no’ to endless offers, inquiries from your colleagues and clients, new messages, and social media temptations.
Even if you work in a busy office, setting some rules for the time when you are completing your tasks, will increase productivity a lot. It is one of the most useful and effective skills every programmer should have. That will help you eliminate continuous stress and exhaustion.
Get Rid of Distractors

Learn New Things

Productivity in software development depends very much on the bulk of knowledge you have acquired. Technologies tend to change rapidly, so you will always have something new to learn and apply to your work. You will become a better problem solver and task executor, and these skills are pretty essential in your job.
Try to follow new trends, and explore cutting-edge tools that can speed up your workflow. You may also prefer to take part in hobby developments or open-source projects. Learning new tricks here will help you keep your mind fresh and ready for new challenges.
You may also listen to technology podcasts or audiobooks when on the go, or while doing some household chores, exercising, or other routine jobs. Take a chance to complete courses, read professional blogs, and talk to mentors. Nowadays, there are a lot of options for self-education, and your productivity will benefit a lot from taking them.
Learn New Things

Final Thoughts

We understand that accepting new routines and habits may be a bit difficult. However, if you follow some of the tips represented here, you will become more time-effective, produce higher-quality software, and get rid of stress, frustration, and exhaustion caused by spending a lot of effort on nothing. New skills will help you eliminate procrastination and earn more money, of course.
Moreover, you will be able to stay healthy, well-concentrated, and satisfied with your work-life balance. You will probably see that you have more time for self-education, socialization, and spending time on hobbies or doing something interesting with your family.
These numerous benefits will help you gain more programming productivity, so you will get more clients and be happy with your work.
Final Thoughts
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