The role of a developer is to create solutions that save time and energy for others.
But how can they increase their own productivity during the creative process?
It is important to work smarter, rather than working harder. This will lead to faster results whilst not compromising on the quality of the output.
Below are some tips that will help you create a more efficient working environment and keep on task.
As all developers know, even a small syntax error can lead to major issues. To be productive you need to focus all your concentration on the task at hand. What can you do to avoid distractions?
Firstly, be bold enough to ask your colleagues not to disturb you whilst you work. Explain to them that you need to concentrate to avoid errors.
One of our favorite apps to minimize distraction is Freedom.io. It lets you block any distracting web sites on both your PC and on your phone during specific times.
But what about other office noise? Even the most dedicated person can become distracted by surrounding conversations. Try using noise cancelling headphones to block out the background noise within the office. This also gives the impression that you are otherwise engaged and do not want to be disturbed.
Closing unrelated windows on your computer and silencing your phone will provide you with a focused workspace allowing your creativity to flow.
Rely on Developer’s toolkits
All developers have their favorite tools. These can be generic or can be directly influenced by the language that they are developing with. It is important to not only choose the right tool for the job but also to know your tool’s capabilities. Becoming a master of the tool will increase your productivity. This can even apply to the humble text editor.
Text editors aimed at developers can include built-in functions or processes to save you time. Syntax highlighting will help you to error check as you go rather than waiting for run time. On the free side, we recommend Atom, while if you’re willing to pay, Sublime is hard to beat in terms of time saving features.
Don’t reinvent the wheel
A developer’s role is to create a solution using the most suitable code available. So much is readily available in libraries and repositories that can be repurposed. Make code sharing repositories like Github your best friend. Don’t allow your own ego to become a barrier to productivity. Instead use your time effectively by developing your searching techniques. Then add your own spin to it to make it your own.
What automation you use depends on the field you are in. If you can use automation to conduct a task faster and more effectively, do so! There are scripts readily available that can be utilized to save time and carry out many repetitive tasks.
If you cannot find the script you need, write it. Spending an hour writing a script may save hours. Ensure that you don’t spend more time writing a script than the time it saves in the long run.
Another top tip is to create aliases. You may type the same commands repeatedly. In order to type less, take time to find out which commands you use most often and create aliases for them.
Learn to Refocus
Everybody hits a brick wall at some point as a developer. It can be tempting to keep trying to break through the wall, however this will decrease productivity in the long run.
Once you hit the wall, it is time to switch focus. Take time away from the task and do something else. When you return, you may have fresh eyes and find a solution quickly.
Get a Comfortable Chair
As a developer what is the one thing besides coding that you do many hours daily? Sitting of course. That’s why getting a comfortable chair that supports your body completely is so important.
Look for chairs with thickly padded, adjustable armrests that can shoulder the weight of your arms as you work away on your computer. Experts also recommend chairs with backrests that can recline 135 degrees, which is good for your back, as that angle was found to exert the least pressure on the spine.
Perfect that Posture, and Take Frequent Breaks
Posture is everything. As a developer we spend long hours at our desk. We need to make sure that our posture is correct to avoid health issues in the future.
Having the right chair and adjusting it to the correct height is the first step. Then we need to consider how we are sitting. When mid flow we can find ourselves hunched over our desk in concentration. Alter your posture for long-term benefits.
Secondly, as a developer, we all know how hard it is to peel ourselves from the computer, especially when you’re in the zone. But you should not ignore the signs that you need a break. If you become sleepy, or if you experience pain or discomfort, stop. It is not always ideal to stop in the middle of a process, so plan regular breaks to prevent overdoing it. In the short term it could lead to discomfort, however long term it could lead to serious health issues.
When away from your desk, try to maximize the health benefits by stretching and taking short walking braeks. Try to avoid the lure of the phone screen during this time to give your eyes a well-deserved rest.
Increasing productivity does not mean putting in more hours. It means that you get more output for less effort. Type less, automate often, and use all the smart tools that are available to make your life easier.
Most importantly, create a distraction free zone and take breaks away to recharge your mind and body.