May 25, 2021

5 Tips on How to Be Productive as a Software Developer

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5 Tips on How to Be Productive as a Software Developer

In 2021, the need for social distancing due to the evident COVID-19 crisis prompted many companies to embrace work from home, including tech ones. Thus, developers have had to adapt to the new dynamics of remote work, trying to balance personal life, meetings, code, and housework. That’s why we wanted to encourage you to read and research work productivity tips.

Today, it is increasingly difficult to find an extended period without distractions. Email, texts, phone calls, and social media generally take the top prize in the time-soaking department. 

Then, how can you be more productive in such a distracting environment at home? Let’s look at some helpful tips for work productivity!

1. Don’t Multitask

Ouch. Multitasking reduces your efficiency and performance because your brain can only focus on one thing at a time. When you try to do two things simultaneously, your brain cannot perform both tasks successfully. 

A study conducted at Stanford University shows how multitasking adds stress to our daily lives and negatively affects our mood, motivation, and productivity: 

“People who are regularly bombarded with several streams of electronic information do not pay attention, control their memory or switch from one job to another as well as those who prefer to complete one task at a time.” 

Stanford University

Then, developers need to focus on one thing at a time rather than being multitasking person. When you try to multitask together, you have to switch between tasks, which becomes a distraction. Instead of being productive, you will find that you need to go back a lot because you have to figure out where you last left off each time. 

2. Minimize distractions 

This work productivity tip is closely linked to the previous point. Eliminating distractions is all about stopping multitasking and focusing on a single task.   

Productivity tips

Most software developers work on so many complex problems, and in their day-to-day life, they use a ton of tools, coding platforms, online resources, and applications that require both core and deeper understanding. 

In this way, let’s say you work 8-12 hours a day, but how many of those hours are real work? Ask yourself, how many times do you spend scrolling on social media, going through many apps, browsing random sites, cooking, going on a pause, etc.? 

So, to minimize distractions, try the following:  

  • Stop scrolling through social media and browsing unproductive sites 
  • Call only for emergencies  
  • Don’t overuse your pauses 
  • Organize your daily schedule 
  • Prioritize tasks based on their importance 
  • Use your favorite project management tool or software (Trello, Asana, Monday…etc) to check the tasks you did and didn’t do.

3. Automate time-consuming tasks  

Constantly, you might face monotonous tasks that not only consume time but also exhaust you throughout the day. So, what is the solution to this problem? If you are a developer, you can write a script or a program to automate these tedious tasks.  

What can you automate? 

  • Build custom workflows for repetitive computer tasks. 
  • Master your IDE (Integrated Development Environment). Learn its functionality and shortcuts. 
  • Python can help you automate many tasks, (pretty much anything). Such as: reading and writing files, sending emails, web scraping, interacting with an API.  

Indeed, you can check this book for more examples: Automate the Boring Stuff with Python.  

4. Use Agile Methodologies  

Software development teams often work with methodologies that help guide agile, efficient, requirements-driven development and sound decision-making. This type of methodology works to upscale the productivity and quality of the software application. The aim is to develop the software faster with few or no errors. 

work productivity tips

Some Agile methodologies are:  

  • Scrum 
  • Kanban 
  • XP (Extreme Programming) 
  • Lean Development 
  • Crystal 

So, if your team is implementing one of them, great! If not, why not bring it to the notice of the team leader and get it implemented!  

Here we will talk a little about Scrum, which is one of the most used in the IT industry, but you can dive deeper into each one of them.   

The essence of Scrum lies in breaking down the software development phases into cycles known as “Sprints.” Each sprint is given due time to bring out the best solutions, helping maximize development time for the software product. 

5. Day or night coding?  

In terms of work productivity, many developers feel like they can focus more at night, while some enjoy coding during the day. Although this is an entirely personal preference, we can say that getting adequate sleep plays an essential role in your productivity for the day ahead. 

Let’s check some crucial sleep facts!  

  • You have an internal body clock, also called your circadian rhythm. It is important that you respect your internal clock by going to bed within 30 minutes of the same time every night. This will cause you to fall asleep and wake up a lot easier. 
  • Skipping one night of sleep makes us as insulin resistant as a T2 diabetic. A drop in this hormone leads to weight gains, and signs of aging. 
  • Sleep is intricately connected to various hormonal and metabolic processes in the body as Catabolism and Anabolism. 

Catabolism: Molecules combine with oxygen, causing them to break down. 

Anabolism: The opposite of catabolism. It constructs molecules from smaller units. 

When we sleep, these processes take place and allow our bodies to repair themselves. You are building yourself. When you sleep well, your body fights the signs of aging and strengthens your immune and muscular systems. Therefore, sleeping might be one of the most critical work productivity tips for you!

Final thoughts  

Unlike other industries where production can be measured per hour per worker, programming productivity has no universal standards. Sprints help us define it but are still entirely subjective. 

Following specific efficiency techniques helps you boost estimation power. With better estimates, you can deliver better quality code in better time. Always remember that productivity should never include sacrificing your personal life. 

These work productivity tips are just a start for your life as a software developer. As you grow in experience, cultivate your personal best with constant experimentation: experimentation with your tasks, with your colleagues, and most importantly, with your habits. 

Plus, you don’t have to struggle to plan the perfect daily routine, as there is no such thing. We are not robots, but we can establish a great night and morning routine, away from distractions and by following some tips. This will genuinely rock your day! 

Before we leave… remember to check our open positions in Cafeto! Here, you are more than a number! 🙂

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