Recently one of our developers saw this article by dev.to and started circulating around our teammates. While our team found it extremely helpful, we thought it is our responsibility as well to spread the word
With the credits to dev.to we have further improved the 20 Productivity tips with much more relatable examples for you as a Software Engineer to be much more productive in the days to come.
Here are the 20 Productivity tips every Software Engineer should know.
01. Time boxing
The approach is dividing your schedule into time boxes and for each time box you dedicate a single task to get done. According to popular news items, Elon Musk has taken this approach to an extreme level where has divided the entire day into 5 minute time boxes to stay ultra productive.
To learn how Elon Musk does time boxing, check out this article.
02. Deep Work
Deep Work is an extremely effective and a popular way of creating high value deliverables. For you to get into a Deep Work state, you are required to disconnect from all disturbances and focus on a single task with ultra focus for around 30 – 90 minutes based on your experience level.
According to the book Deep Work by Cal Newport, there are numerous examples of how successful individuals used this technique to create world class creations. One example is J.K.Rowling, who booked a hotel room for herself for several days for her to fully focus on completing the last book of the Harry Potter series.
As a Software Engineer you could also completely disconnect from your disturbing environments and start Deep Working at least once a day.
03. The 80/20 Rule
The approach is also known as the “Pareto Analysis”. This approach is all about finding the 20% of the items which could make 80% of the impact. That is attending to the most crucial tasks that could create the maximum results.
As a Software Engineer with this tip, you should be mindful that a small set of code lines could make or break your deliverable.
04. The Rule of Three
Pick 3 items in your to-do list and get it done.
05. Do Something
Sometimes when you feel you can’t do any work, just complete a tiny task and give your brain a dose of dopamine to boost up. Alternatively, just draw ticks on a piece of paper and you can trick your brain to release dopamine to start your engines.
06. Eat the Frog
Early morning select and complete the most difficult task. This will help you avoid procrastination.
07. Don’t Repeat Yourself (DRY Principle)
This is all about repetition of tasks. Avoid doing the same task over and over again. Try to automate and create workflows.
According to Zappier, the automation integrations that Zappier provides could save 30 hours per week in an office. Therefore you can also create your own workflows to avoid repetition of tasks.
08. The two-minute rule
A quick hack to finish your to-do list is by filtering out the tasks that could be completed within two-minutes or less and completing them off.
Multi-tasking consumes more energy and degrades the quality of the delivery especially when moving from one task to another.
Therefore focus on one task at a time.
10. Must, Should, Want
Define your daily to-do list as “must do”, “should do” and “want to do”. This gives a natural prioritization to complete the day in a successful manner.
11. The Eisenhower Matrix
As a Software Engineer when you are overwhelmed with a pile of work, classifying them into an Eisenhower Matrix massively adds clarity on where to start and focus. Additionally this is a massive supporting tool for leadership roles as well.
The approach is simple, you categorize your tasks into Urgency level (Not Urgent, Urgent) and the Importance level (Not Important, Important). Based on the classification you can take a decision as shown in the following image.
12. Biological Prime Time
What works for your colleague will not always work for you. It is important that you figure out whether you are a morning or a night person. This can be found by recognizing where your best energy is created. After recognizing this prime time of yours you can leverage it.
13. The Weekly Review
It is extremely important that you weekly review your behavior. In this you should reflect or do an energy audit and see where your best performance came and where your worst performance came into place. While doing so it is required to note down the habits, behavior and other actions which created your best and worst performance.
One of the most popular productivity techniques among Software Engineers. This is an approach where you attend to a task in 25-minute bursts of focus followed up with 3 – 5 minute breaks. A popular tool to use to practice is the Pomodoro timer.
15. The Not-to-do list
Have a not to do list. This sets context on what sort of things you should be away from. This adds clarity on the items to focus on and items not to focus.
16. Organize Tomorrow Today
Before going to bed, plan your day tomorrow. Creating this clarity for tomorrow helps you jump start the day with a clear direction.
17. The Checklist Manifesto
The easiest way to move a mountain is by scooping off soil one spoon at a time. This concept of modularizing is one of the most successful approaches to solve a problem or to complete a task. Thereafter, creating a checklist of the modularized items would be your checklist manifesto. This can also be created for repeated tasks.
18. Don’t Break the Chain
For a habit or a task which you want to complete daily, draw a cross on the calendar every time you complete it. As time goes on you will have a consistent chain of crosses which increases your motivation to maintain the activity daily.
A good way to apply this technique is, for junior developers who want to build a reputation on the OpenSource community could do a daily commit to a repository and create a chain of crosses.
19. The SMART goals method
When setting goals, always check whether it is “Specific”, “Measurable”, “Actionable”, “Realistic” and “Timebound”. Having the goals articulated in this framework creates a clear path of achieving it.
20. The Recharge method
Sometimes to move faster you need to slow down. When you are tired and feeling burnt out it is vital that you take a break. Having constant breaks increases your focus, quality of work and boosts creativity. A recommended way to recharge when working is having a power nap during the day.
That is all about the 20 Productivity tips that you as a Software Engineer should know.
We hope this gave you a clear context of the 20 Productivity tips which you could adapt to your daily routine. We will be posting more articles on how you can create more value in your work. Until then, have a productive day ahead.