8 Best Productivity Tips for Programmers and Developers

8 Best Productivity Tips for Programmers and Developers

It’s not easy to stay fruitful as a developer. It’s mentally stressful work that can instantly exhaust the mind and also needs a lot of attention. Understanding how you can concentrate on your work, use shortcuts using automation, and deal with distractions can significantly benefit you in creating the most out of your working hours. In this collection, you can discover our best productivity tips for programmers and developers, from finding the best developer tools to getting regular breaks to reduce distractions while working successfully.

1. Find the Best Code Editor

Developer productivity begins with a good source code editor. Although there are many great choices in the market, it’s difficult to tell which is the best — it all depends on your needs and goals. It’s worth trying out various code editors to see which one suits best with your workflow. Here are some important parts to take into consideration.

  • Which programming languages you are using. You require a code editor that offers syntax highlighting for the languages you require. Some code editor also comes with syntax highlighters for popular technologies such as React, not just for programming languages.
  • If your preferred code editor has enough plugin and theme ecosystem that provides the functionality you require (for instance, a high contrast theme if you have low vision).
  • If you commit your work to a code-sharing platform, such as Bitbucket or GitHub, you might find built-in Git functionality helpful. For instance, Visual Studio Code lets you instantly commit your task to GitHub without leaving the editor.
  • If you want to use your personal code snippets and/or keyboard shortcuts, it’s also a great idea to choose a code editor that lets you add or import them.

2. Begin with the Most Difficult Task Each Day

It’s simple to get lost in everyday tasks. Procrastination is also a common practice of developers — primarily if you work as a freelancer and manage your deadlines. Therefore, it often happens that you work all day, and by the end of the day, you understand that you have barely achieved anything. You can avoid that if you build a hierarchy of everyday tasks rather than multitasking, start with the most challenging task each day.

Although multitasking had been seen as a real thing for many years, it turned out that it’s not fit for most people. A study has shown that only 2% of the people are good at multitasking, while the rest can experience a lack of productivity as high as 40%. So, if you are into the 2%, keep working on multitasking. Otherwise, prioritize your tasks and concentrate only on one thing at the same time.

3. Take Breaks Regularly

Humans can’t focus on the same thing for unlimited time, and this is particularly true of hard mental work such as programming. You can find various studies about the time limit people can concentrate on a task without their brain wandering off to something else. For example, this research states that sustained attention is potential for about 45 minutes, while another one suggests 52 continuous minutes followed by a 17-minute break.

However, there’s one major thing to remember. The break has to be a true break when you do get up from your table. Checking emails, social media, blogs, Slack notifications, or simply looking at any kind of screen won’t matter as a break for your mind — every single study on the subject states this as a fact.

4. Schedule Your Work In Advance

Scheduling your works in advance can also significantly improve your productivity. You can either build task lists and check off finished tasks using to-do apps such as Todoist and Wunderlist or set up workflows with an application such as Trello. Nowadays, many great choices allow you to integrate various productivity tools, such as IFTTT and Zapier.

With task scheduling, you’ll also require to manage some experiments and think about what kind of tools you’ll actually need. You can use more than one app for accomplishing a task for sure. However, there’s also a chance of using multiple tools together. In some cases, too much complexity can lead to a lack of productivity.

5. Automate Repetitive Tasks

Automating repeated tasks is a must nowadays as a developer. It’s not a coincidence that DevOps is all the rage lately, as it’s all about automation. You won’t require much automation on the development side. However, getting your development code ready for production does include a lot of repetitive tasks.

For example, as a frontend developer, you can use a task runner to automatically complete everyday tasks on your code, such as minification, auto-prefixing, image optimization, and others.

With task scheduling, you’ll also require to manage some experiments and think about what kind of tools you’ll actually need. You can use more than one app for accomplishing a task for sure. However, there’s also a chance of using multiple tools together. In some cases, too much complexity can lead to a lack of productivity.

6. Track Your Working Hours

Although not everyone wants to track their working hours, placing a time tracking app into use can benefit y’all a lot if you have time management problems. Time tracking can improve your productivity mostly because you can see how you spent your time throughout the day so that you can screen out possible distractions. Time trackers can also be a benefit if you are a freelancer, as they help you bill your customers on an hourly basis.

7. Use The Command Line

Besides automating tasks, it’s also a great idea to create a habit of using the command line in your daily workflow. First, you can importantly speed up your workflow if you use a CLI instead of a GUI. For example, here’s a tutorial about how to set up the WordPress CLI to accelerate WordPress development and maintenance. Second, securely utilizing CLI commands is an essential programming skill that you can use in many other fields of your work.

8. Eliminate Distractions

Distractions are the largest enemy of productivity, so you require to find a way to reduce them as much as possible. Unluckily, they have a sneaky nature, so it’s not simple at all to catch them. This is mainly because, several times, they don’t look like a distraction first.

For example, checking your email every hour, chatting with co-workers on Slack, or watching a new video tutorial on YouTube can be seen as work-related tasks, but if you are consuming too much time on them, you might notice that you haven’t achieved that much by the end of the day.

So, you need to be very concerned about distractions and take cares wherever you can. For instance, you can choose to check your emails only twice a day, switch off Slack notifications while working, or block distracting website that you often visit during work.