October 17, 2017

How Do You Stay Productive as a Developer

Here’s my answer to “How do you stay productive as a developer?”, this one is definitely more than 300 words :)

I’m one of those people with lists of goals for the year, month, 5 years plan, etc. I started this habit at 16 on pen and paper. Of course, when life happens, I always question why I still write down my plans/goals? :facepalm: I think I need to do that to have a sense of direction, some sort of control - otherwise, I’d be a complete mess.

Here are a few things I’ve experimented with over the last couple of years:

Every hour of a given week on my Google Calendar synced between 3 email accounts is planned - yeah, I schedule sleep, breaks, TV time, work time, etc, I’m unbearable! :D

I like having a list of goals/to-dos for the week ideally by Sunday or early morning on Monday. These lists are usually refined every morning based on changing priorities.

I’m quite introverted so I need a lot of me time to be productive. Context changing is the bane of a productive day for me. On days where I need to have meetings, etc - it’s important to give myself some time to recoup before going back to work. Attempting to get work done in between chats, meetings, etc. is futile. I’ll spend most of that day distracted.

I have noticed that I am most productive super early in the morning or during the midnight - so, I tweak my daily routine around to optimize for deep work during those periods.

A typical morning routine goes - get up, meditate, do some exercise, get breakfast + coffee, identify the things I have to do/ write a to-do list, respond to/send messages, put my phones on silence, abandon my phones in the bedroom, move to my work area if I’m working from home or the nearest cafe, then do some work while plugged in to a playlist on Spotify.

If I get stuck on a particular task, I usually like to continue and stick to it till I figure it out. Sometimes, I take a few minutes break and come back to it.

On Tools, in addition to GCal & Momentum, I recently found Things - it’s amazing for tasks management, reminders, etc. For dev work planning, I prefer Trello or Pivotal Tracker - tried Asana and Taiga on a couple of projects but they didn’t stick. I make use of ColdTurkey to keep my Twitter addiction at bay.

Click to read more about time management tactics as a developer from my teammates