As a software developer gets inundated with more projects, it can become difficult to stay consistently productive. Software developers must handle many moving parts, meeting deadlines. As a result, it’s hard to rein in your attention and stay on track. However, there are several things software developers can do to stay productive.
So, what are the most effective ways to remain on task and efficiently work? If you worry about having the time and energy to research ways to boost productivity, we’ve done the leg work for you.
Here are ten ways busy software developers can be productive and boost their work output.
Scheduling out your days
As a software developer, scheduling the day’s work is important. Which tasks require the most energy? What has the nearest deadline? Focusing on the more difficult or timely tasks is prudent so that nothing slips through the cracks.
However, it’s also vital to figure out what your day needs to look like and have flexibility so you can complete projects on time.
Automating certain functions
Some of the most repetitive and redundant tasks can take precious time and energy.
Thankfully, automation tools can not only free up that productivity time for software developers but also be more effective for accurate and efficient information. Figuring out what can and needs to be automated, such as project management and workflow, will help to make for more productive days.
When these functions are solidified, you create a more consistent software product that is attractive to potential buyers and gives everyone involved an opportunity to continue to do great work.
Staying focused and on-task
When emails are constantly pinging and notifications call your software developers elsewhere, it can cut into a software developer’s valuable working hours. Help minimize distractions by turning alarms on mute, putting away your phone, or even using browser extensions to keep your focus on the task.
Also, learn to say no to anything that will keep you from your deadlines. With so many methods to reduce interruptions, performance can improve.
Utilizing breaks and restful periods
From at-home working environments to dedicated office spaces, giving yourself time to recoup is more helpful than constantly working your mind and body. Decrease burnout by taking mental and physical breaks throughout the day.
Software developers who sleep better at night perform better during working hours, and breaks during the day can boost productivity. Be mindful of your schedule, so you don’t allow anyone to disrupt your resting periods.
Adopting work-in-progress limits
Work-in-progress (WIP) limits help reduce overwhelm and increase quality in your workflow. It also keeps you from constant task switching since it limits the number of work items on which you focus.
Adopting WIP limits lets you control how much you can accomplish in a set amount of time without overloading yourself or committing to too many projects to deliver quality work within your deadlines.
Using productivity apps and tools
Your day-to-day includes working with many software and tools, so why not add useful productivity apps to your roster?
As a software developer, staying productive in ways most beneficial for your work can be difficult. Including productivity tools as part of your tool stack can help you better manage your schedule, organize your workflow, and much more.
Plus, they’re pretty user-friendly and functional for your everyday requirements—research which one suits what you most need to boost productivity.
Keeping your mind sharp
When the brain only focuses on one task or thing for too long, it can become tired. So keep your mind sharp with fun activities that promote cognition.
These activities include brain teasers, games, puzzles, and other mentally stimulating exercises. For example, are you feeling stuck on a project or task? A quick break to play a game can help to solve the problem for you, giving your mind something else on which to focus.
Committing to tasks
It may be tempting to switch tasks, especially if you’re struggling or waiting on some information, but it can decrease productivity. While we previously mentioned WIP limits, there are other ways to commit to your tasks and keep from constantly switching jobs.
Some interesting hacks to better focus on your project include filling your room with light, getting enough sleep at night, and purging the low-priority items first. The Pomodoro method is popular with software developers since it requires working in blocks and allows for rest breaks.
Mastering important skills
Software developers need to stay up to date with their skills and knowledge and master what they already know. Many resources can help you hone in on things like Integrated Development Environment (IDE) and coding.
Your work may even offer stipends for development or free courses, so see what areas you’d like to improve and fit these into your schedule as part of your work day, especially during downtime or slow periods.
You can even look into programs that help in other areas, like typing speed and accuracy, since these skills will also boost your productivity.
Investing in code review
Having your code peer-reviewed can be valuable as a software developer.
If you’ve been deep in a project for too long, you might be missing something an extra set of eyes can catch.
Constructive feedback through code review helps your productivity, whether you’re stuck or unsure about potential issues. Plus, it saves time in the long run if any problems arise by having another set of eyes take a quick (but thorough) look to catch these errors before they’re live.
When you work with technology and software every day, it can be easy to get stuck in a pattern. Unfortunately, just because one method or process has seemingly worked in the past doesn’t necessarily mean it’s the most conducive for your work output.
As with any job, it’s important to be productive in the ways that matter. Software developers especially should find methods that are effective, efficient, and accurate, and with a world of new apps and tools that increase workflow, it’s important to do your research and find what’s right for you.
So consider this list when you’re searching for these new approaches, and here’s to being productive in streamlined ways.