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January 7th, 2021

Boosting your productivity as a developer

Most of us would love to be a little more productive. Less stressed throughout the day whilst getting more work done! What’s not to love? There are some simple steps you can take to help increase your productivity as a developer and enhance your working life.

Let’s go through some of the most effective ones.

Figure out your best routine – when are you most productive?

Provided you have a degree of flexibility within your working routine, it makes sense to really utilize this flexibility to your advantage.

Often we are stuck working a “standard” working day, and we never break this habit — even when afforded the freedom and ability to do so. Most people tend to have “bouts” of productivity throughout the working day, then lulls, where they feel less motived and focused in general.

The first productivity tip is to simply cram more of your work in to these highly-productive periods.

These highly-productive periods will differ from developer to developer. Some of us are really productive in the morning. Others reach their productivity peak at night, when nobody else is around.

Take regular short breaks to help retain focus

This productivity tip is somewhat counter-intuitive at first, but it makes perfect sense.

Taking breaks throughout your working day is a good way to sustain focus. Sustained focus will lead to an increase in productivity and a higher quality output.

There is some real science to back this up.

short breaks to help boost your productivity as a developer
Sit down away from the screen, have a coffee and relax!

In short, it is inevitable that during a sustained period of deep focus, the mind will eventually start to tire and you’ll lose focus. As developers, we aren’t robots. We can’t type away mercilessly at the keyboard all day every day!

Reaching your next deadline is important, but it’s also important to retain a good state of mind. Take breaks, little and often, to help with this.

Read, research and get involved to rekindle your passion

There are two ways in which reading, researching and consuming other development-related content can help to boost your productivity as a developer:

  1. You’ll gain knowledge and insight into new tech as well as what’s going on within the industry as a whole
  2. It’ll help rekindle and retain your passion and enjoyment

Feeling like you are a part of a community is a great way to stay motivated. Participating in communities such as /r/webdev is a good way for you to impart your knowledge to others, as well as ask questions of your own. It’s also a great place for general discussion on topics within the web development sphere.

Likewise, there are many YouTube channels that cover topics of interest. I’m particularly fond of Fun Fun Function at the moment, but there are many other channels like it out there.

Subscribing and participating in these kind of channels is a great way to stay in the loop. You’re also helping to support content creators, which is fantastic. It’ll help our community grow and thrive even more.

In short, staying involved with the community as a whole could be beneficial for you as well as the other developers you are interacting with.

Exercise regularly, and stretch!

The importance of getting enough exercise throughout the working day cannot be understated. Not only will it benefit your overall productivity as a developer, it’ll benefit your mind and body in countless other ways, too.

There are many benefits to keeping up a regular exercise regime. In terms of boosting a developer’s productivity, I’d argue that the mental health aspect paired with the energy gains are two of the most critical ones.

exercise is beneficial to boost your productivity a developer
If your office space has a table tennis area, use it to help break up long spells of sitting at your laptop

Exercising regularly can increase your overall energy levels. There is an obvious benefit to this when you consider your output in the work-related arena. Feeling spritely and awake will inevitably lead to more focus and better quality work.

Physical activity also helps by producing hormones and neurotransmitters than can have a positive impact on your mood. Feeling happy and relaxed is no doubt more conducive to increased productivity as opposed to feeling tired and stressed out!

Say no to (non-urgent) interruptions

This one is definitely easier said than done. Most developers who work (or have worked) in an office environment would surely attest to that. For those of us who are fortunate enough to work remotely; it’s a little easier to wrangle.

It’s important to note that constant interruptions have an extreme impact one a developer’s productivity. If you’re looking to boost your output in general, then cutting out these interruptions as much as possible is a crucial step.

Outside of emergencies or requests that are clearly urgent – your first question should always be:

How urgent is this request?

Can it wait? Or does it need to be my number 1 priority in this very moment?

Multi-tasking is clearly not conducive to sustaining focus on your main piece of development work. If your colleagues and other members on your team have this in mind, and consider that beforehand — everyone will benefit.

So, to sum up these productivity tips…

These productivity tips are non-technical, and they don’t directly relate to tooling or techniques or the actual act of writing code at all.

However, I’d argue that the productivity tips I’ve outlined are equally as important. Keeping your mind and body in check is something we should all be doing, regardless of profession!

Of course, to increase your productivity as a developer, it’ll always help to work on the technical side of the job. There are lots of decent resources out there that deal specifically with this aspect. Articles like this one from Hackernoon for example, it covers some useful tooling options for you to consider.

Thanks for reading!

Have any questions? Ping me over at @justacodingblog
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