"In programming the hard part isn’t solving problems, but deciding what problems to solve" — Paul Graham —
Get shIT done - get work done. I often use it to jokingly ask a coworker if he's finished cleaning up the shit(work) for the day.
Some will answer with a grimace: I don't know, holy shit or maybe...
The rest of the people look better, they usually complete the work within the day or at least achieve something. They have a unique way of thinking about the world and finding creative ways to solve problems. And most notably, they have the drive and desire to get shit done.
In this article, I’ll share our personal tips and best practices on how to increase productivity to get work done as a software developer.
Some practical tips to be more productive
Tip 1: Urgency vs importance
For every issue that you face or every challenge, you want to solve, ask yourself first: is it important? Second, is it urgent? Eisenhower’s matrix (see figure below), shows how you can deal with this by assigning a task to one of the proposed quarters:
- Important and urgent: drop everything and do it right away. This is usually a problem that needs to be dealt with immediately, like a production issue.
- Important, but not urgent: plan time in your agenda to work on this task. Since this is not urgent, you can take your time to think about the issue. These are usually things concerning the long-term success of your project, for example: finding a replacement for a developer that will leave your team in 3 months.
- Not important, but urgent: delegate it to someone else in the organization for whom this issue might be more important or more relevant to their job responsibilities.
- Not important and not urgent: simply eliminate this from your agenda, task list or calendar and focus on the important things.
Tip 2: The 2-minute rule
If you can perform the task within 2 minutes, you have to do it right away. If the task will take more than 2 minutes, plan it. You either can create some time for it in your agenda or put it on your task list.
Tip 3: Take control and create order
How to prioritize all the tasks, responsibilities and jobs that need your attention?
How to create order in the constant chaos of demands and notifications?
Write down all the important tasks from Tip 1 in an overview and create a solid agenda for yourself.
Tip 4: Create a task list
- A good task list should give you an overview of the urgent and less urgent tasks. Here you can order your tasks with different labels, like “work”, “personal”, “this week”, “R&D”, etc.
- A good task list should be quickly accessible. Create a keyboard shortcut to add tasks to your task list.
- Add a deadline to your task. If the deadline is approaching and the task becomes more urgent, move the task to your agenda.
- Some really good task list apps that we can recommend are Sticky Notes, Trello and ToDoist.
Tip 5: Break it down
Ever felt like you don’t know where to begin a task?
Try to break it down into smaller, more tangible bits. This way you can avoid uncertainty and anxiety, your goals will become more clear and you will be able to assess your progress more precisely.
Tip 6: Distraction from your phone
Notifications on your devices are real focus killers. Apps are designed by marketing psychologists to constantly draw your attention with clickbaity popups, like-buttons and unread message indicators.
Make sure this doesn't have much of an impact on your job completion.
I'm also trying to fix this for myself.
Tip 7: Set team rules
A certain rule file will help your team work quickly and avoid conflicts with each other, rules will help to get the job done step by step and accurately.
Give penalties if someone intentionally violates this.
Tip 8: More screens – more productive
Of course, working with a second monitor can increase your productivity.
However, that depends on how you set it up. It will definitely help you if you use a second monitor to view some documentation along with your code.
However, if you use it to watch You tube, Netflix, xxx in the background, the job won't get done any faster.
Tip 9: Working from home discipline
Currently, the Covid 19 epidemic is complicated, the work-from-home model is popular, but it will not be effective if some individuals take advantage of this to delay work for personal purposes.
Ex: sleep, movies, babysitting, noise, independence
- Take breaks: go get a drink or just spend a few minutes looking out of the window will help you to refresh your mind.
- Let your family know when you’re busy. Your home is already a minefield of distractions.
- Separate your workplace from your sleeping/living area. We all have different living conditions, but try to dedicate a work space in your house.
- Good equipment: If you manage to make up a dedicated working spot, make sure to buy good equipment.
Tip 10: Stay healthy
- Healthy body = healthy mind. Being in good shape is the best way to stay focused. Take a walk or even get a gym membership.
- Drinking water keeps you hydrated and focused. Coffee is a really nice energy booster, but also a long-term downer.
- A good night’s sleep is the best bug fixer in the world.
- No devices in the bedroom: leave all devices downstairs when you go to bed. Instead, read a book or have a conversation with your partner. You will not be distracted by notifications during the night.
- Never check email before bed: focus on going to sleep, all those work problems can be dealt with the next day.
To develop yourself, try to train yourself a lot, at least to complete the assigned work well.
Get shIT done - Clean up this mess