Developers often are running on empty before they even consider taking a rest. This is often assumed as the standard in their world. At the same time, a lot of coders have tried to increase productivity using different techniques that have helped them become more efficient.
We are happy to reveal the secrets we learned and encourage everyone within the industry (even the ones who feel productive enough) to make a checklist of the advice below.
#1: The secret is to not go insane
Productivity is a marathon and not a sprint – for most purposes. Even if you are able to code insanely fast and focus for at least 5 hours at a time, you’ll end up depressed for the next few days afterwards. It comes at a high cost.
Instead put your efforts into sticking to a schedule which allows for a proper diet, exercise, and sleep. Everybody knows this, few have applied it. Insane productivity is largely counter-intuitive.
As much as you keep on eating healthy, nutritious meals regularly is as better and relaxed you’ll feel. Stick to the standard 8 hours of sleep and make sure you don’t fall asleep on your laptop. Supply your brain with enough oxygen-rich blood by regular work outs.
As John-Charles Hewitt said in one of the Quora threads about productivity:
“Those three incredible secret productivity hacks of the esoteric productivity masters will put you so far above the average that nothing else matters all that much.”
#2: Working smarter, not harder
Because there’s a big difference between being busy and being productive. Managing your energy is often times more important than just managing time. So, focusing more energy on the priority tasks and spending less energy for tasks which are less important will bring you much better results than having the same attitude with any old task.
Remember that less is more, but don’t overestimate yourself and try to exploit the “Work smarter, not harder” truth especially if you’re new to productivity.
#3: Love what you are doing
Even though you may have heard that Mark Zuckenberg or Bill Gates had 30 or 60 coding spurts, the truth is that it wasn’t the money and success that drove these guys to deprive themselves of sleep.
What motivated them is that they love what they are doing. They lose themselves in the act of coding itself. They can get lost in it like the best sculptors get lost in their work. Michelangelo didn’t wake up every day thinking “Oh, I have to practice all day and night, it’s hard but one day I’ll become the greatest sculptor.” He would work on his statues just because he loved it. The same goes for great coders and any other high achiever.
#4: Never underestimate planning
Have your own to do lists created and learn to use them properly. You may write one list with tasks for today, a second list with few things you need to start today and a third list you may start think about.
As you may have already heard, you can pull each of these lists from Evernote to Swipes to manage them a whole lot easier.
Without proper planning you’ll soon start working on random tasks and the multitasking will definitely kill your productivity.
#5: Focus on one thing at a time
Again, this is something we hear all the time, but lack of discipline and organization requires that we be reminded it one more time. If you start the practice of focusing on one thing a at time, you are instantly boosting your productivity.
When asked what the number one reason for their success was, many people answered with “focus” as their main piece of advice.
Do the following test: make a list of all the things you spend time on working. Make sure to include even minutiae like checking notifications and emails. You may be surprised to see you waste a huge amount of time on activities of minor importance. To avoid this, just cut out all these things and compare with how your day went yesterday.
#6: Decrease perfectionism to increase productivity
Generally perfectionists tend to procrastinate and wait for the perfect moment… and they miss the bigger picture while being too focused on smaller things.
10 lines of the right code are better than 200 of the wrong code, however sometimes you just need to sit down and start coding. There’s a saying among writers which can be applied to coding with the same success: You can’t edit a blank page.
#7: Productivity is a skill
Productivity is a skill to be learned and practiced. Don’t set up a goal to be super productive from the very first day. Get started and gain momentum step by step every day. Before long you’ll notice it gets easier and you’ll start accomplishing huge tasks without the need to kill yourself with 30 or 60 coding spurts.
What to do now?
1). Answer in the comments below: What is your most powerful productivity secret?
2). Read our productivity killers blog post to learn how to deal with the various issues that may prevent you being productive when coding. Then read the 3 most valuable productivity hacks of Kasper, the CEO of Swipes.
3). If you find this blog post useful, share it with your circle of friends and developers.