7 Habits of Highly Productive Software Developers
The productivity of software developers is crucial to project success. It has a direct impact on the progress of the entire team, and on how ‘strong’ a product will be. Here are simple yet effective habits that will help you become a high-performing team player, boost your productivity, increase the overall output and free time to spend it on other activities.
Habit 1: Never check emails first thing in the morning
Never read emails first thing in the morning – this automatically puts you in a passive mode (instead of the active and creative mode you want to be).
The best time to check emails is when your energy levels are low – at around 12.00-13.00 and at 16.00 – so that you don’t lose productive energy answering “urgent” emails that in reality are not that urgent.
Habit 2: Avoid meetings when you can
Meetings are the main productivity killer, so if there is nothing critical, just skip it. As a web or app developer, you can always check with your colleagues after the meeting to see if you’ve missed any important stuff.
If you have to hold a meeting, keep three things in mind:
- Hold a meeting in the afternoon when your energy lever is low anyway.
- Prepare a meeting agenda and stick to it.
- Set the exact time and close the meeting when this time is over.
- End the meeting with a clear action plan.
Habit 3: Avoid distractions
Beware of two types of distractions: ones that you create yourself and ones that are created by others.
- Distractions created by yourself: Switch off all notifications (email, social media accounts, etc.) and block access to any non-productive sites.
- Distractions created by others: Your goal is to create an uninterrupted workflow. Use headphones or hang a sign that says “Don’t disturb”.
Habit 4: Make a task list the night before
It doesn’t have to be a huge list – instead, choose 2-3 important tasks. Ask yourself “If I can accomplish these tasks, will this make my day productive?” If yes, just do them.
Habit 5: Do the most important tasks first
Identify the most crucial task and deal with it first. Then take a short break and deal with the second most important task.
This concept is also known as “Eat the Frog”. The frog is that one thing you have on your to-do list that you are likely to procrastinate on. Eating the frog means to just do it, otherwise, the frog will eat you meaning that you’ll end up procrastinating it the whole day. Once that one task is done, the rest of the day will be an easier ride and you will get a sense of accomplishment at the beginning of your day.
Habit 6: Automate whenever you can
Strive to automate as many tasks as possible. Do not lose mental and physical energy performing something that a machine would perform faster, more reliably and without your involvement.
Habit 7: Alternate work-rest for maximum productivity
For example, you can spend 45 minutes working on a specific task and then, follow up with a 15 minutes break where you can check your social media, read the latest articles, etc. It’s even better to move away from the screen and take some physical action.
Do you have any helpful tips to share? We’d love to hear your thoughts.