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⚡️20 Easy Ways to Be More Productive as a Developer⚡️

Everyone wants to be more productive, but how do you become more productive? Well, hopefully you'll find some answers in this article where I've compiled 20 easy, tried and tested methods for becoming more productive as a developer!

1. Time boxing

Divide your time into boxes like:

9:30 --> 10:00
Emails

10:00 --> 12:00
Plan new landing page design and functionality

12:00 --> 13:00
Lunch and break

13:00 --> 15:00
Editing Documentation

15:00 --> 17:30
Work on redesigning landing page
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2. Deep work

Deep work is a productivity method that's all about getting into the zone. The idea is that you try working non-stop for long periods of time(2 to 3 hours) so that you get into a sort of flow. Then, when you're in that flow, it's going to be hard to break out and start procrastinating again.

3. The 80/20 Rule

Also called the Pareto Principle, the 80/20 Rule encourages you to do more of your highest value work. It suggests that 80% of your output tends to come from only 20% of your efforts. This method is about identifying which of your tasks provide the biggest return and prioritizing them. It is about spending your energy on the “right work” instead of wasting time on the minor details.

4. The Rule of Three

The Rule of Three is a great technique for people who are overly ambitious, or write to-do lists that they rarely ever complete. It’s about prioritizing what’s most important and focusing on having a meaningful outcome for your day. This technique simply entails writing down three things you want to achieve each day. Crucially, they shouldn’t be tasks – they should be results, like “Application deployed to AWS”. By kicking off your day with three meaningful intentions, you’re continually reminding yourself of what’s important and what you should be focusing on. This seemingly small action can have a big outcome.

5. Do Something

We've all been in a rut (really unproductive time-period) where we don't seem to have any motivation or energy, and we just generally feel unable to get any work done. When this happens, the best thing to do is to do something. Do some chores around the house/apartment, write some code(doesn't have to relevant to your job/projects), write a blog post. Just doing something productive is often the best way to get out of a rut and getting back on track!

6. Eat the Frog

Think of that thing that you've been procrastinating on for a long time. This can be a hard project, or learning something that's intimidating. Now, start on it with no hesitation. Just start. You might be afraid of making mistakes or not quite getting it the first time, but once you start, you'll gradually become more and more comfortable with that task!

7. Don’t Repeat Yourself

The Don’t Repeat Yourself method (or DRY Principle) is about saving time by reusing and recycling work you’ve already done. Repetition is by its nature inefficient and needless, so the DRY Principle encourages you to create workflows and templates to minimize it. You can apply this principle to code, emails, blog posts and much more!

7. Don’t Repeat Yourself

Just kidding ;)

8. The two-minute rule

The two-minute rule suggests that if you have any tasks on your to-do list that will take two minutes or less to complete, you should just do them now. The purpose of this method is to overcome procrastination by taking immediate action – so if you have an email to respond to and it’s weighing on your mind, reply to it now if it will only take two minutes to do so. This will make you feel you’ve accomplished something, which in turn boosts your motivation and builds momentum. Plus, it helps clear your mind and stops you from worrying about all those tiny tasks you still have to do.

9. Single-tasking

Multi-tasking can be a killer of productivity. Single-tasking is a method that encourages you to focus on one thing at a time. This way, you will spend less time and energy on going back and forth between tasks.

10. Must, Should, Want

Before starting your day, create a list based on these criteria:

I must ...
I need to ...
I want to ...
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This will help you prioritize your tasks and set your intention for the day.

11. The Eisenhower Matrix

I know this sounds very fancy but this method is just about making a list of all of the tasks you need to do, then put them into four different categories.

These four categories are:

Urgent and important tasks
Important but not urgent tasks
Urgent but not important tasks
Not urgent or important tasks
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This will help you prioritize your time for different tasks based on where they are within the categories.

12. Biological Prime Time

Start by discovering your natural energy levels throughout the day.

To do so, take a few weeks to document how energetic you're feeling throughout the day.

For each hour of the day – give it a grade between 1-10 (10 being high energy). Based on what you’ve discovered – plan your day accordingly. If you naturally have high energy levels in the morning – do the tasks you’ll need the most focus and energy for in the morning.
If you have low energy levels in the afternoon – save your low energy tasks for that time. These tasks can be going through emails or writing a blog post for dev.to.

13. The Weekly Review

Once a week, you’ll want to sit down in a quiet place where you can think and reflect. You could also use a notebook and pen if you wanted to keep physical track of the information.

You’ll want to review your past week in terms of productivity, energy levels, what worked for you, and what didn’t

For example:

  • Having a cold shower in the morning made a great productivity change for me.
  • Eating too little in the morning made me feel low for the next couple of hours.

In addition to thinking about how the week went, you’ll want to look at what decisions you made and which ones you wanted to change. You can come up with ideas to improve your results and you can catch up with anything you didn’t get done.

14. Pomodoro

This is probably the most famous productivity method out there. The Pomodoro method works like this:

  • You work for 20-30 minutes
  • You rest for 5-10 minutes
  • Repeat

This method encourages the opposite of the deep work method, so if you know that the deep work method works for you, don't bother with this one, and vice versa.

15. The Not-to-do list

Lots of productivity methods encourage you to make some sort of to-do list. But not-to-do lists are often overlooked, yet can be very useful for productivity!
At the beginning of your day, make a not-to-do list. This list will contain unproductive things that you want to avoid doing like using Reddit or Twitter, chatting with friends during your working hours or listening to podcasts that distract you.

This way, you will have a clear idea of the unproductive things you want to avoid doing during your day.

16. Organize Tomorrow Today

Organize and plan tomorrow's tasks before you go to sleep. This way, you'd be able to start on those tasks the next day without hesitation or planning.

17. The Checklist Manifesto

For everything you do more than once, or simply a complex task you want to complete – start by creating a detailed checklist of what you need to do to complete it the right way.
For example:

Writing a blog post
* Write the outline
* Write the rough content
* Review and edit
* Read through it
* Final review and edit
* Publish
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18. Don’t Break the Chain

This method revolves around you completing a daily task over an extended period of time. For each day you’ve completed your task – you simply go to your calendar and mark that day as done. This task can be something like writing a blog post, learning something new or reading a book for 30 minutes.

The first few days of commitment are usually the hardest – but your motivation to make a change pulls you through.

As the chain grows longer, not breaking your streak becomes a renewal of its own and motivates you to keep going.

19. The SMART goals method

SMART is a goal-setting formula that encourages you to be as detailed and concrete about what it is you are trying to achieve. SMART stands for Specific, Measurable, Assignable, Realistic, Time-related. This means that when you set a goal it should be well defined in a clear way.

It should include: What it is you are trying to achieve, how you will measure success, who’s in-charge, grounded, and doable, and what’s the time frame in which it needs to be achieved.

20. The Recharge method

When you feel that you're tired and can't work anymore, instead of trying to push yourself, acknowledge that you need a break and take it. It's often better to take breaks when you are mentally drained than to push yourself for 3 reasons:

  1. You will make less mistakes
  2. You will be less stressed
  3. You will have more mental clarity

Conclusion

I hope you found some productivity methods that you think will help you!

Oh and also, I learned a lot of these methods from the following articles so it would be weird if I didn't reference them:

Be sure to check out their articles if you enjoyed this one.

Discussion (26)

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hoshiharetsu profile image
Rebecca DuPont

Once I realized number 12 (Biological Time) it was so clutch for me. The only issue I run into now is having colleagues who are on different biological clocks. I am most alert from 5:30 to 11:30am. However, 11:30 onward is when my day really begins. Nonetheless, I am so much more productive having realized this, and keep my afternoons/evenings for more fun/personal projects to relax with.

Great tips and write up!

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aquadrehz profile image
AquaDrehz

I use Pomodoro for so long and confirm it's work for me. It reduce distraction a lot.

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kachidk profile image
Victor Nwanguma 👨‍🚀

I use number 3 (The Rule of three) alot in my day to day life, to the extent that 3 has become my favourite number.
Think of it this way, always think of 3 most important tasks or things to do, and the rest of the task will be easy to apporach and flow naturally, because you have accomplished and conquered the most difficult task, you will have courage to take on anything.

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webjoyable profile image
webjoyable

"Eat the frog" is one of greatest books for self-organization and task management. Great article

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rockykev profile image
Rocky Kev

I only got this far in my career thanks to that book.

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joeschr profile image
JoeSchr

About pomodoro: what to you folks do for rest? In my experience it either ejects me from my deep flow and I have a hard time getting into it again or it doesn't feel particularly restful/exciting/fullfilling

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rockykev profile image
Rocky Kev

Get comfortable with taking a break. The point is time boxing. It's no different from doing reps/working out.

My breaks include going for a short 5 min walk around the house, walking around giving belly rubs to my pets, or reading a quick reddit post.

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joeschr profile image
JoeSchr

Doing a short walk around the block maybe a good idea, thanks! I believe time away from screen is best for rest, but I also don't want to change my mind focus too much. So a walk may still give me time to think about it unconsciously. Other similar ideas still welcome though, because a walk may take too much time with getting shoes on and etx

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chasm profile image
Charles F. Munat

Why don't you just relax, take your time, and do it right? Why this incredible race to extinction? Do you really think any other outcome is possible, given that we just move ever more rapidly to destroy the biosphere, never even keeping a steady pace much less slowing down? And in the midst of all that and all the devastation around us, all you can think about is how to crank out more useless code in less time so you can be more productive at doing worthless shit.

How about we all slow way down and ask ourselves, what the hell are we doing, why the hell are we doing it, and is there anything else at all we could be doing with our time that might produce a better outcome for all life on Earth?

But maybe it's just me. Denial is an ugly thing. I guess we'll figure out how to save ourselves "later".

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code_jedi profile image
Code_Jedi Author • Edited on

Most of us are trying to do what we can to stop climate change. Before you assume we're doing "worthless shit". Tell us what you do. Don't assume everyone around you is an ignorant idiot. Then I'll listen.

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chasm profile image
Charles F. Munat

Oh, and almost forgot. I did provide an answer to my own questions, hence "what [I] do" -- and what I'm recommending to readers:

How about we all slow way down and ask ourselves, what the hell are we doing, why the hell are we doing it, and is there anything else at all we could be doing with our time that might produce a better outcome for all life on Earth?

Did you maybe stop reading after the first question?

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code_jedi profile image
Code_Jedi Author

I meant what do you ACTUALLY actively do to prevent climate change. Give some specific examples of what you do to "produce a better outcome for all life on Earth"

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chasm profile image
Charles F. Munat

Sorry, but no. This is still an attempt on your part to redirect the discussion away from my questions. Let's assume that I use a lot of plastic. I eat nothing but GMO beef. I drive a tank.

OK, nice, right? But what does it have to do with my question? 20 Easy Ways to Be More Productive Doing What, Exactly? But then, as you say in another response, you frankly don't care what. Whatever the reader wants to do more productively. I guess if what they want to do is implement a "Final Solution", then you'd be happy to help them to do it more efficiently. Too late. IBM got there first.

Maybe they want to help build a better surveillance state. That's good, too, right?

I guess it's asking too much to expect an "author" to think about what they've written when really all they did was fifteen minutes of Googling, then slapped together other people's work (without giving any credit, of course), and finally dumped it in any old order into a listicle -- because that's the best way to get numerous clicks from a benighted audience and it's really all about getting those views, right?

I will save future readers the trouble: the best way to be more productive is to stop wasting time on lists of ways to be more productive and get back to work. Hopefully, doing something worth doing.

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code_jedi profile image
Code_Jedi Author

Let me end this pointless conversation: "But what does it have to do with my question? 20 Easy Ways to Be More Productive Doing What, Exactly? But then, as you say in another response, you frankly don't care what." Developing, but It's really up to them.

"I guess it's asking too much to expect an "author" to think about what they've written when really all they did was fifteen minutes of Googling, then slapped together other people's work (without giving any credit, of course), and finally dumped it in any old order into a listicle -- because that's the best way to get numerous clicks from a benighted audience and it's really all about getting those views, right?"

  1. I don't really care about reads. If I wanted to be internet famous i'd go to any other platform other than dev.to
  2. Why are you making such a big deal out of an article? Like you're literally associating this with the end of the world
  3. "without giving any credit, of course" Check the end of the article smart-ass.

Any more useless comments?

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chasm profile image
Charles F. Munat

My bad. You did give some credit at the bottom after everyone stopped reading.

You've clearly decided that I'm the asshole. But my initial response simply asked questions that we should all be asking. You could have ignored it, or responded in any of many ways, including taking the question seriously and discussing how that might be worth discussion.

Instead, you got all butt hurt, and made it all about you. Then lashed out at me.

As for the end of the world, if you look at it closely you will see that it is made up of billions of tiny moments in which we could have made a difference, but we decided that the moments were so small that they didn't count. We defined the problem not as the end result of so many smaller, easier-to-solve problems but as an enormous monolith, much too difficult to solve, hence somebody else's problem. How convenient for us!

And so we did nothing and went extinct.

Maybe somebody ought to start somewhere and say something. Maybe every time we open our mouths or put fingers to a keyboard, the first thing we should talk about is the elephant in the room. Climate destruction and nuclear war are not "issues" we can try to do something about in our "spare time". They are existential.

The house is on fire, the children are about to burn to death, and you want to talk about what color to paint the kitchen cabinets. But I'm the jerk for mentioning that maybe we should think about putting the fire out.

Good luck with that.

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code_jedi profile image
Code_Jedi Author

I don't think you're the asshole. I understand that "Climate destruction and nuclear war are not 'issues' we can try to do something about in our 'spare time'. They are existential. "
I know that we should constantly be reminded of that. I'm sorry I didn't think of doing so for the article.

While we should do everything we can to stop it, do you really think millions of people are going to be able to quit their job and fight climate change because it's existential? There's only so much the average person can do to fight climate change. I mean, maybe you'd be able to if you're wealthy but the vast majority of people on earth can't just occupy themselves full-time on the problem of climate change. They can in their free time.

Until we change the fundamental infrastructure and economy of the world to a sustainable one, these personal efforts won't save the world. I know this sounds like an excuse for not making a personal effort; I know personal efforts do make a difference.

If you want to spread awareness about climate change, go ahead, but don't expect people to throw everything out the window and start relentlessly fighting climate change. They'll do what they can manage.

They're a wealthy oil tycoon with great influence and free time? Great they can make a big change.
They're a cashier working at Walmart with little money and free time? They'll do what they can.

I'm sorry that I said your comments are useless, but I really didn't understand what you expected from people:
"I will save future readers the trouble: the best way to be more productive is to stop wasting time on lists of ways to be more productive and get back to work. Hopefully, doing something worth doing." Maybe they'll find something useful in that list that will allow them to do more useful things in a given amount of time. Don't just get back to work and keep banging your head agains the wall, see if there's a more efficient and easier way to work and use your time.

"Finally, if 'most of us are trying to do what we can to stop climate change' is true, I must ask just to whom 'most of us' refers. To you and your cat? I only ask because if the who is 'humanity' or even 'most English-speaking people', then we are well and truly screwed, because 'trying to do what we can to stop climate change' seems to be doing nothing at all except make it worse." Ok probably not most of us, and probably most of the people who are doing something aren't doing everything they can.

"But that you took an argument about topics worthy of discussion to be an attack on you personally for your lack of caring about the demise of all life on Earth does smack a bit of barely-repressed guilt." It's not personal, I just hate when people assume that others don't care and that they're the hero and everyone around them is a guilty and ignorant piece of shit. The world doesn't work like that.

"Speaking of which, I must have missed the part of your article where you mentioned how we're going to solve the climate catastrophe, pollution, and pending nuclear war. It didn't seem to be in any of your twenty 'easy ways' to be more productive. Neither did you appear to mention what it is that we should be productive at. I guess more productive at destroying the planet or saving it are both acceptable answers." I'm not in a position to say exactly how we're going to solve climate change, no one knows exactly. Let alone nuclear war. I mean nuclear war? Do you seriously expect me to just give some step by step instructions on how to prevent nuclear war? In the case of nuclear war, there's nothing remotely significant I can say. We can talk about it all we want, but at the end of the day, Putin or Kim Jong Un or some other powerful figure can press a button and we will have nuclear war whether we like it or not.

"As for the end of the world, if you look at it closely you will see that it is made up of billions of tiny moments in which we could have made a difference, but we decided that the moments were so small that they didn't count. We defined the problem not as the end result of so many smaller, easier-to-solve problems but as an enormous monolith, much too difficult to solve, hence somebody else's problem. How convenient for us!" We have to do what we can, but ask yourself this, will these billions of tiny moments solve the problem? Ok, they can contribute to solving the problem, but until we fundamentally transform the entire(or most of at least)economy and infrastructures of our everyday lives, little will change. I wish it was as easy as just a billion little moments, but at the end of the day, there are enormous monoliths of problems that need solving

I do think people like you talking about climate change and nuclear war have good intention, but you are claiming that people like me who just wanted to publish a blog post don't care about the "children that are about to burn to death".

In conclusion, I get your message, but I strongly disagree with your perception of climate change, nuclear war, people and work.

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chasm profile image
Charles F. Munat

Let's assume that I'm the evilest person on the planet. How is that relevant? Is my comment somehow more or less true based on my own beliefs and behavior? As usual, people who have no good argument simply change the subject and hope no one will notice.

Speaking of which, I must have missed the part of your article where you mentioned how we're going to solve the climate catastrophe, pollution, and pending nuclear war. It didn't seem to be in any of your twenty "easy ways" to be more productive. Neither did you appear to mention what it is that we should be productive at. I guess more productive at destroying the planet or saving it are both acceptable answers.

As my argument wasn't about you or what you, personally, are doing to "stop climate change" (good luck -- my guess is nothing, really), but was about posting articles about efficiency without discussing what that efficiency was in pursuit of -- which is precisely what you did -- it looks like you missed it completely.

But that you took an argument about topics worthy of discussion to be an attack on you personally for your lack of caring about the demise of all life on Earth does smack a bit of barely-repressed guilt.

I was looking around for where it is written that before one can ask a question, one must already know the answer, but I can't find it. I think you might be confused about the purpose of questions.

Finally, if "most of us are trying to do what we can to stop climate change" is true, I must ask just to whom "most of us" refers. To you and your cat? I only ask because if the who is "humanity" or even "most English-speaking people", then we are well and truly screwed, because "trying to do what we can to stop climate change" seems to be doing nothing at all except make it worse.

Now, are you going to respond to the questions I asked, or just sling ad hominem? What is the rush? Where are we rushing to? Why do we need to get there in such a hurry? It is difficult to take anything on dev.to seriously with that big elephant taking up so much space in the room.

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code_jedi profile image
Code_Jedi Author

"What is the rush? Where are we rushing to? Why do we need to get there in such a hurry?"

We don't need to. If you want to you can. The list is for those who want to.

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chasm profile image
Charles F. Munat

Want to get where?

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code_jedi profile image
Code_Jedi Author

I don't know, ask the readers.

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agungdarmanto profile image
Agung Darmanto

Every single item is worth to try!

Nice guide :)

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bellatrix profile image
Bellatrix

Thanks Thanks Thanks @code_jedi

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nikhilroy2 profile image
Nikhil Chandra Roy

keep more post like this, Thanks

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louiseann93 profile image
Lou Willoughby

Saved for future until I find the right one for me! Thank you 🙂

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quik2007 profile image
Quik2007

Very nice to know!
Thx