loading...
Cover image for How do you keep yourself productive?

How do you keep yourself productive?

coffeestasia profile image Anastasia πŸ„πŸ»β€β™€οΈ ・1 min read

Hey, developers. Need your advice!

How do you monitor your productivity? How do you keep yourself focused and organized throughout the day?

Maybe, you've worked out some daily rituals that help you tune in to work? Or you stick to some management system? Please, share πŸ“’

Discussion

pic
Editor guide
 

This might sound super strange but it genuinely has helped me recently when I've been in a bit of a slump...

I currently use Toggl to track my time for freelance clients. But at times when I find myself procrastinating or deviating away from a task that I know I should be doing right now instead of looking at xyz somewhere else like dev.to πŸ™„.

I time it and then add that time to the "dicking around" project. Which in turn, at the end of the day equates to the total amount of cardio I have to do that evening.

And magically enough I stopped dicking around for extended periods of time and started running longer πŸƒβ€β™‚οΈ

 

Hahahaha I absolutely love this

 

Some random thoughts that come to mind for me:

  1. Set a schedule. avoid procrastination or overwork by giving yourself "Work Hours"

  2. Set a place. if it's the kitchen table, a great co-working space or otherwise. Trust me you don't want to end up working in bed all day. Bad habit.

  3. Get a solid pair of noise canceling headphones. Don't forget to make sure they have a good mic too. You need to hear and be heard.

  4. Take breaks! It's easy to never walk away from your screen. But walking the dog or stoping for a nice cup of coffee gives your brain room to recover and you'll come back more effective than before!

  5. Get good at notification settings. Out of the box things like slack, messages, email all interrupt you all day long. Take a minute to prune and hone your notification settings to save hours of interruption and frustration.

Some things to google that have helped me:

  • Pomodoro Technique
  • Pareto Principle
  • Eat That Frog!
  • Getting things done
 

Morning Ritual.

I have a morning ritual where I basically do things that will fill me up with energy: drink water, green juice, meditation and writing.

Then I use a notebook and set up my agenda for the day. It could be a night before or the same day, it does not matter to me. Here I write my Most Important Things to do and let some blocks for eating and workout. If possible I try to do the more meditation and reading sessions I can along the day.

I keep doing this all days of the week no matter the time I wake up.

--

Stick to the agenda

Try to stick the more you can to the agenda you wrote down, be flexible but try to follow up the Most Important Things you have to do.

--

Healthy Habits

The more important thing in the world for you is yourself. Give enough time to sleep, eat healthy things, drink enough water, practice self knowledge and do some workout.

Know yourself and learn to read the manual inside you. Unfortunately there are many times we don't follow our intuition and we just keep doing things in automatic mode.

--

Consciousness

Once I read this:

"The depth of your attention determines the depth of your experience. If your attention is profound, your experience of life is profound."

So, I try to avoid multitasking as this interferes with my attention, as well I keep myself out of digital distractions like social media and chat.

--

And those are some steps I follow everyday :) I hope it can help a bit.

 

Some great tips here, thank you for sharing!

 

For me focusing nor staying productive at work has never been an issue in itself. If there ever was a moment without a task to do I would come up with one, and it would make things better!

The biggest issues are related to the little big stuff: sleeping enough, eating well, taking care of health, giving enough rest to your head, living in an area that you like, having variety in the things you enjoy doing, making sure your other muscles get some work to do and not only your brain.

I've been my most unproductive when there has been social stress. Work stress hasn't been too bad, except for the occasional times when there has been simply too many things bombarded to the list of things to be done all at the same time. However that is much more of a management problem than a personal developer productivity problem. Then finally you have to acknowledge the fact not every day will be a good day. Helps to reduce unnecessary stress.

In the future I might consider keeping some sort of a journal to help with more responsibility that is coming my way thanks to someone deciding they add "Senior" to my job title.

 

I totally agree that self-care is the #1 advice for keeping a high productivity level.

Some of my peers forget to take proper care of their bodies. They often complain of headaches and backaches which both come from stress and body tensions. So, physical activities, proper nutrition, and healthy sleep are a must.

Social stress happens to everyone. For me, self-care activities that you mention in your comment help me not to lose focus and recover faster.

Thank you for sharing, Vesa 😊

 

I am interested also!
Especially if you collaborate with multiple open source projects: how do you organize your activities between projects, life, work...

 

My advice might sound strange, but a cup of Joe gives me a boost.

I usually work in the flow state and keep my productivity at its highest. But in the middle of the day, when I fall out of the flow, I take a walk to the nearest coffee shop and treat myself with a cup of cappuccino.

I'm one of those weirdos who like their tea and coffee cold, so I sip a single cup of coffee the whole afternoon. It makes me feel refreshed, and having a sip every minute or two creates a weirdly satisfying routine that gets me through the rest of the day πŸ˜…

And back to the topic of the flow state, I prefer listening to some lo-fi or trip-hop tunes and having all my work chats and notifications off. Once I get distracted, it's hard to catch the flow state again.

TL;DR:

  • remove all the distractions
  • listen to some lo-fi or trip-hop tunes
  • have a walk in the middle of the day
  • have a cup of coffee in the afternoon
 

I follow some of the things u mentioned. I think, this routine is perfect if it works for you. Follow things or build habits that work best for you.

Although, I need to add workout some where between coffee and my next coding session.

 

From 0 to Hero...

You need to create habits...
Write down 3 goals you want to make in a year... BIG GOALS... not small one like buy a pair of shoes... for each goal you need to write down 3 HABITS; every day you need to read your journal (with your goals, task an to-do list) every day; read it!!! Once or twice a week, have a mastermind with yourself and improve your to do list; you'll create the best habits to be productive: a better adapted to-do-list.

At beginning i started my to-do-list and was: unorganized, was a mess, crazy (I wanted to do 30 TASK IN A DAY) but, no one have the time, the brain, and energy to make 30 task in a day and make it well.

Start making every task you want to do; you can use any SaaS app like Trello, Notion.so, Evernote, etc... and have your own mastermind for make your task, habits and goal more effective. at the end of the 3rd week you'll have a very realistic and productive list.

A very important thing: you need to know about yourself and how you work your habits: in my case, i make a soft task at first time in morning (1 hour); read mail, social network, read my journal and to-do-list, read some blogs and "i-read-it-later-articles". then the main tasks, i.e.: study, programming, practice, practice, resting (important). i was a mess at beginning, I'm handling it now

Don't read your mail (or IG, FB, Twitter,etc) every hour is a waste of time (2-3 times).

Train your body, step by step to make things happens, simple.

sorry my English if i write as i speak.

 
  • Monitor your hrs (I use toggl toggl.com/)
  • Work in short bursts of 2-3 hrs and take small breaks occasionally
  • Knowing when to stop, devs work long hrs and productivity goes down as hrs go up
  • Working out helps, even if twice a week
  • Meditation

These are the things that were helpful to me personally, hope it helps

 

Don't seem to have much of a choice. So much to do! But - making sure that productivity is "smart" and not just "stuff..." is the difficult part. So, defining really clear goals helps us decide what is the most important things to do. Then - we just have to steer the boat in the that direction.

 

I have a trick where I assign myself a task I have to finish before stepping away and doing something else. It's all too tempting to take a short break in the middle of something, but really it's best just to finish the thing and then take a break.

Really helps me close the loop on an activity.

 

3 things:
1 - notion
2 - to do list
3 - Pomodoro technique

At the end of my day, I plan the next day (based on what I already know I will have to do)
For me it works, it's simple without many complications

 

Taking mind off of a same language/platform/framework/product you are working on and trying to do something else totally irrespective of what you know. Learn to play music, learn a new language, learn something new out of your area of expertise. This is the biggest exercise for the brain to keep it healthy.

This is different than passive break (vacation/tour of different city). Of course, vacation is also required to make your body healthy.

Fresh air keeps your body healthy. Same way, Fresh idea keeps your mind healthy.

Learning new language/framework/platform will increase your knowledge and sometimes it will also help you appreciate your existing language/framework/platform which makes you feel boring.

 

I use a reminder app 'Alarmed' to remind and nag me to do household and personal work like paying bills, getting groceries, online shopping, etc. This lets me focus on office work without much anxiety. For office work, I use completely different editor (than the ones used for coding) to write meeting notes, reminder for follow ups, etc. I sometimes prefer to write todos on paper. It is oddly satisfying to cross the todo item that are completed with a pen. 😁

I try to ensure that I give my 100% in whatever I do - office or household work. If I am involved in doing what I think is the right thing to do, I never have to think about productivity. If I see myself slacking or unable to focus, I give myself a short break to relax. I go for a walk or check social media. But in my opinion, the difficult part is to have that awareness to see that I am slacking and to realize that a break should actually be short. To raise that awareness and have a process oriented approach, practicing daily meditation has helped me a lot.

Hope this helpsπŸ˜ŠπŸ™

 

I don’t use any tricks anymore, every life hack, diet or special exercise or even app that claims to help never does. What I did find that helped over time is a routine, and I don’t mean like a boring normal like routine. I believe at the core of keeping productive is getting the right balance of mindfulness and self discipline. I think the perfect thing that teaches this are a few martial arts, but there’s podcasts out there and such on self discipline as well like jockos podcast. I only really use the mindfulness stuff myself to keep my mind in the moment and help deal with loud environments so enacting good self discipline seems to help me the most. I written some stuff here on my blog as well about it a while ago: somet.dev/learning-to-learn

 

I've been conducting an experiment for half a year now on myself to become more productive using Beeminder. So far, it's made me blog more, develop more code, become more active, and overall be happier!

Data and charts: beeminder.com/brennanbrown
Write-ups and weekly reports: journal.bar/

 

Spreadsheets, Journals & Calendars

 

I have a "schedule". I work for 25 min, then pause for 5 min to check social media, stand up, get something to drink and o on. Then I repeat it again. Works great :)

 

I heard it's called the Pomodoro technique πŸ…

As for me, scheduled breaks kick me out of the flow state.
But some of my workmates enjoy this approach.

Thanks for sharing, Emil 😊

 

I use the app Notion for managing my projects and the app Tick Tick for managing everything on my To Do list.