What should a developer do while waiting for a pull request review?

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It's always nice when someone is free to review your pull request, but often I'm stuck waiting around for either a few minutes or even hours. On top of that, when you break work up into sizable chunks it often means you can't move onto the next step until that pull request is merged.

I'd love to hear what other devs are doing to kill time!

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This is a great question that probably many developers have asked themselves before. Before recommending some ideas I will start out by mentioning what you should not do. If you need a break, take a break, maybe watch a little YouTube or catch up on a news article but don't make that a habit while waiting for your review to complete. This is what separates out the more mature developers. I have seen plenty of people slack off saying they are waiting for a review to finish and I must admit I have done that before as well.

Some ideas I would recommend.

1) If you don't want to fight future conflicts with your code, go and pick some work that is not related to your review. Then you can work on the new stuff without fear it will conflict with your existing work.

2) If you have broken up your work into sizable chunks (good for you, btw!) and you want to continue working while the review is out, I suggest you branch off from that commit. Then you can continue working off your existing work. If there are suggestions in the PR that require some changes, then make those changes and merge them back to the newly branched off code.

3) If you have no other work that needs your attention, go find something to improve in your system while you wait. Maybe do some performance measuring, or investigate some new tool or trick to enhance your software. Take this time to learn something new while you wait.

I hope these ideas help! Don't kill time but make the most of it while you have it.


I review my PR one more time after it is submitted and make sure it passes our CI suite. Then I would use the restroom even when I don't need to; force me to walk around for a bit 🚶. Maybe a little bit of Reddit or HackerNews for 10-15 minutes and then continue to work on something else.


Then I would use the restroom even when I don't need to



I almost always move on to a different ticket or start dogfooding. The first option is usually available, but when it's not, it's great to just get on dev.to and start reading up on posts. I'm fortunate enough to have that be part of my job!

Maybe there's a way for you to engage with your product? Not sure what you're doing, but I've always found it valuable to start thinking from the end-user's perspective.


Things that immediately come to mind:

  • regularly check for whether your commits need rebasing
  • check on what your colleagues do
    • are there (semi-)open meetings that you can attend that benefit (from) you
    • what are upcoming features?
    • have a look at what colleagues are coding and if it isn't obvious what they are doing, ask, this helps keeping a very top level overview and you might even be able to help out if someone e.g. gets sick

  • document your changes

Another article that might also be interesting in that context is that one: dev.to/joefuzz/how-do-you-share-kn....
I've answered to that one with a few things that you can probably do when waiting for a review: dev.to/joefuzz/how-do-you-share-kn...

  • Next task
  • Some code cleanup
  • Helping the team or some other team
  • Work on a presentation
  • Check (again) if there is some review for me
  • Get coffee
  • Read articles/updates
  • Read others code
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