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Maks Akymenko for Netguru

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How I Boost My Productivity as a Programmer

Hello, everyone!

It happened, that my profession requires me to develop myself, boost skills and improve knowledge every day.

But honestly, this article is not only about the profession, but it is also about your time management, consumption of information, and becoming a better version of yourself every day.

So here is the list of productivity tips or habits, that help me be more productive both personally and at work.

Keep balance

There always should be a middle ground in your productivity, as everywhere.It's important to keep your eagerness to learn and at the same time prevent yourself from burning out.

To do it, remember about having rest and balance between your work and life.

A fresh mind always remembers better.

This habit was very important to me. When I started learning to program, without absolutely any knowledge of it at all, I was spending almost 10 hours a day practicing and studying. Of course, I was focused on the goal to find my first job, although I made a rule for myself: once a week I would toggle programming off of my life and do whatever I want, that is not related to coding.

It helped me avoid burnout and also continue learning in that tempo during the next couple of months and get my first job in IT.

I now work full time as a frontend developer but I have continued practicing that habit. Usually, for the whole weekend, I switch the toggle, however during the week I usually spend an extra hour or two studying and practicing new things.

Watch YouTube and listen to audiobooks on double (2x)speed

It requires some time to get used to it, but later on, it will save you plenty of time. Especially when it comes to twenty-hours audiobooks, YouTube tutorials or courses that last forty hours. Those, you always wanted to watch but didn't have time.

Also, the constant practice of this technique will make you a fast learner. Start from 1.5x and keep increasing it. Once you are there, you will not want to go back.

That was also the way I got used to it. I started with 1.5x speed up watching Udemy and Wes Bos courses and step-by-step, moved to 1.75x and then ended up at 2x. Now I check every video player, whether it has that speed up button or use the Chrome extension for it.

Practice what you've just learned

The theory is good as you might learn a lot, but practice makes your knowledge a reusable skill.

It's pretty obvious, practicing a lot will constantly make you better, whether we talk about driving a car, playing guitar or programming.

So right after you learned a new thing — build a small app using it, studied a new algorithm — solve some tasks implementing it, or even find some way to implement it in your day-to-day life.

While learning JavaScript I wanted to give it a try in some real-world situation, so I wrote a small script that was declining invitations on LinkedIn from IT recruiters which were without messages. That was interesting, fun and what's most important — helpful. Until now I have remembered that script.

Filter content in social networks, YouTube

There is so much noise around us, and we don't want our head to explode because of a glut of it. That's where filtering comes in.

Hide everything that doesn't inspire you and keep only useful and interesting topics in your feeds. This will allow you to concentrate and focus on something you are interested in.

From a programmers point of view, it's great because you'll be able to focus on information that is useful for you.

For instance, I had almost 50 channels on YouTube before. Now I have about 15 of them, which are only about topics I'm interested in, whether those are coding tutorials, traveling or technology channels.

No matter Youtube or any social network, they have a lot of junk content, so filtering helps me find new channels. I've got three rules for them:

  1. Every video must be a quality shot with details to composition, views, etc.

  2. Speaker or author must be professional in his industry.

  3. Whatever channel is about — I should learn something from it.

Listen to an audiobook/podcast while doing anything else

We all know why reading is useful, but in some situations, it's more convenient to listen. For instance, when you walk somewhere, stand in a shaking tram/bus, cook, even while working out. That is where audiobook/podcast on your phone becomes handy.

Here come all the advantages of reading books — doing two things at a time.

Once I caught myself thinking that I stopped reading books, because of the lack of time. Honestly, I like reading, so I needed to figure out the way to continue. That's when I tried audiobook for the first time and from that moment most of the books I put to my collection are audio ones. Especially when I started practicing double speed there as well, I realized that I listened faster than I read.

So two habits connected and strengthened up each other to help me spend my time more efficiently and meanwhile, learn and discover new things.


Hope, those productivity tips will help you become more efficient, learn faster, grow as a professional and, of course, boost your productivity!

It might not work the same way for you. What works for one, doesn't work for all, however, I suggest you give it try!

Thanks for reading.


Top comments (2)

krisj profile image
Krzysztof Jackowski

Nice one! Did you try some productivity techniques like pomodoro?
Also do you have any tips how to focus on productivity during daily work, especially when fixing bugs or solving complex issues?

maks_akymenko profile image
Maks Akymenko

Hi, Krzysztof!

I tried Pomodoro, but It didn't work out for me. I tried it with 25 and 35 minutes iterations, but It appeared to break my concentration rather than keep it.

I think, music helps me a lot to concentrate on something, I just turn some calm acoustic or focus thing and I am all in the process :) Whether it is fixing bugs or searching a solution for a complex issue.
Also, every hour I do 5 minutes breaks. I use Time Out - Dejal app for that. It helps me to keep the focus.