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!
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
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.
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.
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.
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!
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!
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!
Just kidding ;)
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.
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.
Before starting your day, create a list based on these criteria:
I must ... I need to ... I want to ...
This will help you prioritize your tasks and set your intention for the day.
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
This will help you prioritize your time for different tasks based on where they are within the categories.
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.
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
- 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.
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
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.
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.
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.
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.
Writing a blog post * Write the outline * Write the rough content * Review and edit * Read through it * Final review and edit * Publish
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.
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.
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:
- You will make less mistakes
- You will be less stressed
- You will have more mental clarity
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.