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Ben Halpern for CodeNewbie

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What Are the Best Time Management Tools for Coders & Developers?

It’s Monday! And what better day of the week to talk about time management? There are a ton of time management tools out there — some general, and some more specific to the needs of coders and developers.

There's the good ol’ Pomodoro Technique, a time management method that involves breaking work into 25-minute intervals that are separated by quick breaks. But there are also so many time-tracking and task management apps, project management software, calendar apps, and note-taking tools. Not to mention code editors like Visual Studio Code and Sublime Text.

Using these tools (the right tools for you…and if you use them) can help you manage your time more effectively and be more productive as a coder or developer. Which do you use?

Which tools and technique do you use? And what would you suggest for newbies who are just getting started and need a way to stay focused?

Top comments (11)

damian_cyrus profile image
Damian Cyrus

Here is my list of tools:

  • Calendar application (fill in whatever you use: Outlook, Thunderbird, GMail, etc.)
  • Note application (fill in whatever you use: Obsidian, MS OneNote, text files, Notion, etc.)
  • Pomodoro Timer (I use Super Productivity, but you can use anything like, be it a browser extension, a desktop application, or your mobile phone with alerts)
  • Two minute rule

These are essential for me. My recommendation on that: Start small with little bits. It does not help you do everything at once.

My tools just help me for organizing my time, thoughts and documentation. It should not take more than 30 minutes to go over everything. Anything else goes to the time block.

For more details:


The calendar is blocking my time to do things. I leave a little free space open or leave the block optional to be available if really necessary.

This is a great method to block messages to not interrupt workflow. This way I learned the two minute rule, too. Additionally: you learn to say no to anybody and anything. The world will move on, and most of the tasks or topics can be moved after your production time.

Note and Task app (for me it is Obsidian)

There goes a lot of information like notes, but also a daily note for adding tasks on what to do each day. This helps for managing your daily routine and stay consistent. This also takes time, so it is booked in the calendar as that: start the day.

Each task is checked on time and with the Getting Things Done (GTD) approach. this way I can prioritize the tasks, too.

Do I need less than my pomodoro time for one task? Add another to it, but stop at 25 minutes. Really, just stop! With time you learned how long the task takes for real.

The notes will become very simple and your estimations better by experience. Don't get discouraged if the task is not done within your time limit. If that happens it is a good way to show you, that you might need help on the way or for the future: take more time into the estimation. Don't blame yourself, nobody is good at estimations if these are not automated. 🙃

Pomodoro Timer

Honestly, this is the hardest part for me, as the timer needs to stop me from my task. And that can be challenging. 😈

I use Super Productivity. Alternative: Use a Browser Extension or a webpage with a timer. There are a lot, one example:

Or build your own timer, without all that tracking within.

Two minute rule

This one is the best thing I use next to the calendar and note taking. This is not a analog/digital tool, it is a tool for your mindset and can be used anywhere in your life. It is the easiest to follow: If you can do the task in two minutes, then just do it.

If the task takes longer, then set a to-do task for it and block your time. This way you can also communicate to others when it can be solved: booking meetings or just get in touch is also part of the steps. It should not take more than 25 minutes. If you need to prepare for it, just take that time into account and communicate it if necessary.

If writing the task takes longer than the task itself: don't worry! It helps you to experience better documentation and understanding things you could not see before, so do it. Later on you will understand what you did within that short task description rather than looking into a git repository and check out your commits.

Maybe you remember what you did, but then you would not to go over your commits, right? Additionally other benefit from these information if it is available for them. They can learn and grow by your experience, too.

tqbit profile image

Super Productivity looks, well, super nice. I'll give it a shot

mcp111 profile image
Partha Mandayam

In super productivity, they claim pomodoro timer and jira integration features. But I don't see any such options. And why is there no help? How to find these items?

wraith profile image
Jake Lundberg
  • Calendar - Google Calendar for work, Proton Calendar for personal stuff
  • Notes - Obsidian
  • Task Tracker - Habitica (I am highly motivated by gamified things like this)
  • Time Tracking - nothing special here, I have alarms set at specific times each day telling me to get up and do something. maybe I'll pick up a tip or 2 here!
harshitkumar31 profile image
Harshit Kumar

I use to track how much time I spent on different projects. It has integration with all major IDEs. It also tells you how much time you spent debugging !
Apart from this I use stayfree to analyse where I spend most of my time.

kasuken profile image
Emanuele Bartolesi

My main tool is my Digital Garden for Notion. I have my entire life inside Notion.
I also use RescueTime for my productivity statistics and to block websites during focus time.

caesiumtea profile image

My radical approach is to follow my heart instead of "managing my time". Less planning and scheduling, more listening to my needs and adapting. I code however much I have that capacity for that day. I aim to be a happier and healthier coder, not a more productive one.

That said, I do like tracking my coding time with WakaTime so that I can see how I'm distributing my attention across my different projects.

johndkane profile image
John Kane

A running spreadsheet of time log entries over the past several years, bucketed into project and task codes. Mostly done to summarize time spent on projects and tasks for billing and original estimate comparison purposes.

villelmo profile image
William Torrez

I use a Pomodoro timer for GNOME; you must focus in a task, rest, be organized and put a goal.

jonrandy profile image
Jon Randy 🎖️ • Edited

Calendar for appointments (I use Google), pen and paper for everything else (well, a reMarkable 2 to save on trees in my case). Never tracked time for anything.

swordheath profile image
Heather Parker

Thanks for sharing!