This article was originally published at:
Working as a programmer is complicated sometimes, we spend long hours sitting in front of computers, sometimes feeling tired or unproductive. Also, we struggle to keep a work-life balance as programming seems to be a hobby for a lot of coders as well, so we spend time looking for a solution to the task we need to complete and sometimes forget to take a break.
And breaks are very important for our body and brains, that’s why I implemented into my life a few habits which help me to keep my body in good physical condition and also to refresh my mind. While I follow my everyday routine I have this feeling of loaded batteries and that helps me to be productive and successful in any creative or technical work I need to do.
Below, I would like to share with you those habits, because I think it may help others as well. I’ve also created a video version of this article so feel free to watch it and leave your feedback.
1. Sleep 8h and get up in the morning
I know everyone loves sleeping, but it’s a great idea to keep some schedule on your sleeping time. The most productive time during the day is morning, so it would be very bad to not use it. I always try to wake up no later than 7 am because it allows me to get out of home in one hour and I have all day to be used, which doesn’t happen while waking up at 12.00.
Besides, I keep an eye on my sleep time, and I try to not sleep more than 7-8 hours, where 8 is a perfect time, but 7 is still acceptable. I really feel fresh and rested after this amount of sleep and ready for a new day.
The trick I use to know when I should go sleep is a signal on my mobile reminding me when it’s the time to go sleep every evening.
2. Breakfast is the basis
Our body is a great mechanism, but we have to care about it and give it fuel to make it works well. Breakfast is the first time in the day when we can feed our body, so we should take care of it seriously because I bet that any of you feels comfortable while hungry.
I’m doing my best to eat breakfast before I will leave my home, and I always try to choose healthy but nutritious food, like porridge with fruits or scrambled eggs with some vegetables, because I know it won’t make me feel hungry for the next few hours, and allow me to stay focused on what’s more important than looking for snacks in the office.
It’s also important to plan your food and prepare it at home, because grabbing the burger on your way to work may not be the best option for your body.
Morning is a great time for me to take care of my body, that’s why I go to the gym almost every morning and do a one-hour training. It causes the release of happiness hormones and makes me more energy full for the rest of the day. It’s a great way to start a day with a good mood, but I also give my body an everyday dose of movement before setting in front of a computer for the rest of the day.
You don’t need to go to the gym, you can do some jogging as well and it will give you a similar feeling and a dose of fresh air if you are able to workout outside.
4. Drink water (with lemon)
Water is very important for our body, and dehydration is dangerous for us. A lot of people forget to drink the recommended amount of water per day, and it may cause headaches and even more serious issues.
To make it easier, I start my day with a glass of warm water with lemon, and later during the day, I try to drink a glass of water before every meal. A glass of warm water with lemon in the morning may bring you a magnificent effect for your health, and a healthy body definitely allows to make better results in your work.
Besides it, I try to have a glass of water on my desk, to be able to get some anytime I feel thirsty.
If you can’t remember about drinking water you can use an app that will send you notifications while it’s time to grab a glass of water. Technology is really great in those days.
Taking care of the body is very important, but our mind is also something we have to pay attention to. It’s really good to sit down for a second and meditate.
It allows to calm down and clear your mind, thanks to that you can start all your daily activities different look at a lot of things. It also helps to stay productive and focus on important things that you need to care about.
If you have no idea how to start with meditation, you can use one of the mobile apps available, where you will hear the calm voice telling you what to do. Also, you can learn a few technics which can be used to get different results, for example, boost productivity or calm down after any unpleasant situation.
6. Take a break
No matter if you are a programmer or a designer, or you do any other work where you have to spend all day in front of the computer, remember that breaks are very important. I realized that after about one hour of sitting and focusing on something I can’t think clearly and I’m not so productive as I would like to.
Taking 5 minutes break every hour bring a great result because after a short break I can come back to the computer with fresh energy to work. You can always use those 5 minutes to grab a glass of water, meditate or take a short walk.
7. Check emails twice per day
Notifications make me crazy and destroy my focus. Every time I saw I’ve got a new email I had to check it because it could be something important, but one second, if it’s important probably someone will find a better way to communicate, right.
That’s why now I check emails only twice per day, in the morning and in the evening, and during the day my email client is closed. Now I’m not so distracted every time I got a great email. So, now checking all the emails takes me a maximum of half an hour, and before I could spend even ten minutes to respond for each email and come back to whatever I was doing before. I’m saving a lot of precious time.
8. Reading before sleep
I used to read any news or social media on my mobile before getting to sleep, but as I realized that the phone screen makes me less sleepy and I actually waste some time, so I’ve changed it to read books.
This way I’m able to read something useful every day before sleeping, which gives me a true value and I’m able to fall asleep earlier than before. Also, I’m able to read a book in about one month not spending additional time on it right now.
I think this habit is particularly useful because we often complain about the lack of time for reading books, but when taking a closer look at the time management in our life we definitely can find half an hour every day to take a book and read a few pages.
Working with headphones and productivity playlists really boosts my effectiveness.
First of all, while I’m using headphones others don’t bother me, because they would need to catch my attention somehow to start talking to me. So, I’m less available to others, if something is not such important to bother me.
Second thing is that selecting a good playlist always helps me to cut off the world around me and let me focus on what I’m currently working on 100%, and that helps me to complete the tasks faster.
10. No-screen day
At least once per two weeks or one month, I’m trying to make one day without screens, and I mean really without a screen, without a mobile phone, computer, and TV.
It helps me to give some time for my eyes and also I realized that I spend my time in a totally different way, more socializing with friends and family.
Another advantage of no screen day is that I come back to work really fresh and rested, and full of energy to create and solve programming issues.
In this article, I’m sharing with you a few things which I do in my everyday life to improve the quality of my work and my work-life balance. Besides, it helps me to be more successful in my work and prevent burning ours.
I hope you will find these tips useful and I would be glad if you could share your habits, that works in a similar way.
Thank you for reading,
Anna from Duomly