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How I overcame my workaholism (with these 6 tips)

laxmariappan profile image Lax Mariappan ・4 min read

If you are proud to say i am workaholic then you should read this short post.

TL;DR: Set priorities, learn to say no and use a planner. Be productive, not busy, you should give importance to other areas of life too!

A developer’s day is unpredictable. You might encounter strange issues even StackOverflow and Google search can’t answer.

You might have to spend extra hours to learn something for your work or to make your code work.

In the end, you will be missing simple joys of life for the sake of work.

Follow these tips from my experience to get time for yourself, your friends and your family. You deserve it!

Start scheduling your day

I invested in a time management class to combat my procrastination. I started using a calendar to schedule my daily activities. I was shocked to see how many minutes or even hours wasted on low priority or less important stuff.

Break your schedule based on the tasks and allocate hours to each of them. Google Calendar is more than enough, to begin with. If you need more time to finish a task then move the less important task to the next day.

Your project management tools will help you track the progress of your projects but not the time spent on cat videos and memes.

Learn to say NO

Say no when your plate is full. Simple

You don’t have to prove your programming capabilities by working on many projects at a time.

Whether you are a freelancer or working for an agency, too many tasks at a period lead to the mediocre output.

Make sure that you spend time building a good portfolio. Every no count.

Be organized

I can hear you. Your table is messy but not your code.

Start with organizing the things around you. Your files, workstation, room, etc.

This helps you to be clutter-free.

You can avoid wasting time to search for something by being organized.

Imagine if you don’t use a password manager and you are searching for login credentials for every time!

This applies to write comments/hints to code and documentation too.

Form new habits

Habits can make you or break you. You can’t change a habit, simply assign a new value to that variable. Replace your time-stealing habits with new ones.

I sit for long hours like a backup file that never moved from its location and occupies the space. I started using the Pomodoro technique that allowed me to move around and be more healthy. Some developers were not a fan of this technique.

Find the habits that make you work for unwanted long hours. Use a time tracking app like RescueTime to track your activities.

Stay focused

I have the habit of checking my mail inbox frequently. Emails get my attention faster than my cats do. I end up responding to them quickly which keeps me to be distracted.

Finish the task then go to the next. One of my favorite authors of our time Benjamin P Hardy wrote that “Are you moving one step in 20 directions or 20 steps in one direction?”

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Photo by Александар Цветановић from Pexels

You can finish your tasks in time if you are focused. Don’t allow the notifications, new blog ideas, etc distract you.

Avoid multitasking and focus on finishing one task at a time.

Priority list

Do you like todo lists? A todo list allows you to be aware of your tasks. But you should set priorities. Sort the items based on priorities.

Arrays start with zero, time management starts with priorities.

In this approach, you will finish the items in the order of priorities that saves you more time. The least important tasks can be moved to the next day and some tasks can be trashed with a warning “are you sure to delete this item?”

Your personal and professional growth depends on your priorities.

These steps helped me to find time for myself. I go for a walk with a pawsome friend, working on a side-project, learning a new language and documenting my journey.

You might be working overtime because the project lacks enough developers or the estimated time for the project is wrong or the time is being wasted on less priority stuff. Figure out what needs to be done and take control over it.

Be productive, not busy. Set boundaries for your work and give importance to other areas of life too.

Stay curious and stay focused

Note: I still spend more than 10 hours for work and finding ways to improve.

P.S Did you notice that I mentioned short post and TL;DR in the consecutive lines ;-)

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