10 Productivity Tips to Help Developers Beat Procrastination
It’s undeniable that Software developers are often plagued by procrastination…
The temptation to fire up the browser and start mindlessly digging through Facebook, Youtube, eBay, Twitter, Reddit, and a million other sites is often too much to resist.
During my time as an iOS developer I’ve found several ways of dealing with this huge productivity issue, and I’d like to share them with you. Here are some of the best productivity tips for developers:
1. Take a Break
People swear by this sure-fire way to restart your productivity engine. As soon as you realise you’re drifting into the realm of inane social media, step away from the screen! It’s as simple as that. The small break in the cycle is enough to reboot your brain and get your productivity back on track.
2. Re-define your end point
In the world of software development, projects that span weeks or months can often seem like one giant to-do list. Try taking an agile approach and treat each day as a mini-cycle of development with a definite start and end. It can help to get you back into a zen-like flow.
3. See things through
There’s nothing more demotivating than starting a project, reaching the 80% mark, then getting bored and tossing it on to the heap of other ‘once amazing’ projects. It’s a bad habit to get into, that can seep into paid service work. See things through to the end, and you’ll feel a greater sense of accomplishment that helps keep you in a productive frame of mind.
If you have no order of priority you’ll constantly let ‘more exciting’ tasks move into fokus as the current one becomes less fun. Make sure you prioritise your tasks, and execute them in that order.
5. Deal with information immediately
In an environment where information comes at you in the form of letters, phone calls, texts, emails, instant messages and the like, it’s important to deal with this information immediately. If something will take me less than 5 minutes to process/complete I try to deal with it right then. If it’ll take longer it gets put on my to-do list or calendar. If it’s information I’ll need at a later date I put it in a relevant project folder.
6. Ignore your emails
Emails are an easy distraction. Avoid email clients that alert you when new emails are received. It instantly diverts your attention and breaks productivity. Make time every few hours (or even once a day) to sort through your inbox. See email as a secondary form of communication – people will tend to call if they need an answer immediately.
7. Break down your tasks
When a task seems difficult or daunting, it’s easy to doubt yourself ever being able to complete it and your productivity crashes into the ground. When you find yourself procrastinating on a task, break it into smaller more ‘doable’ chunks.
8. Stop setting unrealistic expectations
If you tell yourself you’re going to finish a 3 month project in a day, you’re guaranteeing failure. Setting yourself realistic expectations helps to keep you in a state of flow and keeps you productively blasting through that stream of work.
9. Turn off the Internet
What?! I hear you cry. Just try it, – you’ll be surprised how much you can do without it. Even a software developer who’s business is built around the web can manage for a couple of interference-free hours with the tap of information turned off.
10. Just get Started!
If you’re one of those people who talks more about doing something more than actually doing it (like me), then just get started! Planning and talking about things often reduces anxiety as much as actually doing them. Stop talking, stop planning, and stop talking! Just get started!
Try changing some of your habits one by one, and suddenly that urge to procrastinate will be a thing of the past!