I am a developer who likes coding to solve problems, but when i enjoy doing work in front of my laptop and busy with tasks that must be done, left me no time to make personal improvements. During the day, i struggling with coding, if you are pressed for deadlines, you have to work at night to achieve this, sometimes it is missed or even invisible to anyone that work at late night. It is really complicated, it is demanded to work quickly, ensure quality, and workload that seems endless. Everyone hopes you can do everything even though it’s impossible to do.
Even though I am not paid based on the hour, we are able to make the best use of our time or in other words remain productive, the importance of personal improvement and taking the time to study and research how business and features continue to work together. From the past few years I have gained insights, but of course these insights are sometimes very difficult to do, it’s easy to write but hard to make it consistent. Here are a few things to stay productive.
I have difficulty to not being able to say “no” all the time. especially for colleagues. We can’t make everyone happy if we said “yes”, you can’t say “yes” to everyone, if you say “yes” to everyone who wants to ask you for help, it means people don’t understand your priorities, other people think the priorities you do are the below their priority. I’m still learning to say “no” in every situations, I try to learn how managing my priorities and each person’s priorities will help promote better effective management. For more on, how we can learn to say “no”, this link can help.
Don’t forget yourself.
When we are fixated on the work and how to get it done. We will sacrifice a lot of time for friends or family, actually this can be managed and depends on how it is managed. It is important to have relationships with friends and family. Only those who help you to make decisions while working and even keep you from stress at work.
A professional must be able to share time with family and work. But not many of them choose work before family, depending on your decision, I’m sure professionals will be able to make the best decisions but not the best for both. Don’t forget yourself, love yourself, we don’t rely on others to understand us, only ourselves who understand us. Love your self, take 15 minutes to do what you think you like, read books, watch movies, play games, for 15 minutes.
If you have a lot of work to do at one time, try to break it down into small chunks, so you can have an idea of how much time you will spend completing the task. Break up some pieces of work on time frames, absolutely time frames with breaks and downtime between projects (if this is still possible).
For example, if we take 3 features with different requirements, each requirement requires 8 hours per week, then you should at least reduce it to 4 or 3 to make it work properly and effectively. At least finish one thing first instead of taking a lot and then you overload and tire yourself, not only yourself but the people involved in it will also be affected.
Prioritize your work
Priorities are important, that’s for sure, if you are not able to see which priorities you will work on, it means later there will be no work that you will actually complete and maybe some of requirement will missed. Priority selection can be select from the most important part you can separate by (P1, P2, or P3). When selecting this task, you have to analyze how big the task is and of course you have to be realistic about when you can complete it.
If there is an important urgency you have to allocate only half a day or how long you can do the urgency thing, if more than that you must have an allocation of spare time to do what you previously prioritized.
Continue to improve, learn from mistakes
As a software developer we have to improve, improvement which can be shown by learning from mistakes. In spare times i try to learn new things and even then analyze, but in some situations where you are learning you will find experiences stuck in one problem, and you try to solve them. The seriousness of that problem you are facing never ends so that your time allocation will be wasted with a lot of trial and error, but its okay actually just make sure you can achieve and all task should be done based your timeline.
When you are in a stuck or experience it with long time and then you think this will be finished soon or even definitely finished tomorrow, meaning you should try to stop for a moment and try to reflect on the problem in a larger scope and analyze them one by one, while we are stuck we will focus on the problem not on the solution to these problems and our minds are in a hurry so we do not think calmly.
If I had only one hour to save the world, I would spend fifty-five minutes defining the problem, and only five minutes finding the solution. _ Albert Einstein_
Software developers will usually find difficult to allocate time, even coding late at night, of course if this is left unchecked it will affect personal relationships and personal health. Even of course when you don’t take the time to entertain yourself you will literally burn-out. Whether we realize it or not, personal health is important, health is a form of investment. Do things that are balanced for health such as regular sleep, exercise every day, eat nutritious foods.
Tools for productivity
There are so many tools that exist and are scattered on the internet, we will find it difficult to choose what tools are right for us. But you can use The tools that I used;
- Task management (Tara.ai, Friday.app, TaskAde)
- Personal Kanban (Trello)
- Check list (Todoist, Notion, Evernote)
- Issue tracker (Youtrack, Linear)
- Personal Board (Miro, Milanote)
- Flow (Overflow)
- Time Tracker (Code Time, Wakatime)
- Document Collaboration (Google Doc, Tetra)
- File Hosting (Google Drive, BlackHole)
- Team Chat (Slack, Twist, Telegram)
I don’t use all of the tools above, I only provide alternatives if one of them is not right or not as needed, especially tools for checking lists, this one tool is prone to be abandoned and causes inconsistency, just try it the first time we download then after few week we forgot that we ever downloaded it, to prevent that from happening try reading the following article.
Productivity will always be associated with the term of burnout, burnout is a condition of severe stress caused by work, how to avoid it is to increase productivity. We will not be 100 percent free from burnout, the method above is only able to reduce the impact and effect.
The most important thing is when you feel the burnout is you have to stop first and leave for a moment. Worse, if we are unable to anticipate it we will be really uncomfortable and decide to leave our work. With the signs that we are in burnout, we can prevent it before it happens and be able to increase our energy to more effective things and of course work more comfortably.