It’s normal. Even the best software developers have been there. I’m talking about those moments when you don’t feel like getting anything done. You switch on your computer and all you can do is stare at the screen unable to craft even a single line of quality code.
You are burnt out. And the problem with being unproductive at work is that it starts creeping into your personal life. You lack that fulfillment that comes with getting tasks done and you become grumpy. It even starts to affect how you relate to other people.
But, don’t worry. The first two tips in this post will help you overcome that mental block and get back to your productive self while the remaining tips will help you maximize your productivity.
Here are our 5 most useful tips to increase your productivity as a software developer.
Get enough rest
If you find yourself unable to concentrate on the task at hand it’s probably because you have over-exerted yourself. Your mind is buzzing from too much code that it cannot come up with new ideas.
Take a break.
And I don’t mean just stepping away from the computer. I mean taking your mind completely off the project. Because that’s where most developers go wrong. They are not actively writing code on the computer but, they are still thinking about the work.
The consequence is that the mind will still be fatigued when you get back to your computer which doesn’t help with productivity.
Speaking of which, are you getting enough sleep? Putting long hours of work may seem productive at first but after a while, exhaustion will start interfering with your brain’s natural problem-solving abilities. And so, you end up taking longer than necessary to finish tasks.
Not to mention sleep deprivation could affect your health.
The final way you can use rest to boost productivity is by taking breaks in between long sessions of work. It’s a great way to avoid getting exhausted quickly and will help protect against problems such as digital eye strain and computer vision syndrome that also hinder productivity.
Try new projects or Read a Book
If you have been working on one problem for too long, it becomes monotonous and your mind shuts down every time you try to work on the problem again. At this point, it’s futile to keep forcing yourself to complete the task.
The only thing you will achieve is sitting in front of the screen the whole day but getting nothing done.
Instead, try new projects. This will distract your mind from the main project for a while but you will still remain sharp because you are solving another problem. Working on a different project could also help you learn new skills and introduce you to new working tools that will help boost your productivity in other projects.
When you can’t find a new project to work on, read a book. It will help you gain new knowledge that you can apply in solving the stuck problem or future projects. Books also challenge you to think critically and help enhance your reasoning skills.
Software development is the last job you want to be distracted on because even one misplaced character could affect your program.
Then there is the fact that once you take your focus off the job, it takes some time before you get back into it. Distraction equals time wasted which translates to lost productivity.
A simple hack to minimize distractions is to invest in a pair of headphones. If you are the type that focuses best while playing some music then go ahead and do it. If you prefer some peace and quiet, this hack will still work for two reasons.
The first is that the headphones muffle the noises around you. The second is that they discourage those around you from speaking to you because they assume you won’t hear them.
The other way to avoid distractions is to mute phone and computer notifications. No email alerts, SMS, calls, and NO social media.
Capitalize on automation
If you are using up your working hours performing repetitive tasks that could be automated, that’s an insult to your capabilities as a developer. Create scripts to automate simple repetitive tasks so that you can instead focus on the more complex parts of the project.
Next, pick the right SAST and DAST tools to add to your workflow. This will save you a lot of time and the burden of manually analyzing your code. You can also incorporate education into automation by integrating HackEDU’s tools with the SAST and DAST tool that you choose. As the testing tools search for vulnerabilities, HackEDU’s tools will analyze the type of errors that are found and then recommend best lessons based on the results.
If you have to perform manual testing, you can get a colleague or friend that is familiar with your code to check it for you.
Other tasks you can automate include, log mining, refactoring, building, deploying, and integrating.
Finally, automation does not have to be limited to development work only. You can also automate personal tasks such as time management and tasks management so that you have more time to focus on writing code.
Always reward yourself once you complete a set milestone instead of rushing to start on the next one. This way you will be rested and even more motivated to start the next project.
An even better approach is to set the reward before starting a particular project. For instance, you could decide that you will watch 5 episodes of your favorite sitcom if you successfully complete all the tasks for that day. Or maybe play your favorite game for a few hours.
This will act as an incentive to crash through the tasks for the day.
While unproductivity leads to a lack of personal fulfillment, productivity does the opposite. It gives you a certain satisfaction that can be seen even in the way you conduct yourself. You become confident in an infectious way.
Also, your renewed focus and increased productivity are bound to bring more success to your company or client. And guess what, when the boss is happy, you get rewarded. You get a pay raise, a promotion, which all translate to career growth.
Our hope is that these tips are exactly what you have been looking for to turn your software development journey around.