Some days, do you feel like you could’ve done more?
Maybe written a few more lines of code. Added a couple of new features. Completed more tasks. Or simply just done more work.
All these questions leave you feeling a little…incomplete? Almost like you’ve wasted the time you had?
Well, if it does, rest assured – it doesn’t have to be this way. Just a little tweaking of your work-habits will allow you to leave work feeling satisfied with what you’ve accomplished in the day!
Let’s see what all you can inculcate in your daily routine to make your life smoother.
- Avoid multiple tabs
You might not acknowledge this fact, but keeping multiple tabs open is one of the biggest thieves of your time. You often find an interesting article that ends up staying in your browser’s tab for months. As a result of this, you end up having 50+ tabs open across five different browser windows.
Always keep in mind that your browser is not a place to manage your reading backlogs – especially if your work requires you to access the browser multiple times. To catch up with your favorite articles that you’ve kept open, you can use special applications or tools that can help take care of all the articles, podcasts, or videos. Also, there’s a special feature in your browser, not sure if you’re aware of it – it’s called the BOOKMARK.
Yes, bookmark all the things you “might want to read” in the future, but don’t keep them open in the browser. Especially if your work requires you to practically live on the browser, make sure you don’t have more than 8-10 tabs open in front of you at any particular moment.
- Allocate time for daily and weekly planning
Ideally, you should plan your workload at least one week ahead. Try focusing only on your top goals and priorities and then break them down into further smaller tasks.
Then, for each task, estimate the priority. This way, you will get the most important things sorted first – this will leave no scope for you missing out on valuable items. Also, while planning, remember to leave a few slots empty so that you can update your plans in case a new task springs up.
- Design a plan for learning and development
For a programmer, it’s essential to stay up to date with the changes in technology (at least the one you’re working on). This demands continuous learning – which is vital for your professional growth. Regardless of experience, there’s always something new you can learn to step up your game. However, there’s one problem – the sheer abundance of things you can learn and digest.
For this, ideally, you should prepare ahead of time. Defining your learning goals and revising them at least once a month will help you strategize and prioritize better. Schedule what to learn when, and avoid jumping from one thing to the other.
- Start with the hardest task
This hack is probably the most heard of – yet the least followed. If you want to have a relaxed and a productive workday, always start with your biggest, hardest, and the most critical task.
You often have those mornings where you find yourself drinking coffee and checking emails before you tune in to the work state. As a result, the enthusiasm vanishes, along with some of the valuable time that you could’ve spent getting some stuff done. Instead, do the following –
- Create a to-do list for the day.
- Choose the three most important tasks from this list.
- Pick out the toughest job out of those three, and try to wrap it up the first thing in the day.
- Minimise distractions
Again, this goes without saying. To be more productive, you’ll need to learn how to avoid the daily distractions like Facebook notifications, WhatsApp messages, or any such thing. Context switching always takes time(as you’ll learn in our classes!), and when it’s for something as trivial as checking your Facebook notification, it’s not even worth the time. If you look at every email you receive while working, you will be significantly less productive.
Instead, create special filters for high-priority and emergency situations. To add to this, try avoiding Facebook (or any social media, for that matter) entirely while at work – unless necessary. Also, don’t be afraid to reject the people who come to your desk unless it ranks high enough on your work-priority.
- Create batches of everyday tasks
Some tasks need to be performed daily but take up a lot of time – like, sending emails. Of course, responding to client emails is necessary. However, if you pause some important work you’re doing to respond to a mail, you’ll have broken up your flow – and eventually, your productivity will decline.
Batch all the repetitive activities. For example, dedicate 30 minutes of your day to deal with emails and/or other communications.
- Limit meetings
At meetings, the team members wait for their turn to update the project status. And, when the others talk, they either plan what to say or daydream about the upcoming weekend.
If you decide to have a meeting, make sure there’s a fixed agenda, and all participants are on the same page before the meeting. This will save a lot of time during the session. Also, a good practice would be to instruct your team against carrying their cellphones to the meetings. There’s no point to it – slows down the progress of a meeting (and is invariably quite rude).
- Review your coding habits
If you feel you are not following some standard coding practices that might ease up your work, it’s a great idea to ask some senior developer from your workplace to have a look at your coding habits. You might receive helpful advice that can make you a lot more efficient.
- Don’t forget to follow up
Some of the projects might get blocked if the person you’ve assigned them to doesn’t receive a revert from you. Always remember to follow up at the end of the day – to check if everything is under control, and if the day’s agenda is sorted or not.
You should keep following up with your client too, if you have any open queries, and not just with your employees. If you’ve followed up and they haven’t replied, wait for a while and follow up again.
- Take a break
Yes. REST is not just for APIs – it’s for you as well. Development is a mental exercise – one that requires your utmost time, effort, and focus.
If you keep working for a long duration without taking breaks, the quality of your work will be compromised. It’s a better idea to work in small batches, take a break, and then start work refreshed. Otherwise, you might feel overloaded with anxiety which will directly hamper your work. Also, because you spend practically the entire day in front of a screen, it’s recommended you get a good night’s sleep. Any compromise on this will adversely affect your productivity the next day.
If you’re one of those who strives to be more productive each day – these tricks will not only make you more productive, but will also make you more disciplined in your work. Go ahead, try these out, and let us know your experience. Do you have some awesome life hacks to share? Drop them in the comments below!