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16 Productivity Tips for Software Engineers

Michael Morales  -  October 20, 2021  -  ,  

With the world digitally evolving, software engineers’ skills are in high demand. If you can increase your productivity, you could find yourself not only landing great projects but also writing high-quality code. 

A programmer’s productivity is crucial to their success. If you are a software engineer and are looking for ways to boost your productivity, these tips from the experts will help you improve your craft;

1. Get Involved With A Project/Task That You Enjoy Doing

It is far easier to motivate yourself to do more and want to improve if you enjoy the idea you're working on.

2. Follow a Course

Following a course can be great to get the basics, but I recommend learning by doing. This enables you to get into the habit of breaking down tasks into chunks and identifying exactly which things you need to search google for.

3. Make Sure You Spend Enough Consistent Time To Get In 'the Zone'

I find that I am at my most productive when I am in the zone and have let go of distractions. Doing 30 mins here and there will not allow you the deep focus you need to make huge progress.

4. Reflect On Your Code After It’s Implemented

At the end of a project or task, it's good to look back at your code and think about how you would refactor it. Having an awareness of how you solved this problem and how you would improve it will build your coding skills.

5. Look At Other People’s Code

This is a great way to get better at coding. There is a lot of open-source code on GitHub where you can see how other people lay out their code and solve problems.

Basil Woods is an ML Engineer for a Fortune 500 company and owner and creator of audiostrip.co.uk

6. Source Control Productivity and Source Control Approach

Consider two approaches for maintaining productivity while developing daily. The first approach, Source Control Productivity, is about time management and a little less rules. The second approach, Daily Productivity Rituals, is about principles that keep your mind focused on your work to the point of obsession, which will turn you into a programming machine. 

The Source Control Approach revolves around understanding productive hours for different types of tasks and focusing on those during the days when you know you're not as fresh or efficient. It's also about finding ways to reduce interruption times by recoding features in separate branches or by setting up color-coding to visually differentiate between lines of code that are actively typed out (current) vs. lines that haven't been touched yet. 

  • Use An App To Track Time Spent Working
  • Try The Pomodoro Technique

7. The Pomodoro Technique

The Pomodoro technique was developed by Francesco Cirillo in the late 1980s and involves working for 25 minutes, followed by a five-minute break. The Pomodoro is the timer that structures these intervals, so it's important not to let yourself wind down before you start your next session! Using this strategy, two things happen, firstly you know how much time you've spent on work in total. Secondly, your productivity gradually increases as you complete more Pomodoros because your focus will be sharper after each short break. This means that when switching activities, it’s easier to get back into them without disruption.

8. Using Software

You can use Workpuls Employee Monitoring Software; A software that focuses on productivity, time analysis, and business process optimization with the goal of helping people boost their productivity and focus.

Ryan Fyfe, COO Workpuls Inc a Workforce Productivity and Analytics Platform.

9. Automate Repetitive Tasks

This can often help you to save on a significant number of hours each week, as most developers often have to carry out a number of repetitive things on a daily basis, some of which can be easily automated. For instance, when it comes to filling forms, running local project building and testing workflows, and even sending out generic emails, these are a few examples of tasks where automation can provide you with the chance to do something rather productive. And in most cases, you can often use a scripting language like Javascript or Python to handle automation.

10. Take Scheduled Breaks

The problem with productivity is that most people assume that working long hours nonstop is the answer to completing projects quickly. However, that actually ends up being counterproductive in the long run because if you try to stay focused on a task for an extended period of time, it can often wear you down and make your decision-making and problem-solving processes less effective. 

This mental fatigue can then result in an inevitable drop in productivity. Instead, it's always best to make it a habit to take pre-planned breaks from your work at least every hour or two, which can often help you retain the level of focus that software programming often demands.

Eden Cheng, Tech Expert and Co-Founder of software company; PeopleFinderFree.

Increasing productivity for software engineers means they write shorter, cleaner, and more efficient code in as little time as possible. Many factors are involved in determining the productivity of a software engineer, including knowledge, skills, focus, and alertness, among others. A perfect combination of these factors creates a productive software engineer. To increase productivity, You should improve these factors. The following tips may help improve the productivity of a software engineer:

11. Reading Books

Books are the best companion to all of the knowledge workers, including software engineers. They present a problem from the beginning, explaining its ins and outs, leading to the known and possible solutions and all other facts affected by the crisis. Learning from web articles is quick, but books provide a complete picture. Hence, one should make it a habit to read one book at a time whenever free.

12. Minimizing Distractions

Distractions are spread all over the web, which is the daily playground for a software engineer/developer. Keeping oneself focussed and away from distractions helps achieve goals earlier, increasing productivity.

13. Well-Documented Code

Software engineers must make it a habit to create programming documentation and write the code. It helps reduce the review time required if there is a need to study an older code written by the same person or by someone else.

14. Scheduled Work

A software engineer has several tasks to care for, including software designing, coding, team coordination, and sometimes customer handling. All these tasks require different skill sets to be used. Whenever there is a switch between these functions, the person needs a few minutes to focus on the new job perspective. 

The productivity reduces as the number of switching increases. A proper schedule at hand helps the engineer to be more productive.

15. Keep Checking Your Efficiency

It is better to detect as soon as one loses focus on current work before being told by someone else. Keeping a rough measure of the job done and time spent often benefits towards maintaining good productivity.

Daniela Sawyer, Founder and Software Development Manager of FindPeopleFast.net

16. Minimizing Distractions

If you are a software engineer, you can stay productive by minimizing distractions. As coding tools, platforms, and apps need understanding at both higher and basic levels; you have to keep your focus precise. If you get distracted, it might take you more than 15 minutes to regain concentration. 

Software engineers work on intricate issues, and if they get disturbed, it’s tough to get back to their focused form. One of the significant questions on how to let colleagues know you don’t want to be disturbed while working so that you can be fully devoted to your work. All you need is to maintain silence and reap the benefits.

Stephen Curry, CEO of CocoSign

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