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What Helped me be more Productive as a Software Developer


Imagine getting more stuff carried out, more successfully, in less time. That is how I’ll elaborate productiveness for the remainder of this allotment.

I’ve been discovering out a mode of productiveness articles, guidelines, tricks and Twitter threads. In a means, doing so is the worst variety of procrastination, entropy for entropy’s sake. But every every so veritably you’ll procure some gold nugget amongst the rubble, and it will all be payment it.

Here is my strive at recollecting what nuggets I discovered. On every share I’ll:

  • Cite sources I discovered sharp or relevant.
  • Point out whether the systems devour labored for me and what accurate affect they’ve had.

I’ll add a astronomical caveat although: I suspect everyone’s optimum productiveness engine must be loads of. Thus, all of this recommendation must be taken, examined, and left to rot if it doesn’t work for you. And that gorgeous great applies to all loads of posts of this form, in any weblog ever, personally.

Without extra ado, here are the issues I’ve viewed genuinely work to obtain me procure more stuff carried out, or take care of less stressed.

Decrease cognitive load

Cognitive load is an efficient looking out period of time. It roughly means “How full is your mind’s RAM?”.

At the same time as you’re thinking of the next 5 issues it is a have to to fabricate, your groceries checklist, and whether you left the range on, you’re carrying cognitive load.

It’d be evident, however cognitive load stresses you out. Lowering it allow you to raised center of attention on your task.

Here’s what has labored for me on this anecdote:

  • Withhold a clear room, space of enterprise and desk1. You shouldn’t devour agonize discovering anything else you use on the overall, and the issues you use essentially the most on the overall must be very easy to realize. This also applies to your filesystem, bookmarks system, and plenty others. At the same time as you know you’ll have to check a obvious hyperlink but again within the fracture, bookmark it below an intuitive direction. Don’t fetch your self seeking to search out it by your twitter feed.
  • If something’s on your mind and it’s no longer functional to support thinking of it, write it down and put out of your mind it. You may perchance presumably presumably also thought it up later.

Capture this article, shall we embrace: rather than pestering myself thinking ‘It’s a have to to write that article!’ I pleasing added an merchandise on my Trello backlog that stated ‘article on productiveness’ and forgot about it till I had free time but again and checked.

My gather setup for task tracking is a aggregate of Trello for day-to-day/weekly initiatives and a Google sheet for long period of time stuff -indulge in a deferred backlog- however indubitably, everyone has their very gather supreme aggregate of tools and processes. Get your gather.

I know many folks who snatch bodily post-its, or a board. I’d rather procure the portability of a browser app and the tracking for future reference. Here is basically upright must you furthermore mght practice journaling, because then it’s pleasing “What did I manufacture on the present time? Oh ample I’ll examine on the present time’s cards”. Tranquil, your mileage will fluctuate, so strive many issues and ticket what works greatest for you.

Withhold productive habits

…Conception your actions, they change into your habits; stare your habits, they change into your persona; stare your persona, it turns into your future.”

― Lao Tzu

Every other folks counsel this e book called “Atomic Habits”. I gained’t lie, I haven’t read it. But I read a upright summary on reddit and have faith most of it, design I changed into already variety of doing most of what it talks about.

The gist of it is a ways: don’t strive and form productiveness by itself, form programs that incentivize you to be productive.

Every other folks employ pomodoros, others snatch to save on noise-blocking off headphones; I myself snatch to cowl my cellphone till I genuinely devour obtained adequate stuff carried out.

My draw for this is easy: every month, (or employ whatever time-frame works for you), I resolve which routines I’ll support.

Gorgeous now shall we embrace, my routines are:

  • Exercise 4 instances per week.
  • Web the total lot I genuinely have to for work and college, obviously.
  • Journal every evening
  • 2 hours of Jap learn every day

The painful aspect of having a extremely determined dwelling of targets and habits is: you’re extremely responsible to them. Is the day ending and to boot you haven’t carried out your day-to-day learn session? You better procure down to it factual now.

In my case, my gather judgment of appropriate and wrong is a harsh adequate mistress, however must you furthermore mght can very smartly be no longer that great on your self when your to-manufacture lists devour uncrossed items, you furthermore mght can have to strive something indulge in

  • Asking your SO to obtain passive aggressive remarks to it is top to you don’t construct your initiatives.
  • Reward your self with something candy.
  • Going full monk-mode and forfeiting cellphone time till the total lot is carried out.

Now for the flip aspect: you’re in command of your initiatives, scuttle, however you furthermore mght dwelling them. So everytime you elaborate what your habits shall be, don’t overestimate your self. It’s better to devour realistic, achievable targets that plunge barely wanting your most effort, than it is a ways to overstep, burn out or pleasing no longer form the habits because you furthermore mght can’t maintain with them.

Did you underestimate your time administration skills and now you’re doing the total lot you deliberate for and then procure a mode of free time anyway? Frosty! You procure to feel productive and devour free time.

You indubitably don’t have to optimize for minimum free time. It sounds obvious, however I’ve caught myself and others doing this without realizing it.

The satan doesn’t constantly obtain work with lazy fingers.

Yet any other thing about incentives: this ties to the “unclutter” rule I mentioned earlier, however manufacture strive and present the total lot around you staunch into a astronomical habit-conserving engine.

As an example, if your purpose is to read a e book per week, devour your e book on undercover agent and within arm’s attain at all instances. Elevate it on your suitcase/backpack, take it out rather than your cellphone must it is top to procrastinate, and plenty others.

You’ll be bowled over by how great stuff you procure carried out when the total lot around you is making you manufacture it.

For a tiny files on growing habits that I discovered sharp (although presumably more sophisticated than obligatory) see growing habits.

Don’t employ your head for issues a PC changed into made for

Actually although, be conscious what I stated about cognitive load? Defining day-to-day targets is rarely any longer cool must you fracture up spending 5 minutes every hour thinking “ample what comes next? I already crossed my Chinese language practice and my Economics lecture, what changed into the next merchandise?”.

You wish whatever system you form to be maintainable within the fracture, so it is top to obtain it as easy to search the recommendation of as doable, and no longer depend on a extremely fallible allotment of structure (your head).

So support the total lot written down, on a fine .txt file, a Google doc, a sheet, and plenty others. Exercise whatever you indulge in, however no longer your head. Actually it’s that easy, and it indubitably works.

(Apart: I’m no longer going into factor into loads of tools or task tracking programs because honestly? There are indulge in 20 loads of articles on this topic posted on HackerNews per week, and they’re all of the identical).

Fantastic Cloak Taking

Here is all I genuinely have to bellow about display cowl taking.

I’m no longer a extremely display cowl taking inclined person. I began this recount habit this year, and even although it feels productive, I don’t feel indulge in I will rather allege it has genuinely made me manufacture better but.

So my first tip on it shall be: don’t take notes must you don’t think it shall be payment it. Every other folks support files better when they take notes, I’m no longer a form of oldsters however must you furthermore mght can very smartly be, then that allotment of recommendation doesn’t practice to you. Undergo in mind when I stated programs desired to be personalized?

I also allege this because I see there’s this progress within the suggestions superhighway of “write the total lot down, take all of the notes!” and I suspect we’re tending in opposition to an rude “pro-notes-taking” bias, which can well presumably presumably be unwarranted.

Secondly: must you furthermore mght can very smartly be no longer writing the total lot down, how manufacture you resolve what must be saved? Neatly, I’m launch to raised suggestions, however in my case I optimize for (estimated) future searchability: is what I pleasing read, heard or watched something I’m seemingly to think of within the fracture? And in all likelihood I’ll have to opt it precisely and gained’t be in a space to? Neatly then, into the notes it goes.

Cloak that it doesn’t have to be a relevant allotment of knowledge per se. I take notes about sharp history info, anime trivia and abnormal Jap words, no longer because they’ll come up in my final assessments (fingers crossed) or, gods forbid, my job. I support those quotes and info around because they may perchance presumably also merely come up in dialog.

In total although, I suspect the class that makes the apt notes is “issues that I’m seemingly to put out of your mind and have faith up but again within the fracture, however I don’t care to learn by heart factual now”.

This comprises issues indulge in very particular info about a domain, convoluted bash instructions that you just put staunch into a script to no longer have to be conscious but again (however have to persist in totally different places must you’ll need them on a particular notebook computer), or syntax tiny print in a programming language.

I’ll be discovering out an editorial and think “oh, $FRIEND_X undoubtedly would fetch this very silly” and pleasing write it down. And then I may perchance presumably also merely ship it to them by IM, however let’s be upright I may perchance presumably put out of your mind… till I reread my notes within the fracture.

Oh, the topic of rereading notes. This one is a tricky bit I haven’t mastered but, and I’m also launch to ideas in this space. For my allotment, I handiest reread notes on technical topics every time they come up and I have to refresh my memory, and any loads of topic if I’m thinking of it.

I know any other folks indulge in to battle by all of their notes every X time and they allege it improves their creativity and gets the writing juices flowing. I’m no longer superior enraged about my creativity or writing factual now (in case my 365 days posting-gap didn’t obtain that determined), however I’ll indubitably experiment with that within the fracture (and write about it if I procure any relevant outcomes).

Lastly, I’ve lately been the usage of a personal wiki for about a of my notes (handiest the polished, public-facing ones), and it’s indubitably cool, however it undoubtedly pleasing reinforces point one: I suspect indulge in allotment of why I employ a private wiki is stress-free that it feels fine, and I haven’t but viewed a mode of enchancment over a easy Evernote or Google Doctors. Presumably it’s a topic of scale and the consequences gained’t be obvious till about a years in? We can see.

Anki and SRS for discovering out and productiveness.

Anki makes memory a need, rather than a haphazard tournament, to be left to likelihood.

Michal Nielsen, Augmenting Cognition

I’ve been the usage of Anki for language learn (specifically Jap) for about 4 years now. On the opposite hand, I’ve lately spent a longer than obligatory amount of hours discovering out about other folks who employ Anki for the total lot.

I genuinely devour thoughts on the topic that I haven’t written down but, however I even devour my notes (see what I did there?) on the topic on my personal wiki, and you furthermore mght can read them here. They’re pleasing quotes from loads of articles on Anki and SRS for discovering out.

Listed below are the apt hyperlinks must you would indulge in to originate the usage of SRS to your experiences:

“Serving to Web Virtuoso Abilities with Deepest Reminiscence Programs”

Michael A. Nielsen, Augmenting Cognition (My favourite take care of Spaced Repetition Programs)

Gwern‘s Spaced Repetition Programs Article (The total lot it is a ways important to know and more, a extremely upright initiating line. Also a current shoutout to Gwern’s weblog, I love it)‘s take. (It’s loads more technical and anki-particular, however must you procure pleasure from being a energy user then that article shall be your jam)

The very current gist of Spaced Repetition is this:

  • Assign flashcards with a viewed and a hidden aspect (on the overall a predict and answer, or a -generally foreign- be conscious and that suggests).
  • Overview them at increasingly more spaced time intervals, which cognitive science says is supreme for long period of time retention (it’s more sophisticated and smartly cited than that, see Gwern’s post).
  • You perform more adjust over what stays on your long period of time memory and what doesn’t.

I will guarantee this works, because it has labored wonders for my Jap vocabulary/kanji experiences. As a form of A/B making an strive out, I tried this for one field in college (and no longer the loads of) and I indubitably am getting better retention of the topics I save into my Anki sessions. Capture that with a grain of salt on the opposite hand, because presumably the extra time of filling within the cards and sitting down for opinions is what made it (no longer seemingly, since I also take notes on the loads of field and evaluate them, pleasing potentially less religiously).

Assorted issues that, once added to Anki, devour saved me a extremely mountainous chunk of time are shortcuts:

I must devour viewed about 5 movies on terminal shortcuts, shall we embrace, and I suspect I never internalized them. But after I made a tiny deck with them (it handiest has about 6 instructions that I knew I would employ loads), I retained all of them, and now my terminal typing ride is loads happier (for reference: ctrl+W deletes a be conscious, and alt+arrows moves the cursor one complete be conscious aside).

A variety of this boils down to: write your gather cards. Iterate till it indubitably works. It would possibly probably well presumably also merely feel ineffective firstly, however must you support at it I promise you’ll see finally ends up in about a weeks at most.

Closing notes

Here is all upright silly discovering out, however allow us to no longer confuse productiveness-connected discovering out with accurate productiveness. The actual stress-free begins must you procure issues carried out. So fling hug your family members, and declare them you’re embarking on a productiveness adventure! Or don’t.

As a replacement of discovering out your loads of 5 launch tabs on productiveness and upright habits, here’s my recommendation. Grab one or two items, from this files or one other. Actually strive them out, see if they work, iterate your processes. Then come encourage in a month to strive loads of thing. At the same time as you are making an strive and procure into 5 loads of ways on the identical time, you’ll pleasing leave all of them after some time2.

Here’s some more current recommendation that will indubitably assistance on the “squeeze every hour as great as doable” aspect.

These are about a of those issues the assign all people knows they work, all people retains announcing they must manufacture them –and then the habit is never constructed. I hope with what you saw on the habits making share, you furthermore mght can genuinely work on these.

  • Web standard exercise. Set weights, or originate running. This is in a position to well manufacture wonders to your center of attention and current smartly-being, besides the obvious health/beautiful effects. Typically splitting your learn session in half of and going for a one-hour flee can fracture up getting you better retention and center of attention than must you had pushed by without stopping.
  • If doable, procure your 8 hours of sleep every evening. There are hundreds and hundreds of posts at some stage within the distance about biohacking and whatnot, and they may be able to present you with more guidelines for being smartly rested than you’ll need. I gained’t even hyperlink to them, you furthermore mght can google into that rabbit gap your self. Honest appropriate sleep smartly and plenty, in a sad, tranquil, cool space.

I hope about a of you’ve discovered this files functional, and must you potentially did please let me know! If a single person changes their habits ensuing from this post, I’ll already devour in mind it a success (I know, I don’t dwelling excessive bars to my writing).

Please devour in mind tweeting this article must you discovered it functional or silly. Whenever any person tweets my stuff it makes me smile.

1 : This goes doubly must you’re clumsy indulge in me, and at likelihood of plunge issues with your fingers if they’re shut on the desk.

2 : And you know which be conscious we realized on the present time to display cowl that? Cognitive load!

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