Ahh, productivity. We all know it - when you get in the zone, everything is flying, and at the end of the day, you feel like you accomplished all the tasks you set out to do.
Unfortunately, it's not easy to reach this level of productivity consistently, and there's a myriad of reasons for that. Sometimes you just get distracted by meetings, your phone, or other tasks. Or maybe you simply don't know how to approach the current problem you're supposed to work on, so you procrastinate on Youtube or Twitter.
This is all really normal behaviour, but there's a few tricks you can apply to seriously boost your productivity:
Use a Pomodoro timer. The Pomodoro technique is simple: set a timer for 25-30 minutes, where you do completely uninterrupted work . Then take a 5 minute break with no work allowed, before doing another 25-30 minutes of work. After about 4 cycles, take a longer break to use for lunch or a walk. I use this technique myself when I'm finding it hard to keep focus, and it works wonders. Since each work cycle is rather short, it's possible to put off distractions until the break, allowing for more deep work. Use an online tool like Pomofocus.io to keep track of your cycles.
Break each problem down. When coding, sometimes we get tasked with features or bugfixes that are simply too large for us to handle outright. This causes us to get distracted more easily, rather than focus on the difficult task in front of us. The key is to break the problem down into small, actionable chunks. Make each subtask as tiny as possible, and create a checklist using something like Notion. Then, get started on the first one. Slowly but surely you'll complete all the subtasks, and end up with a complete problem solved.
Get comfortable with your tools. As developers, there are certain tools we use EVERY. SINGLE. DAY. Spending some time to learn them well will be a huge productivity boost in the long run. Stuff like learning the basic hotkeys of your IDE, getting familiar with the terminal/shell, and understanding the fundamentals of Git, will save you so much time and headache. You'll even have more fun working with them, allowing you to focus more on the actual work.
There's obviously a lot more to say on productivity, but these tips should serve as actionable strategies you can get started on right now 💪
I'm Mads Brodt — a developer, author, teacher, creator and blogger. To keep up with all of my writing, follow me on Twitter or sign up with your email above 👆