You can learn to be more productive by observing CEOs and writers, but have you ever looked into the life of a web developer for lessons in productivity?
I’m going to share five productivity tips I’ve learned being a web developer. I believe my profession has some unique insight to help you take your productivity to the next level– each lesson has a unique action you can take to become more productive like a web developer. Let’s get started!
1- Don’t Repeat Yourself
I’m starting this list with one of the most important rules in web development: Don’t Repeat Yourself. When writing code all day and trying to maintain hundreds (if not thousands) of lines of code, it’s important to stay focused on each class and function to make sure you are not repeating yourself or others.
A web developer will create repeatable items for most used features for each project. Each item can be re-used without having to write new code.
Action: What are the most used replies and messages you send when writing and responding to email? Create a set of templates so you don’t repeat yourself, and save time and energy with all future emails.
2- Work in Sprints
Working for long hours decreases productivity. A web developer will break a project up into little pieces and measure how much time each piece should take. These sprints will lessen the chance of overworking, and increase focus and will power.
Action: Break your next major project into small pieces. Plan out each day of your week by the amount of time you have available and the amount of pieces in the project. Set aside blocks of time you can work, without interruption, on this project for the next week. For example, to finish the blog post, I have to complete a rough draft, write a revision, send to the editor, add pictures, schedule on WordPress, and share on social media.
3- Create Guides
Consistency is crucial when trying to maintain a large amount of code with efficiency. A web developer will create a set of guidelines to keep a project well maintained and easy to read. Beyond just legibility, a good guideline will create the smallest amount of friction when writing code.
Action: Create a set of guidelines for your next writing project. The guideline can include rules for flow, punctuation, voice, pictures, links, and more. For example, all articles must start with an introduction and end with a conclusion.
4- Pick the Right Tools
Developers love their tools, and are often loyal to those applications, systems and languages that help them write their best work. Good tools can transform a developer’s work flow and exponentially increase productivity and efficiency. This includes tools like WordPress, which has become on of the most popular tools for building websites.
The proper text editor is another example. A programmer needs to know their text editor like the back of his hand in order to work as quickly and efficiently as possible. They don’t like trying having to Google how to do something, or constantly looking at the settings to try and get something done. A good programmer does all the heavy lifting without thinking. The application just blurs into the background as the developer enters into a state of flow.
Developers are loyal to their tools, but the best developer can recognize when their tools are broken or outdated.
Action: Take a look at your tool set. Are your programs out-of-date or has something better been made? For example, what mobile app are you using for email? Try find a more robust app that offers helpful features and settings that your current app doesn’t have to increase productivity.
5- Simplify Complex Solutions
It’s a programmers job to take something complicated and break it down into code so a computer can understand it. Remember, computers can’t think for themselves, it’s a developer’s jobs to tell what the computers to do with the information it’s given.
Action: Just like a developer, it’s important for you to be able to take complex information and be able to tell those systems around you what to do. For example, try using website data from Google Analytics and create a meaningful report that can help you grow your business.
There is so much you can learn about productivity taking a look at other professions. Today, I’ve discussed five lessons to learn from developers:
- Don’t Repeat Yourself
- Work in Sprints
- Create Guides
- Pick the Right Tools
- Simplify Complex Solutions
What productivity lessons have you learned from another profession? Let us know in the comments.
About the author: Josh Medeski is a writer, podcaster, speaker, front-end developer, and productivity enthusiast. He currently serves as Senior Reviewer for ThemeForest, runs a podcast called “One Intentional Life” connecting purpose with productivity, and teaches web development with Girl Develop It and MakerSquare. Josh has also been featured on Freelance to Freedom, Lifehack, Tuts+, Trello and more. He lives in Houston, Texas with is wife. Connect with him on Twitter at @joshmedeski.