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5 Things That Have Actually Made Me More Productive as a Software Developer

By Caroline Evans

As a Front End Developer I understand the challenges of maintaining focus while writing code. Over time, I’ve honed productivity hacks to keep my brain sharp. But for me, productivity is more than ticking tasks off a list—it’s about fulfilling a purpose and perfecting user experiences. By saving time with these strategies, I can invest more in what truly matters. Here are my top tips so you can get your brain humming along like a well-oiled machine.

Eliminate Distractions.

Flow state podcast on Spotify. 

This podcast, which the creator describes as ‘minimal, instrumental, electronic music that follows the Pomodoro technique – 30 mins of music, followed by a 5 minutes break’. I like to put on my noise cancelling headphones, hit play and get stuck into it. 

Lofi playlists. 

This is music designed to recede to the background. ‘Lofi Girl’ is a good place to start – but there are so many of these on Youtube, Spotify and wherever else you listen to music. 

Forest App 

Grow trees on your smart phone while you focus. It two modes: timer and stopwatch and you can set up an ‘allow list’ of apps. 

Focus Blocks 

Block out a few hours in your calendar to be unavailable via messaging app (Teams/Slack etc.) 

Write it down. 

Keep a work diary. 

I use Notion and make a new page for each month. I write down notes from meetings here and document by progress on a task. I find once I’ve written my thoughts down, it broadens my perspective and often prevents me from getting stuck in a loop. 

Sketch it out. 

If digital notes aren’t cutting it, it’s good to have a paper notebook on hand to sketch out your thoughts. I recommend these as they’re a good size, are blank and the binding allows you to lay them completely flat on the table. 

Break it down. 

“The journey of a thousand miles begins with a single step.” ~Lao Tzu. 

Break your tasks into smaller subtasks. Your co-workers will thank you for the smaller code reviews and you’ll get a dopamine hit from each thing you tick off. 

Time boxing 

Give yourself a set amount of time to complete a task and if you get stuck… 

Collaborate! 

This is another place where documenting your progress comes in handy because it helps when giving someone an overview of what you’ve tried so far. 

If you don’t have someone to collaborate with – post your problem somewhere like Stack Overflow. 

Shift your mindset. 

Learning about the concept of growth mindset has helped me a lot – I highly recommend Carol Dweck’s book Mindset: The New Psychology of Success 

A shortcut I’ve discovered is imagining that future me has already solved the problem and I’m just finding a path to the solution. 

Most of all, look after yourself and remember that you’re not a machine, you will have some days that aren’t as productive as others and that’s okay! 

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