Why breaking time and tasks in to small blocks will increase your productivity as a web developer

I’m a chronic procrastinator – how do I break it? I could be changing the world, but instead I’m putting in the bare minimum and no matter what trick or method I try I can’t seem to beat it.

Sound familiar?  You know what needs to be done, but put it off…

I always have a fear of finishing something and it’s a bit of a problem for me.  I can’t ever finish anything, because then what??

And if it’s not work to do, there’s always something else you could check… check your email, check the news, check the weather, check your social media updates. Or you could make a tea / coffee, grab a snack or see what’s going on outside….

Endless distractions and procrastination to avoid actually doing the work.  Before you know it half the day has gone and then the whole day and it’s time to stop working.

How do you bring your focus back?

A timer by your desk is a great way to approach this at work, personally I find 15-20 mins of work and 5 mins of procrastinating is a good balance.

If you haven’t heard of it before this is called the Pomodoro Technique!

  1. Pick a task to do
  2. Set a timer to work on the task (25 mins)
  3. When the time is up, stop and take a break doing something else for a set period of time (3-5 mins)
  4. Repeat the above until your task(s) are complete!
  5. After four iterations of the above, take a longer break, you’ve actually earned it!

Much like breaking a complex programming problem up into smaller chunks to fix, breaking time up into defined short periods (Pomodoros) helps you concentrate and stop procrastinating for at least 25 minutes to actually get some work done.

Depending on your work place an actual physical timer on your desk may be a good solution.  Otherwise there are a choice of websites, apps and chrome extensions to time your Pomodoros for you.

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How to stay productive when traveling and working as a Web Developer

Working remotely and traveling is a balancing act of maintaining your productivity whilst keeping up to date on your work.  Keeping your clients / customers / boss happy and continuing to earn money at the same time as enjoying your travels to new cities, countries and continents.

Traveling and unexpected delays in traveling along with possible slow or no internet connections can affect your work routine.

Although there can be distinct advantages to no internet connection for periods of time whilst actually traveling on a train or a plane.

I do some of my best writing and coding on trains.  Flights can also be nice in that, without WiFi, i’m not interrupted by client emails and calls.

If you know you won’t be connected for any reason, make sure you communicate that to any clients, so you can set their expectations that you won’t be available for a period of time.

Try to adapt as quickly as possible to any new time zone and maintain your routine, if you are a morning person, get up and get the work done first, so that you can take time off in the afternoon to explore your new surroundings.

Don’t plan to stay anywhere less than a week, you need time to sight-see, relax, do other tasks.

Here’s a useful list of other ways to stay productive whilst traveling:

  • White noise can help in a new or distracting environment.
  • Manage your time better with the Pomodoro technique to get the work done.
  • Always look for efficiencies in your doing your work, saving time will either earn you more money if you need it or earn you more free time to enjoy your surroundings.
  • Taking regular breaks and exercise reduces your stress levels and helps maintain your productivity.

How do you stay productive? please add a comment below…

Increase your concentration and productivity by beating noise with more noise!

“Working from a public space involves dealing with noise levels
that are for me, entirely counterproductive.”

Getting distracted by noise while programming?  Suffering from not being able to concentrate whilst developing and being interrupted by annoying noises?

“What about listening to a white noise app?”

You can beat that annoying noise with white noise, get focused and download a free app from Google Play called “White Noise Free” or on iTunes, or use this website Noisli.

“White noise is excellent,  I use it to drown everything else out.”