Time is that crucial thing that once gone can never come back. Every individual has got only 24 hours in a day. But some make it, while others break it! All that decides how well you manage your time.
The importance of time management is high in every individual's life. However, it is a little more important to developers because they need to be constantly updated with the technological and creative advancements while also engaging in critical thinking (especially if they are working as freelance web developers).
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If you are also a developer who struggles with carrying out everyday tasks smoothly and finds it difficult to cope with anxiety, you need to manage your time better. Even Winston Churchill said, "Let our advance worrying become advanced thinking and planning".
So, here are seven time-management tips exclusively for developers that will help you manage your time well:
Setting goals is the first and foremost thing to achieve anything. If you do not set goals, you would not even know whether or not you accomplished anything.
So, set SMART goals to achieve. What exactly does a smart goal look like?
An example of a SMART goal can be to publish two blogs on web development in a week.
Plan your day
You have to set your goals, but how would you achieve them? Now is the right time to plan your day. Make a To-Do list a night before or the same morning to prioritize your tasks. If you randomly engage in a task, you may miss out on the most important ones. So, build a priority matrix, list out the most important and urgent projects, and start working on them. The ones that are less important and less urgent can be taken up in the end.
Try to complete your core tasks in the morning itself or at a time of the day when you are most productive. But make sure you do not pack your day to the extent that there is no flexibility or provisions for urgent tasks that may come up.
Prepare templates or short scripts
If you need to do something every other day, you can prepare for it in advance. For instance, if you need to send cold pitching mails to generate more leads, you can keep a basic structure or template ready and personalize it every time before sending it out.
Keep away distractions
Distractions can kill your productivity. As per a study from the University of California, Irvine, a person needs about 23 minutes and 15 seconds on average to get back to the task. Now imagine you being distracted just five times a day. For developers, working on the internet and devices is a must. And if you are a social media user, you are bound to receive notifications. So, what can you do to avoid wasting hours over it?
Turn off the notifications of your social media applications like Facebook, Instagram, and WhatsApp, especially when you are working on a project. You can keep notifications for your email or any other work-related platform turned on to not miss anything important and end up wasting more time.
Apart from notifications, there can be several other distractions at home. Try to work in a noise-free environment where the chances of distractions are least, and you can work smoothly.
In the era of technology, time tracking can prove to be an effective way of keeping a record of what you do throughout a day. You need not record your tasks manually as they may be inaccurate and consume a lot of your time (which you are already struggling to manage).
With a project time tracker, you can easily track your time on different projects and skyrocket your productivity and performance. It also helps you estimate costs and charge clients accordingly.
Learn to say NO
Saying a YES every time may be tempting, but it is not practically possible to accept and work on every task. To maintain a work-life balance, minimize productivity loss, and deliver quality, you should learn to say a NO whenever you feel like saying it.
You may say a NO when you are occupied with work and do not have further capacity. You may say a NO when you are getting less than you deserve. And you may say a NO simply when you do not feel like working for any reason.
You may not feel comfortable saying a NO initially, but you need to learn it. (Especially if you are working as a freelancer)
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Take regular breaks
Breaks are important to stay productive. No individual can work for 10 hours straight. Taking regular breaks in between can boost your mind and keep you more focused on work. You can use time blocking techniques to divide your tasks and breaks. One of the most popular time blocking techniques is the Pomodoro technique.
So, what is the Pomodoro technique?
Pomodoro Technique is a 5-step process that keeps you mentally fresh and relaxed.
Here’s how it goes:
Step 1: Pick a task
Step 2: Set a 25-minute reminder
Step 3: Work on your task until the time is up
Step 4: Take a break for 5 minutes and continue working
Step 5: After every 4 Pomodoro sets, take a break of 15-30 minutes.
This or any similar technique can keep you more focused as these breaks act as rewards and prevent you from getting mentally exhausted.
Remember that time management is a long process. You cannot master it overnight. It requires consistency, resilience, and commitment for successful project management. But once it becomes your habit, you would be able to see a significant difference.