5 Productivity Tips for Website DevelopersJuly 20, 2022
It can be challenging to balance productivity and efficiency with your work volume. However, unless your workflow is efficient, you will not be able to produce high-quality code. And even if you do, it will take significantly longer than necessary. To be productive is to be able to finish tasks quickly and efficiently without having to sacrifice quality.
The job of a developer working at a website design company is one of the most complex and focus-centric jobs available today. It is common to see website developers juggling multiple projects at once, and being stressed out by all of them. However, minor adjustments to work flow and work ethics can make life significantly easier for developers.
5 Productivity Tips for Developers
Consider integrating these tips into your workday. They will lead to lasting changes in your productivity and efficiency, and will make your work significantly less stressful.
Use Good Existing Tools
While good craftsmen never blame their tools, they try not to use low-quality tools either. Make sure you have chosen the right tools for the right job. This means upfront research before beginning a project. You shouldn’t be afraid to try new things, but you also shouldn’t waste your time on tools that will not work for you. Most importantly, don’t get unnecessarily attached to a tool. This means that don’t select a tool just because you like using it or it’s currently trendy, choose it because it’s the right fit for the job.
Use frameworks like NextJS, Nuxt, or Astro, that can handle basic futons like routing, server-side management, or static rendering, leaving you with enough time to tackle unique problems. Consider relying on tried and tested utility libraries such as Lodash, and state management libraries such as Pinia or Zustand, before you try to make your own and deliver a project late. If your project demands accessibility and a responsive design, use a browser that has also been built for such a purpose. Browsers like Polypane allow you to see multiple devices on a single browser. It also comes with plenty of accessibility features, which let you identify any issues before you ship your project.
There are several other tools that you can use to improve your efficiency. Some of them are bug tracking tools like MantisBT and BackLog, time tracking tools like Jibble and Hubstaff, and code-searching tools like The Silver Searcher.
Use Snippets and Automation
Code snippets are also a very good way to speed up development. There are snippets available for pretty much every popular language, framework, and IDE. If you find yourself typing the same thing again and again, you can make your own snippets as well. If you use VS Code, consider trying Github’s CoPilot tool. It is great at autocompleting code and building more from your comments.
Similar to snippets, try to automate tasks that you find yourself doing repeatedly. Task runners like npm scripts can be used to run tests, node scripts, and code linting. Use services like Cloudinary or Imgix that can generate social images for blog posts and such automatically. Also use tools that can automatically optimize images for responsive websites based on URL parameters.
Reuse Previous Work & Write Tests
You’re bound to be slow at first when you’re trying something new. However, you should get much better and faster at it once you have the experience. A good idea here is to try and write reusable code when building a project. This way, you can always go back to previous projects and make use of reusable components and classes in order to save time. Tried-and-tested codes will keep your project mostly error-free as well.
Writing tests is another way to keep your code error-free. While tests may be an upfront investment, they pay dividends in the long run. Platforms such as Vitest, Testing Library, and Storybook are powerful tools and great testing ecosystems as well. Well-written tests keep you from breaking your code in specific ways, since they will always stop you from shipping certain bugs.
Multitasking is not a great idea for website developers. This is primarily because creating projects are complex, and take time and focus. If you are simultaneously focussing on too many tasks at once, you are automatically doing all of them slower, and more importantly, worse. This is called context switching, and it kills your productivity. Studies have shown developers are significantly more prone to context switching, where they spend just 6 minutes on average on a task before switching. This is averaging 13 tasks an hour.
Ask yourself – is it really possible to make any progress in 6 minutes? And with 13 different tasks within a single hour, the quality of work in each of those becomes really questionable. It is far smarter to focus on one thing at a time, and focus on it till completed. Trying to build 6 things at once benefits no one.
Stick to Schedule & Avoid Distractions
According to Parkinson’s Law, “work expands so as to fill the time available for its completion.” Make sure that’s not the case for you as a developer. And the best way to manage that is to make a schedule and stick to it. This is particularly important to remember if you’re working from home, where there’s no dearth of distractions. Don’t put work off simply because you feel you have all the time of the day. Instead, set goals for starting and ending work for the day, and make sure you’re consistent with these timings. Of course, plans are expected to change as work evolves, but make sure you stick to schedule, and take breaks as well.
It’s also important to avoid distractions, especially those on your screen. Make sure you have turned off all notifications since they are most likely to kill your focus. Turn notifications off for emails, Discord, Slack, Facebook, and any other similar applications, and only take a break at predefined times. You can also use some great distraction removing software. Cold Turkey is a very effective website-blocking application, Rescue Time helps you keep track of how you’ve been spending your time, and Dewo is a grat calendar application.
It will take time to implement all of these strategies. For some people, it might even mean a significant disruption of their usual work practices. However, developing a healthy and efficient workflow requires consistency, commitment, and patience. It’s true that there is no single plan that fits everyone when it comes to productivity and time management. But once you have managed to inculcate these habits, you will see a significant efficiency boost.