General

Time Management for Programmers

It’s ironic I’ve been meaning to post on this topic since it happened over a week ago.

Someone on my team asked how do you manage your time to get stuff done. And I had to think about it. Because typically I am the first to complete assignments and I know I can work faster than most and solve problems faster. Sometimes I suffer from imposter syndrome and other times, like now, I could use a slice of humble pie.

But it got me to thinking, how do I manage my time?

And my biggest piece of advice on this topic is lists. I make todo lists for everything, everyday. And not just lists, but I also use my calendar… A LOT!

I make a daily to do list. I put a lot of stuff on it. More stuff than can probably be accomplished, which I admit sometimes sabotages myself and makes me feel inadequate. But it also lets me realize that I can’t get to everything in one day.

I have a whiteboard in my office with “big ideas”. It could be projects that I am working on or future projects or ideas. But the idea there is to get it out of your head to focus on the day to day (most of the time).

I keep lists everywhere. For those who suffer from anxiety, they teach you to journal or write stuff down. It’s the same concept. The goal is to get it down on paper and out of your mind. With your mind uncluttered with all the things you need to do, it clears it up to focus on the task(s) at hand.

I also do other things to stay focused. I take plenty of breaks throughout the day, whether getting water, exercising for lunch, conversing with coworkers, etc… There are a lot of distractions in today’s workplace but the key in my mind is when you are at your most productive, you HAVE to focus and get stuff done. I think for most people that’s around 4-6 hours of an 8 hour workday. When that “productive wave” takes you over, you can focus on what needs to be done because you already have it spelled out for you.

I’m sort of old school in that I like to write stuff down on paper, but there are plenty of apps out there that help. Asana is a great one of the top of my head that I have used before when collaborating with others. And my Outlook calendar is a huge timesaver as well.

;tldr

  • Make Lists
  • Be Productive During Peak Times
  • Use your calendar
  • Out of your brain and onto paper