Deirdre O'Brien, SEO & Marketing
Deirdre is an experienced marketer and SEO expert who is passionate about creating content for everyone except herself! She previously worked as Head of Content & Publishers for a Marketing Tech Startup where she led paid and organic content strategy for a large portfolio of DTC brands.
You’ve heard us talk a lot about productivity lately, and it seems the whole world has been fixated on making the most of their workday. No matter what industry you’re in, utilizing the right tools can do wonders for your productivity.
There are many reasons you should strive to be more productive outside of getting more tasks done at work. A 2020 study by Harvard University found that being more productive can lead to having more time which ultimately leads to improved happiness; “productivity can sometimes be associated with a rushed, task-focused way of life, devoid of fun and relaxation. But with an updated definition of productivity, the opposite is true because increased productivity gives you more time. And more time will make you happier than anything else you could buy and even more than having more money”.
So, there’s really no downside to improving your productivity, but the tricky part is knowing how to do so. We get it; productivity is such a heavily talked about topic these days that just the sight of the word can make you want to give up and stay in your existing patterns. But know that improving productivity doesn't have to mean completely overhauling your existing habits and workflow. The addition of a few helpful tools can make a huge difference.
A software engineer's work day is full of potential complications and interruptions. Like most industries, you can never really predict how your day will pan out, but having a good chunk of time where your workflow is uninterrupted is critical for being a productive coder. Thankfully, these days there are a ton of digital tools that can help developers do exactly that.
There are a million of them out there, all promising amazing improvements to your productivity. In this article, we’ll outline the ten best so you can stop searching and start being more productive.
A lot of time management tools can get a bad rep, but adding one to your workflow can help you gain a better understanding of where you spend the most time. Timely helps you manage your time with minimal effort by automatically capturing everything you work on. This software can record the time you spend on every web and desktop application and aggregate it into a timeline that gives you a complete account of your work. You’ll gain access to insights like how long you spend actively coding, as well as how much time you have spent on admin tasks such as time spent tending to ClubHouse tickets and Git commits.
Timely was designed to never interrupt your flow, and you can even add specific project and team dashboards that give you quick performance breakdowns, so you can follow task progress, your team's activity, and the hours you put in each day in one, easy-to-navigate place. The best part of Timely is that having access to continuous data points on where your time is being spent will help you see where you get distracted, so you can make improvements to not waste this time moving forward.
How many times have you said to yourself “this meeting could have been an email? That’s where Slack comes in. This messenger app is a godsend for team collaboration and allows for easy and instant communication that doesn’t eat up a lot of your time.
Slack has a ton of cool features like the ability to create channels for specific groups of projects, video calls, group huddles, and more. Rather than scheduling meetings for every topic of discussion that relates to a task you’re working on with a team, create a specific slack channel and save yourself the time. Lastly, slack also allows you to link your Google Calendar so people can see when you’re available or tied up, and you can even create time blocks so teammates can see when you’re in the middle of dedicated focus time.
As mentioned above productivity apps get a bad reputation, as they can be boring and sometimes complicated to use. However, Habitica is the opposite of the traditional productivity tool model because it encourages you to stick to your goals by gamifying your habits.
Instead of ticking boxes when a task is complete, Habitica turns your workday into an interactive game. It might sound crazy but Habitica has a ton of great reviews, so they might be onto something with their gamify productivity approach. With this software, you battle monsters by completing tasks. It almost works like a video game; the more monsters (tasks) you eliminate, the more you feel motivated to move up to another level.
Habitica is also a collaborative application, meaning you can invite friends to join you on your quests, encourage accountability and win virtual prizes to spend on rewards.
Improving your productivity can sometimes be as simple as taking care of your wellbeing. All coders know that hours spent in front of the computer can be very harsh on your eyes. To be able to sustain long sessions spent coding, protecting your eyes is a must. Sure, you can try blue light glasses, but we’re happy to tell you that of course, there is a smart tool for this!
f.lux is a tool designed to reduce eye strain by automatically adjusting your screen's display color to compliment the time of day you are working. This tool works across Windows, Linux, Mac, and iOS devices, and what we love about this tool is that all you need to do is install it and let it do its thing; therefore requiring minimal effort on your part.
f.lux is customizable and requires you to tell it about what kind of lighting you have and where you live, and it will handle the rest automatically. It’s a pretty cool tool; when it detects sunset, it will make your display mimic your indoor lighting; when it detects sunrise, it will adjust your set-up to sunlight settings. As we said, f.lux can be adjusted to fit your work routine, and you can even pick colors that help keep you alert at certain times of the day!
When you work on a computer all day, it's very difficult not to get distracted by YouTube, Twitter feeds, and random news articles. While taking a little timeout in your day to enjoy a little social media or read a funny article is perfectly fine, getting distracted multiple times a day can have a massive impact on your productivity.
Enter Cold Turkey. This app pretty much is reflective of its name; it blocks certain websites, games, and apps to help boost your focus–cold turkey!. You can set certain times in the day when you won't be able to access these sites, which forces you to be disciplined by eliminating your access to said distractions. This app might feel extreme, but the 5 minutes of distraction that occur multiple times a day really add up, plus if you want to take a break, and you should multiple times a day, then we encourage you to not look at a screen and get up and walk away from your computer!
Being as organized as possible is the key to increasing your productivity, and Notion is a great tool that provides components such as notes, databases, kanban boards, wikis, calendars, and reminders. This tool is completely customizable and allows you to connect these components to create your own systems for knowledge management, note-taking, data management, project management, and more.
Notion is helpful in the sense that it makes scheduling tasks, managing files, saving documents, setting reminders, keeping agendas, and organizing your work a lot more streamlined and automated. Notion allows you to keep all of your work and deliverables in the same place, and prioritize accordingly. With Notion, you can even write & paste equations in the form of blocks or inline, as it supports LaTex.
Finding and fixing bugs is one of the most time-consuming tasks facing all developers in their day-to-day life. The thing about bugs is that you never know when they will strike, or what the severity of them will be, which means indemnifying and then fixing them can really slow you down.
MantisBT is a web-based bug tracking system that has been designed to track errors or defects in your code and then report them accordingly. This software sends you email notifications to update you or other members of your team with the reported issues, so you can attend to them ASAP. This tool can help tremendously with your code review process, as it allows you to get ahead of any potential issue that may slow you down later down the road.
As with all good software tools, MantisBT is fully customizable for your issue fields, notifications, and workflow.
How much time have you spent scrolling back through slack messages or emails trying to find something you meant to save but never got around to? Pastebin is an optimized clipboard that lets you instantly find any text, link, image, lines of code, or file you’ve ever copied on any of your devices!
Pastebin syncs across your iCloud so you use it as a mobile app or on your computer, and share it via text, email, social media, or AirDrop.
This tool allows you to copy and paste multiple items at once and remove formatting so you can paste it as plain text.
For developers working in teams, Asana is a workplace management dashboard that helps streamline communication across departments and teams. This project management tool allows users to break down projects into tasks and set clear goals for each individual team member.. Asana can be easily integrated with hundreds of other applications commonly used by businesses, like Google Drive, Outlook, and Slack.
Asana’s dashboard is simple and easy to navigate, and you can customize it to fit both your and your team's evolving needs.
Asana was created to minimize meeting times and repetitive and time-consuming email updates by allowing workplaces of any size to analyze their progress and address issues all in one place. This tool allows you to assign tasks, create lists or boards to host certain projects as a whole, link your calendar, help you prioritize, and more.
As developers, we’re sure you can relate to time wasted writing repetitive lines of code. Or, if you decide to use a code snippet to speed up your work, it may take a lot of time to find the right code pattern that is not defective or outdated.
Any way that a coder can reduce repetitive tasks, their productivity will improve instantly. That's why we created Codiga.
Codiga is a platform that has been created to help engineers cut their working time in half. Codiga is used by tens of thousands of developers around the world, and our Coding Assistant tool now features Smart Code Snippets that can help coders reduce their time searching for code snippets and time spent writing repetitive lines of code.
Instead of looking online and trying to find a code snippet to speed up a project, Codiga’s Smart Code Snippets gives users access to a library of Smart Code Snippets that have been added and vetted by other developers who use our platform. These Smart Code Snippets can be populated directly in your working environment, meaning you don’t need to interrupt your workflow to use them!
All Smart Code Snippets can be searched for on the Codiga Hub and can be found by defining search metrics such as name, tags, and keywords. Here, you can favor a Smart Code Snippet which means it will automatically populate in your IDE when the command to in a matter of seconds.
Smart Code Snippets, found within the Coding Assistant feature, work anywhere you write code and can be easily added to their working environment using our VS Code, Jetbrains | IntelliJ, and Chrome plugins. These plugins take minutes to install and mean that you can avail of all the awesome benefits of Smart Code Snippets without having to navigate away from your working environment.
Coding Assistant allows you to also add your own Smart Code Snippets, that can be shared either publicly, privately( just you), or with a team. This means Coding Assistant also functions as a code snippet manager that can help you stay on top of your own code snippets and documentation.
You don’t need to completely overhaul your existing workflow to become more productive. The addition of a few smart productivity tools designed for developers can make a huge difference. If you want to learn more about Smart Code Snippets or any other Codiga feature, check out our site now or reach out to our team on Discord!