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How to Maximize Your Productivity (As a Software Developer or Learning Programming)



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hey guys what's up I'm Andy I'm a

self-taught software developer and

today's video is all about how to

maximize your productivity as a software

developer or if you are learning to

become a software developer how to

maximize your study time and learning

time now before I dive into what those

productivity hacks are just want to say

as I mentioned in a previous video that

I'm going to be making an announcement

over the next couple weeks I'm not quite

sure when that will be but I'm hard at

work at the thing I'll be announcing so

keep your eyes peeled now so let's talk

about productivity right how to be as

productive as you possibly can when

you're knee-deep in software development

or even when you are learning whether

you're doing the self-study route or the

classically educated route before I get

to my first sort of piece of advice

let's talk about how I started as a

software developer and how I learn not

to how I learn this mistake firsthand so

when I first became a software developer

I I got my first job and I put a lot of

pressure on myself in that situation to

to as learn as much as I could in a

short period of time because not only

did I want to stay hired because I was

on like a three-month like contract

where they could let me go down in the

contract for any reason so it was kind

of like a test run to make sure that I

was you know I was decent as a developer

anyhow so there was a lot of pressure on

me and in those early days I just you

know showed up for work for my eight

hours stayed late if I needed to work

than the weekends worked after work I

just put a lot of time and I know the

one true thing about success in general

is that if you spend the time doing

anything you will get better at it right

so my my one paradigm was that if I just

put my butt in the chair and sat there

and stared at the code that things would

all get better I just put my trust in

that I put my trust in that process and

it worked to a large degree because like

let's say that you face a problem and

you don't know your way around it one of

the best things you can do is just work

endlessly until you figure out the

problem right like that's sort of a

intuitive thing that makes sense

the problem is in those early days I

didn't take many breaks I was obsessed

with hustling right like I felt like any

time that I spent away from the computer

was me being lazy or me being not a hard

worker

and everyone I think has is pretty

familiar with the hustle culture if you

watch any Gary Vaynerchuk videos which

by the way I'm a huge fan of Gary

Vaynerchuk if you watch any of his

videos I don't think so much lately but

previously in the previous few years

like he always talks about working hard

and you don't need to steal him to sleep

like five hours a night and that was my

mentality I lived it and it worked to a

large degree like I say quark meaning I

was doing it I was living that life and

I improved my skills to a certain degree

but but but but that is unsustainable

100% unsustainable and at some point you

start to you know you start to burn out

or you just start to realize that okay I

can't be working this hard for that long

unless you just really really enjoy

coding to the point where like you're

doing it 18 hours a day or whatever

ridiculous thing and what I started to

do was I started to realize that I just

wasn't being that efficient with my time

at the end of my work days I was really

tired I was exhausted my mind was just

spent I would come home just be like

sort of like veg doubt because when you

when you're working on all these

problems when you're challenging your

skills it's tiring for your mind and you

especially you're not saving breaks

there's no recharge time so I don't know

what point I came across it I want to

say maybe after a year or so I came

across the Pomodoro Technique right

which to be honest we I still don't even

know the exact specifications of the

Pomodoro Technique so if you really want

to learn what that is I say just google

you can figure it out but essentially I

call it you know time blocking which

just means that before you get started

on any piece of work you have you you

you you have a finite amount of time on

which you're gonna finish it so you set

a timer for 20 minutes and the end of 20

minutes you take a five minute break and

you just work in those those blocks so

if you just keep doing 20 minutes on

five minutes off 20 minutes on five

minutes off I right now will go anywhere

from 20 minutes to about 50 minutes and

that's really my range depending on

where my mind is at where my ATD is that

in that moment I will will work a time

block for is let's say 20 minutes and

then take a five-minute break if it's 50

minutes you just take a 10-minute break

but essentially I never or I rarely will

sit down without a finite and time to my

to my work block because a lot of really

bad stuff happens when I don't set that

time limit

the best way to describe why the time

limit is so great for yourself and why

just working until you are burnt you

know till you're mentally frazzled is a

bad thing the reason that's a bad thing

is because the way I look at is this

okay you have two brains when you're

coding at least I have two brains when

I'm coding the first brain is like a

hard hat brain right it's like you put

on the hard hat you just plug away you

take the jam jackhammer or whatever and

the hammer and you just hammer away and

that would compare that to being like

when you're working on a work item or

something you're just going away you're

plugging away you have you know you need

to do you just keep going the other

brain is the more contemplative brain

the one that sort of takes a step back

and looks at everything you need to do

put you know is able to prioritize your

work is able to look at it's able look

at the big picture and basically make

everything fit together and those things

are diametrically opposed so I think

when you set the timer when you do the

Pomodoro Technique when you know what

you're gonna work on before you start

working in the time block it gives you

those finite period of time where you

can just wear the hard hat and just plug

away and plug away and plug away if you

want to jump all over the place if you

want to work on this on that those 20

minutes or 50 minutes you can do

whatever you want and just go guilt free

but when the timer is up that's when you

stop you pull back you go take a break

you pet the dog you get a drink of water

and that's when you're sort of more

contemplative brain gets into into gear

and you're able to sort of piece things

together you're able to take a step back

and a lot of times problems that you are

having during the working phase during

the hard hat phase or the hard hat brain

they will sort of just come to you and

it's it's amazing like you need breaks

to actively let your brain sort of

process things if you've got to think of

your brain as a computer it needs time

away so that you can actually recharge

and get that processing power back so I

highly recommend time blocking Pomodoro

Technique whatever you want to call it

if you really want to look more into the

Pomodoro Technique I think people have

written about it ad nauseam on the

Internet

I'm just gonna add what that's my

experience with it definitely take a

look if you're interested

another huge productivity tip that I

cannot recommend enough is planning out

your day again going back to the

beginning my the way I operated for a

very long time when I was a software

developer or when I started out as a

software developer I just

was that I sort of showed up to work you

know it opened up my computer I have a

bunch of applications that opened and I

would just sort of snow really there's

no methodical approach like how do I

start my day I rarely ever sat and sort

of contemplated like what did I need to

do for that day it was more what's in

front of me what do I need to be doing

oh I got an email about some work item

I'm supposed to be doing this is what I

was working on yesterday I just looked

at my slack messages again not

methodical the product that can work

like certainly you can just open up your

computer everyday just see what needs to

be done and go that way but if you

really want to maximize your time and

effort you want to be efficient with

your time and you really want to be a

effective software developer it's best

to spend ten fifteen minutes every

single morning figuring out well it's a

it's a few things it's thinking of your

you know your bigger priorities your

smaller priorities what work items need

to be done what should you be working on

even for yourself as sort of personal

career development what what

technologies have you wanted to learn

that that you need to work on today do

you need to do study twenty minutes on a

JavaScript framework that you don't know

whatever your long and short term goals

you need to factor that into your daily

work not only that and you want to be a

good worker you want to be organized

about how you work so you want to figure

out like what is in the short term the

long term there are so many things that

you might need to do at any company from

documentation to just obviously work at

work items either way spending time

planning at the beginning of your day is

going to make you more effective in

accomplishing your goals and being a

good employee for your company

don't just be the person who just shows

up and just looks at your computer like

looks your inbox like what's going on

today uh and then you just get right to

it spend 10 minutes breathe drink your

coffee like whatever it takes and just

think for a little bit and things will

come to you I guarantee it but don't

make the mistake of just responding to

fires as I say now the last mistake that

I made a lot in the beginning and still

make to this day cuz it's it's a

temptation that I think all of us

understand is the the the idea of

distractions there's so many

distractions on a computer it's amazing

that gets amazing to see that we

actually able to get any work done but

for me for example on my computer and

just just let's go through all the

distractions I have in front of me I've

got my cell phone which is written

yelling mean text messages email updates

I have slack open because I use it for

work

I have an email I have two emails on my

personal email my work email up

typically you know I like watching

YouTube videos when I'm taking breaks

and YouTube is amazing and it but it can

suck you down the rabbit hole there's a

lot but I can't think of right now but

those are just to name a few and the

challenge is that if you really want to

do work efficiently and effectively I

think everybody would agree that you

need to narrow down your focus to one

thing you need tunnel vision to really

be a most effective you need tunnel

vision of what you're doing

block out everything else you need to

get really engaged in what you're doing

the shoe on the on the little

idiosyncrasies of what you're doing and

the more that you can block out

distractions notifications though that

is really going to help what you're

doing now there's nothing you know

people say like oh well if I just got an

email it's not that big of a deal yes

and no here's the thing when you are

doing something highly that needs a lot

of your attention and focus and

concentration it may seem like oh if I

get a simple email notification that's

not a big deal well it's not really true

you have to think of it like your your

ability to think very deeply on problems

is like building a glass house it's

something this is a metaphor someone

else actually gave to me it's like

building a glass house and it's really

hard to build with that momentum where

you're really deep in the code thinking

about a problem but it's really easy to

shatter that momentum with a

notification or two notifications or

listen to a podcast in the background

these things are highly disruptive to

maximum efficiency thinking so the more

that you can pare down all those

distractions if you can stop watching

YouTube videos if you can keep your mind

on one track and one track as much as

you can it's gonna be great

one of the best things I ever did is

while I'm working I put my phone on Do

Not Disturb so all the text messages and

email messages and you know I stack it

every notification you could think of on

my phone I don't even see them pop up I

just can unlock my phone because I have

an iPhone I just unlock my phone and

just look and see what's going on

instead of constantly being barage and I

try to regularly check all my sort of

areas like email social media on an

hourly or two hour basis so that way my

you know I'm always keeping track of

things but it's not just sort of I'm

getting all these little notice

all over the place which will break my

concentration so the more that you can

pare down your distractions the better

obviously within reason we all have like

I have to have slack opening because my

co-workers may need something but the

better that you can do with this or at

least for finite periods of time I think

you the more you will benefit and the

more you will be like one of those

highly productive highly efficient

people and just software developers I

guess all right so that's it I hope you

enjoyed the video I'm just trying to

give out some of the things that I've

learned from being a software developer

for a few years let me know what you

think in the comments below go ahead and

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other than that that's all I got thank

you guys so much and peace