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Practice makes perfect code.

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Developers can't build a successful career based only on their knowledge. When learning to code, there are other things that are mandatory in the self development process, such as: taking care of your lifestyle, turning some activities into everyday habits and always looking for a way to be productive. Becoming a good programmer is a long, difficult process, which requires discipline and engagement. This article presents some tips and tricks for those who want to better organize their time and resources in order to succeed. Talking to one of our software developers, Bogdan Balan, we have noticed at least 3 critical elements that should be considered by everyone striving for excellence: continuous learning, productivity and lifestyle.

Continuous learning is food for your brain

This is always a must for any kind of learning process. Based on his own experience, Bogdan told us that if developers want to become better at their job, the first thing to do is to invest some of their free time in improving their skills and knowledge. From our experience, we know for sure that reading helps a lot, so let's take a look at some of Bogdan's recommandations:

  1. The Pragmatic Programmer: From Journeyman to Master by Andrew Hunt and David Thomas.
  2. The Clean Coder: A Code of Conduct for Professional Programmers by Robert C. Martin
  3. Clean Code: A Handbook of Agile Software Craftsmanship

Besides that, what helped him a lot was listening to podcasts on his way to work. He gave us some examples of these too:

  1. The Developer's Life is a podcast about developers and their lives
  2. Hanselminutes, fresh air for developers
  3. .NET Rocks
  4. JSJ, your prototype for great code

Everyone should realize that reading at least one book during every moment of their career is mandatory for learning to code. The books do not have to be all about programming and writing code. Showing interest in psychology, health and time management materials will keep you posted on how you should manage your activity in order to be productive and do your work at your very best. Also, do not forget to spend an hour a day on reading news and looking at best practices. This is food for your brain!

How P.T. increases our developers productivity

Sometimes it just happens to get easily distracted at the workplace. Figuring out how to control some unproductive behaviours and get rid of them is the best way to discover your maximum potential. First, think of all the things that keeps you unfocused, such as: Facebook, Skype, noises, other websites. By discovering them you will have solved half the problem. Then look for solutions: start using mobile productivity applications and tools, start making to-do lists and keeping track on every finished task. Here is a pretty interesting article on the subject. Bogdan and most of our developers use The Pomodoro Technique. It helps them focus on their work by taking short breaks every 25 minutes. The best part of this time management method has a lot to do with the fact that the more relaxed you are, the more productive you get. There are five basic principles you need to follow if you decide to implement this technique:

  1. Establish what the task you will be working on is.
  2. Set the pomodoro timer to x minutes (traditionally 25 minutes).
  3. Start working on the task until the timer rings.
  4. Take a short break (5 minute), walk, go outside and breathe fresh air.
  5. After four repetitive actions, take a longer break (15-30 minutes).

If you want more information, give this link a try: The Pomodoro Technique.

Healthy eating and exercise are strongly related to workplace productivity

Studies show that eating poorly and not exercising increase the risk of loss of productivity at the workplace. Here are some numbers: eating unhealthily leads to 66 percent increased risk of loss of productivity and the lack of exercise leads to 28 percent increased risk of loss of productivity. We know that these are just some numbers, but the thing is that you have to realize how important is to include healthy habits in your daily activity. It is true that sometimes, when you have a lot of work to do and many tasks that must be delivered, you forget to take care of yourself. Even if you think you are saving time, actually you are not. So try to find a method to get enough sleep, eat healthy food and exercise in order to provide good results.

Conclusion:

  1. You don't only have to read books about programming and writing code. Read about time management, methods for increasing productivity at the workplace, psychology and so on!
  2. Develop everyday habits that keep you posted: dedicate one hour of your time to reading tech articles.
  3. Listen to podcasts!
  4. Start using productivity tools and mobile applications and see what those that fit your needs are! The Pomodoro Technique might be a good choice.
  5. Eat healthily, get enough sleep and exercise!

What are the things that keep you productive at the office? See you in the comments! Happy programming!

 
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