10 tips for a pleasant and productive software engineer’s everyday

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1. Stand up every hour

Yeah, it sounds trivial, but it is quite important not only for your health, but also for your focus.
You can create a habit to stand up frequently or to make an effort to remind yourself by setting a timer.
A pretty nice thing is the height adjustable standing desk. You can switch from sitting to standing position multiple times during the day and let your blood flows better 🙂

2. Draw

Draw or write down your thoughts when you have to think of a solution for a problem. Get a piece of paper, go to the whiteboard or use a drawing tablet (you can find really cheap Chinese ones) and express your ideas with diagrams, flow charts, pseudo-code or whatever is it in your head. I find this really helpful for solving any problem I may come across.

3. Create little helpers

  • In your IDE create templates for some consistent objects you are creating. For example all your classes might follow a convention of having certain regions, and a particular structure, with no unneeded using clauses (like if you add a new class with Visual Studio it will automatically include several usings). So you can create a template for a class with the skeleton you need.
  • Automate whatever is possible – for example a site creation and configuration under IIS, multiple projects compilation, frequently moving files from one location to another, etc.
  • Write a script for searching objects in the DB. You can find the script for that in the post – Search for an object in SQL Server.
  • Create a batch file to run all your frequently used programs.
  • Create a scheduled job for cleaning your cache and temp folders (if you decide that this is appropriate).
  • If you are a Visual Studio user check out those VS tips.

4. Time management

Find your most appropriate time management strategy by experimenting with different ones. If you haven’t heard about the Pomodoro technique, try it now. For me it is a pretty useful and effective way of organizing my working time. It’s idea is to break out your work into intervals with particular time. There are plenty of timer applications you can use to assist you and remind you for starting and ending of every iteration.

5. Use protective glasses

I don’t have any problem with my vision, but I still find it beneficial to wear protective computer glasses with anti-reflection and blue light filters. At the end of the day I can definitively say that I don’t feel the same dryness and dizziness comparing to the days with no glasses use.

6. Learn something new every day

Keep your knowledge circle constantly expanding.
Learn a new programming language, a new pattern, a new methodology, a new technology, etc.
A good idea is to schedule some time every day, put it in the calendar and do it.

7. Follow technical blogs

Read technical blogs. That way you will be always up to date with the technology world.
If you are interested in software, then choose some big names in that field and follow their blogs. Here is a part of my list with followed blogs:

8. Create your own blog

Further more – create your personal technical blog. It is beneficial due to several reasons:

  • You can deeply examine and learn the topic you are writing about
  • That will motivate you to learn and write new things
  • It can be used as your business card
  • It will be an archive with records of the obstacles and issues you come across during your daily work and their resolutions.

9. Use your “wasted” time

Use the time spent on walking, driving or using public transport by reading a technical book or listen to podcasts, lessons or audio books. You will not believe how many books you will consume per year doing this.

10. Create a creative working environment

Just make your working place so that it will motivate and inspire you for work.
Put a flower pot around you if you’d like, or some pictures, or print out motivational words, or thoughts that are valuable for you, or standards, or some technical stuff. Get a more comfortable keyboard and mouse. Always have a notebook and a pen near you. Make it like you would like to sit there and do the job the right way.

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