Time tracking is a phrase many software developers cannot stand. Writing or fixing code is never the same. It may take less than an hour or a few days.
Although many software development companies require their employees to log the number of hours they spend on a single task, the majority of coders and programmers hate this practice and for this reason develop a negative attitude to the idea of time tracking.
Indeed, intellectual work results cannot be always evaluated in hours, especially when it comes to analysis and problem-solving.
However, good time-tracking habits are the basis of effective task management and high productivity. The ability to plan and manage time in the right manner is a major determinant in the success of one or another project.
- Top 5 Time Management Practices to Employ in Your Workplace
- Why Time Management Is Important
- How to deal with fatigue at work
For this reason, it is best for every software developer or engineer to have the basic time development skills and knowledge of project planning and management.
These 5 tips below are intended to help IT workers develop good time management habits at work.
Top 5 Time Management Practices to Employ in Your Workplace
1. Schedule a day
Chaos is the main enemy to efficiency. If you want to get everything done on time, start preparing in advance. Whatever task and project you are now working on, it is desirable to plan your workday before bed.
This way, your brain has time to prepare and you are ready to challenge your work because you know what to do.
A plan helps you be more productive as you don’t have to spend time thinking what to do next after completing a task. Besides, it gives you some sense of control over your day and life as a whole.
The downside of planning is something urgent and unexpected you did not intend to do during the day. But first, being productive does not mean completing 100 percent of your plan (80 percent is considered acceptable).
Second, unforeseen tasks are an excellent opportunity to improve your flexibility and prove to yourself you can be good at multitasking.
Apps to use: Trello, Wunderlist, Evernote
2. Use a calendar
The purpose of a calendar is somewhat similar to the role of planner apps, but you can use it specifically for appointment scheduling.
Unlike day-to-day tasks, some events require particular attention, but it is easy to forget about them when you are overwhelmed with work.
Scrum meetups, webinars, and weekly business calls can be added to a calendar so that you are prepared for every scrum meetups and videoconference with the client.
For instance, Google calendar is cross-platform and fit for any device and OS. It Supports notifiers and reminders will save you from forgetting
Apps to use: Google calendar, Microsoft Outlook calendar, TimeTree
3. Track time in slots
This tip is not for everyone. While some workers prefer splitting a workday into work and rest intervals, others simply cannot work when they know they are limited in time.
If you feel more comfortable with alternating work and rest, the Pomodoro technique is likely to benefit you.
The point of it is to break down your work into 25-minute slots separated with 5 or 10-minute breaks. This duration is considered optimal for high productivity and a low risk of burnout. Moreover, it allows workers to avoid health problems caused by a sedentary lifestyle and lack of mobility during a workday.
Apps to use: TomatoClock, PomoDone, Focus Keeper
4. Make to-do lists
The reason why every software development company builds their projects with the help of project management tools is simple. Task planning and tracking ensures consistent progress with a low potential for error.
A to-do list is the simplest way of planning your work, but you should approach it with common sense.
A common mistake that many workers tend to make is simply writing down all the things they would like to complete without considering the amount of time at their disposal. It is important to balance workload with available time.
You need to tie every task on your to-do list to a specific time slot. Knowing how much it takes to complete one or another task will help you stay more concentrated.
On the contrary, trying to complete everything on your to-do list without taking into account its feasibility will eventually get you upset with low productivity. You should be realistic and think without your capacity!
Apps to use: ToDoist, FocusMe
5. Don’t mix your work and house chores
If you are a remote employee, your biggest destroyer may be housework. Though your home and office are the same place, you should clearly separate your professional and personal life.
To keep good work and life balance, it is reasonable to have two different plans and calendars.This separation will let you stay focused on the right things and be in the moment.
Other destroyers can include social media like Facebook or Twitter and email which may consume much of your work time if you accidentally forgot to turn off the notifications during your working hours.
Temporarily blocking access to distracting apps and websites can have a positive impact on your performance too.
Apps to use: Remember the Milk, Sectograph; ColdTurkey
While there is no standard method of effective time management, it is still essential to create your personal system of time tracking and planning.
There are wide-ranging mobile and web apps on the web among which you can find the best one and harness it for your personal and professional use.
Why Time Management Is Important
Good time management skills are needed for burnout prevention. Job burnout is widespread among IT specialists that tend to overwork and stress out because of short deadlines, discontent clients, and complex tasks that cannot be solved overnight.
The ability to make time for rest, on the contrary, helps to considerably reduce the risk of emotional exhaustion and handle stress in the workplace.
Proper time management is equally needed for the workers that strive to show the utmost performance at the very start and end up entering the downtime stage quickly with no enthusiasm to continue working.
The peak productivity cannot last long, and if you go at a steady and balanced pace, the final outcome won’t cost you
How to deal with fatigue at work
When one gets bored with monotonous workflow, it can be useful to switch to a totally different activity in order to allow your brain to take a well-deserved break.
This sounds even better if you can abandon your current routine and have a quick workout session that will prevent you from getting exhausted while shaping your body and overall health.
There is no need to go to a gym and get 1-hour hardcore training, as even a quick workout session or just 10 minutes of stretching exercises can help you a lot in staying energized at work. Workout and fitness apps in choosing the right intensity and tracking your training progress.
Apps to use: Peloton, Fitbit Coach, Aaptiv.
2.Breathing exercises & meditation
One of the best ways to resist stress and return to normal productivity is to dedicate certain time to meditation. In fact, breathing exercises can not only help you calm down, but they also allow you to increase oxygen levels in your brain allowing you to settle everything in your head faster.
Meditation, in its turn, is a good way to let your brain get rid of negative thoughts and recover faster. When it comes to working in an office, it may be a bit challenging to stay aside from other distractions.
This is where specialized mobile apps can provide you with pleasant music or sounds of nature to let you immerse in the atmosphere of calmness and relaxation.
Apps to use: The Mindfulness App, Headspace, Calm.
A healthy diet is not just a benefit to your body but your brain too. Balanced and protein-rich nutrition gives you enough energy to deal with stress and achieve better productivity.
You can maintain a healthy lifestyle with a variety of mobile apps aimed to track your daily water intake and food regiment. You can use them to count calories, control carbs, and manage your food sensitivity.
Besides, some apps are meant to help you find organic and natural foods that are the closest to your location.
Apps to use: Waterlogged, Shopwell, MyPlate tracker
Loneliness and lack of communication is a common struggle of many freelancers and remote employees. It may be a trigger for mental disorders and communication problems.
If you do not have the feeling of belonging to your development team, you can try being initiative and offer them to get together outside of work.
However, if it does not seem a good option or does not give any results, there are plenty of other alternatives to find a good company. You can use online apps to get to know like-minded people who may share your professional interests or personal values.
Apps to use: Friender, Peanut, Meetup