How to Hack Your Way to Being a Super Productive Engineer Tips and Tools
From product development to other aspects of the business, engineers are the key players of an organization. The success of a project highly depends on their energy and productivity. It’s understandable why it’s important to have productive engineers in the team if you want to drive excellent results.
Tips for engineers to become productive
1. Focus on accomplishments, not on hours
Productivity has nothing to do with the number of hours you work for. However, it might sound counterintuitive but if you work for lesser hours, you experience a boost in your productivity.
Let me tell you how it works: All you have to do is make a list of important tasks. If some tasks have a deadline, you would automatically want to finish them as soon as possible.
Your brain will automatically start finding ways to get it done to the earliest. You will adopt the best practices and look for smarter solutions to complete tasks within the desired deadline.
2. Say No to distractions
In every workplace, there are distractions that are the biggest threat to employees’ productivity. Being an engineer means you have to keep your focus intact especially while working on coding platforms and apps. Such distractions can be a big time-waster.
When you’re working on complex tasks, projects, or code, stay away from office politics, unnecessary social media usage, and water-cooler gossip sessions. I know it’s tempting but you’re going to regret it sooner or later. Thus, stay away from distractions.
Something that every engineer or developer struggles with is doing repetitive and boring tasks time and again. For example, compiling the code or transferring data into the database are daily tasks every engineer has to do. It is both daunting and time-consuming to take a toll on overall productivity.
Automation is one such way that involves the use of various tools to help you save time and gain accuracy at work. Before you choose any automation tool, make sure you consider usability, cost, third-party application integrations, and other important factors as well.
4. The Pomodoro Technique
It is an old classic technique used by professionals and businessmen all over the world to improve their productivity. The Pomodoro Technique is a time management system allows you to work for 25 minutes and take a break for 5 minutes.
The catch is that you’re supposed to work uninterrupted, stay away from all the distractions, and maintain your focus for those 25 minutes.
These intervals are referred to as pomodoros. After four or five pomodoros, you can take a longer break for about 15-20 minutes. The Pomodoro Technique works really well as it manages to create a sense of urgency that you have to complete your work in those 25 minutes.
5. ‘Eat that frog’ technique
No, we aren’t talking about the actual frogs so don’t be scared. Here, the frogs indicate the tasks we dread. Mark Twain once said, “Eat a live frog first thing in the morning and nothing worse will happen to you for the rest of the day.”
Brain Tracy has used the above quote and invented a productivity technique ‘Eat that frog’ in his book Eat That Frog! 21 Great Ways to Stop Procrastinating and Get More Done in Less Time.
In this technique, you have to do the most important task in the morning. This task could be doing the code, making a cost estimate, performing a specific task in the project, or anything that is bigger in size and of priority.
6. The Pareto Principle
The Pareto Principle a.k.a 80/20 rule is everywhere. People from all walks of life such as engineering, marketing, project management are using The Pareto Principle to boost their efficiency. It states that 80% of your results come from only 20% of your efforts.
You might be aware that in software engineering, 80% of the program’s functionality is from 20% of the developer’s efforts. The Pareto Principle is very effective to cut down your efforts and time.
It isn’t about working less, in fact, it emphasizes on giving your hundred percent to that 20% that makes the difference. It helps you work smartly and supercharges your productivity.
7. Make Calendar your best friend
If you thought that calendar was just about checking the date of the month, think again. It is one of the most effective scheduling tools that can help you manage your time and productivity smartly. You can also use digital calendars (Google Calendar) to remember all your important dates, events, meetings, and tasks.
Another simple way is to create a master calendar where you can mark every important task for that week or month. These could include team meetings, important calls, client consultations, upcoming birthdays, or anything you would not like to forget.
Thus, having a schedule is one of the easiest ways to stay focused, organized, and productive.
8. Start using work management tools
It goes without saying that work management tools play an important role in sorting your professional life. Thank God for these productivity tools that one can now easily manage work and stay on top of their professional commitments.
Work management tools make it easy to create plans, collaborate, and keep things organized in one place. We understand it’s quite challenging to look for top work management and collaboration tools when there are lots of them in the market.
That’s why we have made a list of tools every engineer should use to make his life simpler and more productive.
6 Must-Have Tools for Engineers
ProofHub is a great project management and collaboration tool for engineering software development teams. It has a list of features that can help you manage tasks, projects, teams, and communications in a much better way.
ProofHub can be used by individuals and even by large engineering teams to collaborate faster. It gives you the ability to assign deadlines to tasks to ensure their successful completion on time.
Top features of ProofHub:
- Task management: Assign tasks, recurring tasks, add subtasks, add labels, set start and end dates, break tasks, add files.
- Online proofing: Faster review process, markup tools for clear feedback, annotate files, review file versions.
- Online discussion: Share opinions and updates, post announcements, mention people for real-time collaboration.
- Time tracking: Set time estimates, track time spent on tasks and maintain a record of every minute spent.
2. Static Object
Static Object is built to harness your engineering team’s full potential. It reviews and summarizes your code with advanced developer performance metrics. It provides insightful Line Impact Scores helping you understand the value of each line of code and also provides tools to review code accurately and faster.
Other performance metrics are useful to see what’s going on and even to figure out the most productive hour of the week.
Top features of Static Object:
- It analyzes Git repositories to calculate team output
- Intuitive dashboard to figure the progress and spot bottlenecks
- Custom crafted diff viewer to look at changes like additions, deletion, and update
Confluence is an open and shared workspace where teams of any size and nature can create, collaborate, and keep their work safe and sound. You can embed diagrams, create page layouts, and still keep it all organized making it an ideal fit for engineers all over the world.
Along with this, you can customize it anytime with numerous apps and stay productive.
Top features of Confluence:
- Create and share notes, project requirements, meeting guidelines, future plans to anything in between
- Powerful search options to easily find the important stuff
- Quick feedback with inline and page comments
- @mention anyone to catch their attention faster
Slack is a popular team chat software and online collaboration tool that helps you connect with people sitting next to your desk or miles away. It acts as a central hub for all your discussions, documents, announcements where you can easily search for important information at one place.
Users can create channels which can be further categorized by project, team, or anything for that matter. Slack has made collaboration as easier as talking to someone sitting next to you.
Top features of Slack:
- A single place for messaging, tools, and file
- Powerful search features save time in finding information
- Connects well to the tools and systems you already use
- Send reminders directly to colleagues about critical tasks
Engineering teams have a lot of documentation to do and it can be really chaotic to manage all these documents without having a tool for it. Xtensio is a flexible platform where teams create, collaborate, and share documents for your engineering team.
Thus, Xtensio is an effective tool to create a pitch, sales sheets, reports, case studies, proposals and even to improve business communications.
Top features of Xtensio:
- Add images, videos, tables, and other interactive media
- Drag and drop, resize, change backgrounds, color
- Changes are automatically saved and synced across all devices in real-time
- Add notes, create channels for quick collaboration
6. Google Hangouts
Google Hangouts is probably one of the finest collaboration tools out there helping people to communicate despite geographical barriers. It is the perfect place for individuals and teams to collaborate via direct messages and group conversations.
You can also video call clients and share screen. Whether you want to connect with someone instantly, give a demo, hold a team meeting, even share the screen, Google Hangouts makes it easier than ever.
Top features of Google Hangouts:
- More interactive conversations
- Virtual rooms, threaded conversations
- Upload items from Drive, collaborate on Docs, Sheets, or Slides
These are some tools that will help engineers to automate processes, boost productivity, and yield results. We would love to know what you do to be a productive engineer.