The life of a Drupal developer… it can be a drag. After all, we sit at our chairs for hours on end, sipping on tea or Coke, and staring blankly at the screen. We do what we can to keep ourselves awake. We occasionally divert our eyes to relieve the strain or get up and walk around to ease the tension in our back.
But, is it really that bad?
The life of a Drupal developer is also very busy. After all, the inbox is overflowing with emails asking about a progress update and there are deadlines you need to meet by week’s end. What are you to do? It seems like a never-ending cycle of work.
When you do finally start working, you may feel like you’re being productive; but, the reality is… your workload is piling up. Do you really need to burn the midnight oil… just to catch up? As a Drupal developer, you have a few things to learn.
Are you ready to learn?
What Is The Issue With Productivity Science
Have you ever noticed the amount of productivity studies circulating the Internet? If you sit down to read through the various studies, it’s not going to take you long to realize how many nitwits are actually writing these studies. Many people just sit at their computers, making Facebook updates, playing Candy Crush and just surfing the ‘Net.
It’s been documented that what you read in the majority of scientific studies needs to be taken with a grain of salt. However, you need to ask yourself if it’s possible to have a business that increases productivity. When it comes to productivity studies, there is an array of invaluable information that everyone can learn from.
After all, there is work that must be done and you need to complete. You have clients that depend on you to ensure their website is up and going… all the time. And, as much as you love to build websites or modules, you still have interests outside the Drupal environment.
In order to be more productive, you need to know what to put your attention on if you are to get more things done for the day.
What should you realize if you’re going to better your productivity levels? Well, you need to realize that there isn’t a perfect answer. After all, what works for one person may not work for someone else.
Find A Balance In The Business
When it comes to productivity, it doesn’t mean you need to cram more coding hours in your day. It means you need to do more coding in the same amount of time or in less time. When your projects begin piling up or when you have clients constantly contacting you about those pesky little deadlines. It’s so easy to add screen time to compensate for it all.
Here’s what you need to understand: the more time behind the computer you spend, the less productive you actually become.
Therefore, take some time away from your career life – away from all the Drupal setup – and throw yourself into your life. You need to eat right, exercise and spend time with your family and friends in order to boost your productivity level. Without that balance, your work is going to suffer… in time. And, all that productiveness you’ve been aiming for is going to get thrown out the window.
It’s important you lay out the different parts of your life so you know what part is most important to you. After you’ve done this, decide the amount of time you should dedicate to it. Remember, there are only 24 hours in a day. Thus, you need to figure out how much time to give each one.
- Time w/ Family
- Time w/ Friends
So, if you must spend more time on client projects, you must take away time from other areas. Make sure you choose which one is less important to give your “work” time to.
What’s Your Work Environment Like?
Did you know that your work environment can have a huge effect on your productivity level? Look at things around you. How organized is your desk? Is it cleaned off? Does the desk look like a tornado went through it?
It’s worthwhile to have a physical and digital clean desk. The less distraction you have, the more creative your mind can be.
Set Up Intervals To Maintain Structure
Okay, so you’re looking at intervals as something only athletes do, right? Well, when it comes to Drupal development, intervals are a thing too. You see, people are often told that sitting down for seven to nine hours a day, with a couple of breaks in between, is the way to be productive. If you’re lucky, you can have a little energy to exercise, play with the kids or have a talk with your significant other.
What if you threw interval training in your Drupal development business? Your schedule could look a little like this:
- 8 a.m. – Wake up
- 8:15 a.m. – Answer emails, work on projects for clients
- 10:30 a.m. – Breakfast
- 10:45 a.m. – Go to the gym
- 12:30 a.m. – Work on client projects
- 4 p.m. – Answer emails
- 4:30 p.m. – Lunch
- 3 p.m. – Social media and marketing
- 3:30 p.m. – Work on client projects
- 4 p.m. - Take a 20 minute walk
- 4:30 p.m. – Work on home projects
- 5 p.m. – Spend time with family, social gathering and dinner
- 9 p.m. – Plan the next day out
- 9:45 pm. – Relax
- 11 p.m. – Go to bed
Yeah, it seems like a pretty segmented day and, by design, it really is. You’ll need to be flexible and give it some personality. What you’ll notice is that the shorter the timeframe, the more intense the energy bursts are going to be.
Better Prioritization and Focus
If you’re going to boost your productivity level, you must effectively prioritize your day. Think of it this way: 20% of what you do during your day will be responsible for 80% of your household income. Be sure to prioritize that 20%, scheduling the important tasks first thing in the morning.
When you sit in front of a computer screen all the time, you’re hit with distractions from every angle – family, friends, business associates, etc. And, when you get sidetracked by the distractions, you may find it difficult to get back on track. There are going to be times when these distractions cannot be accepted. Your first and second work intervals must be when you are 100% engrossed in the job. This means nothing else must be scheduled during this time period. Your focus on these work times should only be WORK.
Make Plans To Stay Productive
Have you gone through a day without a plan? Many people have, and these kinds of days are never very productive. As you get to your desk, look over your list of 20 tasks that you haven’t prioritized. Do you suddenly feel overwhelmed? Do you feel like you don’t know where to go? You may find yourself an hour into work with nothing to show for it.
The last thing you should do every day is plan out the next day’s work, making sure you label what’s important and what’s not as important. Write these tasks down or type them out.
How To Get Started
The surefire way you’ll get the productive working environment you are after is to get started with the tasks you’re faced with. Of course, it’s the most obvious thing to do; but, you may suddenly realize that you’ve gone through the day and didn’t do a single thing that would be considered productive.
A huge barrier in productivity is failing to get right into the task. If you handle an array of client projects, it’ll be easier to avoid the task you need to be working on. Planning will certainly solve that issue. When you notice you’re having issues with the tasks at hand, ask yourself if you had a prioritized list. Create this all-important list the night before.
Be Open To The Possibility Of Experimentation
The above concepts are important; but, that doesn’t mean they’re all going to work for you. Most will however, make a huge difference. The steps you need to take are fairly easy to implement:
- Create a systematized, clean work environment
- Lay out the things in your life
- Prioritize and put attention on tasks and areas considered important
- Use intervals to arrange your day
- Make plans ahead of time
- Get moving
Lastly, you need to be creative. This means you need to experiment with your schedule, and find what does and does not work for you. You will find that your productivity level is going to improve drastically!
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