These 8 Behaviors are Killing Your Productivity as a Web Developer

Maintaining motivation is tough as a web developer. Follow these 8 rich tips to stop killing your productivity as a web developer.

As a web developer, at times it can feel hard to stay productive. Read on for our top tips to hit productivity-draining behaviors on the head.

Social Networking Sites

We all know that Facebook, Twitter and the like can decrease productivity while sitting behind your screen, due to their addictive nature. We all want to keep up with friends and colleagues, and sometimes scrolling down your news feed can provide a thoughtless break to a perhaps monotonous work routine. It's all too easy to fire up your Facebook app and find yourself mindlessly watching 3 minute videos of adorable kittens or street fist fights.

Unfortunately, frequent browsing of your favourite social networks during work hours can act as a serious drain on your productivity. This behaviour feeds procrastination, slows work progress, and ultimately will hinder your project turnaround times. The best way of combating this bad habit is to recognise the importance of dedicated working hours. Not only will sticking to work during dedicated hours increase productivity, but it'll also ensure your work is top quality; as you'll be devoting all your attention to it.

If you find work activities boring or lacklustre at times, try listening to a playlist of your favourite music while you work.

Inspiration Sites

Websites like Behance and Dribbble can serve as great resources of inspiration for web designers and developers in every industry. These inspiration sites curate graphic design and web development-related projects from the largest communities of creatives in the world, among which are some of the best in the industry.

Given the sheer size of these networks, and the numerous concepts submitted every hour, it's easy to find yourself spending hours upon hours flicking through pages and leaving comments on a variety of works. Sadly, though, developers rarely have enough free time during the work day to devote more than a short while to browsing such sites. Your best bet would be to devote 15 or 20 minutes daily to checking out others' work in search of inspiration. Better yet, only spend your valuable time checking inspiration sites when you are actually in need of inspiration.

It's not difficult to become immersed in beautiful artwork and web dev concepts, but your own projects require your attention too!

Forums

Stack exchange, Reddit, and other niche web development forums can claim your time quicker than you realise. If you're a forum lurker, you can find yourself trapped by excessive forum browsing quicker than you realise. You'll barely notice before you've spent the best part of an hour aimlessly browsing questions and answers on popular web development forums.

Of course, it's acceptable to visit these sites once in a while, perhaps when you require guidance on a particular question. But committing precious time to forums while your work awaits you is a recipe for disaster. With thousands of topics to read about, it's vital to practise discipline while taking to the online forums.

A good tip would be to limit yourself to browsing forums during dedicated work time, with the exception of seeking relevant guidance, and save the rest of your forum browsing for after-work hours.

Website Monitoring

If you manage a website of your own (or your clients'), analytics monitoring is certainly necessary. What's important, though, is not to become caught up in excessive checking of analytics. The best way to combat this is by setting aside a specified time of day to monitor analytics and statistical data. It's best to save these activities until the end of the work day, perhaps in the last 30 minutes, to limit yourself to how much analysing you do.

Aimless Internet Browsing

Blogs, video websites, and trivia articles can suck time away from your schedule. As a developer, the web is always a click away, but you'll need to practise self-restraint so you aren't carried away with trivial browsing that hinders productivity.

One neat trick is to set up a localhost environment on your Windows, Mac, or Linux machine, and commit to turning off Wi-Fi while you work.

A local development environment will allow you to build websites while disconnected from the Internet, a welcome feature to those who struggle to stay focused. Another benefit is that your local sites will load exponentially faster than over the web, which is great if you are still in the development phase - constantly updating, tweaking, and changing code or design. Not to mention that you’ll also be sparing bandwidth costs that can be the result of constant page refreshing while building the website.


Lack of Planning

Whether or not you’re working on multiple projects at once, it’s vital to maintain a list of tasks, to-dos and goals. If you’re failing to keep a list of outstanding tasks, it’s sure that you’ll find yourself wandering and procrastinating, over and over again. The days are short, and easy to waste.

Keep a list of daily to-dos, which are formulated the night before, and reviewed each morning. Not only will this motivate you, it’ll also ensure that you are making progress. Be sure to tick tasks off your list as you complete them, for the sake of organisation and consistency. A great tool for keeping multiple lists of tasks and projects is Asana, a project management tool for groups and individuals.

It can also help to set targets for the week and measure your progress at the end. Don’t forget to reward yourself — have some fun!

Lack of Progress Tracking

Without monitoring the progress of your projects, it’s hard to see where advances have been made. It’s always a good idea to track your progress, perhaps on a weekly or monthly basis, so you have an overall perspective.

This helps with motivation and encourages faster turnaround on a project, as a lot of us are fuelled by progression. The faster tasks are completed, the quicker you’ll reach the end goal, and the happier you and your clients will be.

If you have difficulty monitoring your personal progress, or otherwise work in a larger team, consider investing in an app that assists you with this.

Lack of Motivation

With the proper motivation, your smile will surely resemble something like this:

Work doesn’t get done when you aren’t in the mood — plain and simple. Unfortunately, you can’t really settle for that. Here are 5 quick ways to boost motivation for work:

  • Set multiple small goals per day, and reward yourself for completing them.
  • Take frequent breaks to avoid fatigue and maintain motivation. Experts say that a 5 minute break per hour behind a screen is most effective.
  • Keep your energy levels up by consuming adequate, nutritious foods and beverages.
  • Maintain a good sleep schedule and get a decent amount of sleep each night. Nobody enjoys working while sleep deprived.
  • Mix up your surroundings — your motivation is bound to suffer if you’re sitting behind the same desk in the same corner of the room week after week.

Now get back to work!