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Programmer Productivity

Posted on 12/8/10 by Felix Geisendörfer

90% of the code is written by 10% of the programmers.

-- Robert C. Martin

I have decided to go on a journey for greater productivity. This is my first post on the subject, and I intend to write about it every day for at least 30 days now.

Just in case you wonder, this whole series won't be a magic guide of universal wisdom that you just have to inhale in order to become a Super Mutant Ninja Developer. Nor do I plan on an artificial motivational boost that will stop as soon as the series is over.

No, my plan is to go deep and fix certain anti-patterns I have developed over the years. I want to look into time / task management, flow, sleep, music, diet, tools, email, work environment, free time, social life, projects, vacations, meditation, habits, money, etc. and achieve a greater understanding how these things affect my daily output.

A lot of what I write might be very individual, so should you be inclined to read it, please draw your own conclusions. This whole thing is going to be more about the process and analysis, than any particular strategy I might derive from it.

To put some science into the whole thing, my quest for today will be to determine a few good metrics for measuring my productivity and implementing tools that will help collecting them. After that I will set some initial goals for improvement and perform various productivity experiments throughout the coming weeks.


PS: If you are interested in joining me, just link me to any blog posts or leave comments about your own productivity experiences, I will gladly highlight them.


You can skip to the end and add a comment.

Dieter_be said on Aug 12, 2010:

My tip would be to get more out of your showers. Plan them when your mind - not just your body - needs a refresher, ie in the afternoon.


Travis L  said on Aug 12, 2010:


This sounds like a great idea. I think I'll probably do the same thing, but trail you by a week so I can benefit from your experiences. Please do remember to post your results!

Wolfgang  said on Aug 12, 2010:

Also, one could stop blogging and work instead ;-)

Paddy Foran said on Aug 12, 2010:

Awesome! I can't wait to see where this goes.

Alex said on Aug 13, 2010:

i experienced that my productivity raises, when i start with small easy tasks and go to the more difficult ones later the day. i took me always some time to get the motor running, but then i can go into concentrated work, which has very productive results.

Michi said on Aug 13, 2010:

I would recommend to read Flow by Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi, its a scientific book on Flow (by the "inventor" of the whole theory), which was a big insight for me.

The other thing that really helped me getting more efficient at working, is to meditate half an hour in the morning and half an hour in the evening.

Great idea by the way!

Felix Geisendörfer said on Aug 14, 2010:

Dieter_be: Great tip, I have my best ideas under the shower as well. Unfortunately we're working on-site for a client right now, so it's a little harder to pull off than usual : ).

Wolfgang: Being too emerged in work without regular high-level analysis is exactly the problem that can make you unproductive. Blogging is just my "tool" which helps me to go through the process, getting other people's feedback on top is a nice bonus : ).

Michi: My copy should arrive tomorrow, seems like a great read!

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