Most often then not you have a lot of tasks to do and you have to manage them in order and determine when to work on each task. So knowing how to manage your time is critical to your individual success and the success of your team.
Managing your time means you should be able to prioritize your tasks. It is very tempting to work on exciting tasks first and ignore the more important but less interesting ones.
For your tasks, you need time to plan, research if solutions are not in place, and then actually implement your solutions. All these things take time. Managing your time efficiently allows you to focus on what’s most important and get tasks done more efficiently.
We all have seen instances where developers get carried away in their rabbit hole of tech, only to discover too near to the deadline that the important bits of the project have been forgotten.
Techniques like the Pomodoro technique, where you work for a set period of time on one task, take a break, then go back to it, or Kanban, where you visualize your tasks, are great ways to build a routine or learn how to focus your attention if you’re prone to multitasking.
While sometimes the need arises for multitasking, and you may feel like you get a lot of things done but studies have shown that it’s bad for productivity.
Not giving something your full attention means that tasks take longer to complete and you’re more likely to make errors.
If you often multitask, prioritize your to-do list then use one of the techniques mentioned above to help you focus. You’ll be surprised how much faster you get things done when they have your full attention!
Time management also means keeping procrastination in check. As a software developer, you can practically get away with reading memes and watching cat videos for days on end. Procrastination causes panic near deadlines. Panic causes distress and bad quality of work.
Another aspect of time management is punctuality. Because meetings in tech are seldom life and death meetings, some developers make it a habit of coming in late to meetings. Coming in late to meetings on a regular basis has the following negative consequences:
Time management also means knowing when NOT to work. It is OK to stay back late once in a while to meet important deadlines. But pulling all-nighters on a regular basis will have detrimental effects on our health and social life.
We have to know when to log off and head home for the day. When we are not at work, for example on weekends or on vacations, we have to have the discipline of staying away from work. This means no email reading or coding that “one more line”.
In our bubble, it is too easy to feel peer pressured into burning the midnight oil or feeling guilty that we are not checking emails on vacation. We have to remind ourselves that taking time off actually improves our productivity, not reduce it.