Tips For Software Developers To Maintain Focus
Challenges, Code, Complexity, Debugging, Code Reviews, Folder Structure, Routes, APIs, File not found, Packages, Modules, Logic, Code Maintenance, Coding Standards.
Aren’t all the above words familiar to you? If yes, then surely you’re in software development or you’re working as a freelance developer.
Ask a developer, and they will let you know how it feels when their applications run on the server without throwing an error.
Ask a developer, and they will let you know how it feels when a bug gets resolved after a lot of effort and searching for the solution.
It feels great, you smile, you become confident, you take a break and you move to another task.
Now there is a question for you…how did you focus on the logic when you were asked to implement a new feature in your application?
How did you focus on the logic when you were asked to join four tables in your code to display the data dynamically to the user. In short, we just want to ask one question….how did you maintain your focus as a software developer for all the task you were given to implement, for all the problems you were asked to solve, for all the bugs you were asked to resolve.
Programming is a challenging job and it’s not easy to maintain focus when there are so many distractions around you. For any task you’re given, you need to first understand the problem, you need to think about all the case scenarios and you need to pick up the right tools and technologies to implement the solution.
This doesn’t end here, you also need to implement the best possible solution keeping the deadlines in your mind. You also need to think about the long term of your project. All these things are only possible for a great engineer when they are focused on the things they need to finish, and they need to complete.
In your early career, you will be making a lot of mistakes while working on a project. Things will be overwhelming for you, you will be distracted and you will be losing your focus. A focused developer can only be a productive developer. Now the question is…
What should I do to stay focused on my job? What techniques can be used in coding to get faster and to maintain productivity? We have filtered out some tips and techniques for you but before we discuss that let’s discuss the point… Why a programmer need to focus?
Why Focus is Important in Programming?
If we hand over a project to you (let’s suppose it’s a Django project or an application built on NodeJS) where you need to implement some features or you need to resolve some bugs, then how would you do that? What would be your first step?
Surely you will run the application and you will try to understand the flow of the program first. You will have to understand the different modules, folder structure, database queries, how the data is passing from one function to another function, one file to another file, and various other complicated things happening in your project? Don’t you think that all these things need a lot of attention and focus?
You better know that programming doesn’t use the language we use in our daily life to communicate with someone. You need to speak to your computer and you need to give instructions to it in a different language.
Learning your application’s language and giving instructions to it is only possible when you understand which specific part doing what in your program or file. You will have to pay attention to the specific part and you will have to put the effort into it.
When you’re interrupted in programming, you lose focus and when you try to get back you need to check out the things again in your code. Surely this needs much time and attention. So let’s talk about some techniques and tips that you should follow as a developer to stay focused and to perform better in your job. 1. Set a Clear Goal in Your Mind
Many developers in software development do not plan the things for the software they are going to build. For most developers, it’s just a waste of time. They think that it’s good to spend time on development and take the decisions along the way instead of spending time on getting into the details of every single part of the application and thinking about the pieces or chunks they won’t develop.
Planning the task, getting into the details of software is not a wastage of time. It will give you a broader picture of your software and not just you will be able to implement the feature quickly but also you will be able to maintain your software nicely. It will save your time and you won’t have to fix the bug which was created in the early stage of implementation due to unplanned things.
Getting into the details of every single part of your software will help you to make small decisions. Your application is dependent on these small decisions and if you don’t make these decisions then in the future you will face a problem in your application and you will have to find the solution for it. You may also have to ask someone to clarify the problem.
From the above scenarios don’t you think that you just don’t lose your own focus but also you’re disturbing someone else for your problems?
Before you start building an application, make sure that you write down the product specification. This will give you a broader picture of your software and you will be able to know what exactly you need to do in your software, which functionality you need to build in your software, and how these small functions or the modules will be connected with each other.
Divide the big modules or the complicated features into small chunks. Don’t be multitasking to ship your product fastly. The majority of people are not good at that so it’s good to focus on one task at a time.
2. Avoid Distractions as Much as Possible
When you’re working on your task, give your time only to yourself and your work. No social media, no interaction with colleagues, no plans for the upcoming holidays or movies, etc. In short no distraction.
Keep your phone on silent mode, notifications, desktop apps, or any other chats off. Instead of sitting on a desktop and working for five hours with so many distractions, try this hack and you will find that you can finish your work only in three hours (now you can enjoy the rest of the two hours with your favorites apps or in discussion with colleagues).
Set a timeframe and dedicate your full attention to solving a problem. If someone is trying to interrupt you, ask them to wait for a few minutes or hours and finish off your work first. This sounds like a selfish approach but remembers that it takes only a few seconds to get out of the flow but it takes minutes and hours to get into the flow again. In most of the cases, the next person (who interrupted) doesn’t understand this.
3. Organize Code Well
In software development, the most frustrating thing is working on someone else code (most of the time we find it messy). When we look at someone else code, and we find that the files in the folder is unorganized, functions names are not declared properly, there are unnecessary functions that don’t fulfill any purpose, one function is not commented out and the other one has tons of comments, code is not refactored and a lot of issues are there, our mood gets turned off.
In a messy code, we don’t understand the flow or a lot of things happening in the application. Searching for a specific thing is taking a lot of time. We start thinking that firstly we need to organize and clean up the code, and then we will be able to continue our task. Most of the time developers don’t want to work on messy code.
Follow the coding standards to keep your code clean, organized, easy to understand, and easy to maintain. It’s easy to maintain focus in programming when the code is clean and organized. You won’t have to invest too much time in understanding the program structure looking for a specific thing.
4. Organize the Task
In software development, you will be given a lot of tasks. You will be asked to deliver some of them on a priority basis and some tasks would have less priority. Here you need to identify which task is essential to deliver first. Arrange your tasks and set priority for each one of them. You can give preferences to each task depending on the complexity of it and depending on the modules connected with each other.
Now there is a question for you. Suppose you’re given 2-3 challenging tasks, 2-3 relaxing task,s and 2-3 boring task. How would you set the priority?
If you organize your task in a way that finishes off the challenging tasks first and boring tasks later then surely you will lose your focus and energy. Most of the time developers can not concentrate on challenging tasks one after in a line. It’s also difficult to focus on boring tasks one after another continuously. You will be losing your energy and focus if you will follow this approach.
You need to regenerate your energy and you need to recharge yourself for each task you’re given to complete. So how to prioritize the work? You can finish one fun task and then one dull or boring task. You can finish one challenging task and then you can finish one dull task.
Hope you got our point that how you can maintain your focus and maintain your energy on each assigned task. Don’t overload your brain or don’t get burnout setting a wrong prioritize for your tasks. Don’t set the priority for all boring tasks to finish off in the end. You won’t have the desire and energy to complete it. Even if you do that, you will find a lot of issues in your code (duplicate code, improper variable declarations or functions name, missing comments, missing case scenarios, etc).
Understand your responsibilities and your ability. Don’t be too ambitious, you will burn out. Don’t get into too much comfort zone, it’s also harmful. Make a balance and you will become focused and productive.
We have discussed some hacks to maintain your focus in coding but remember that software development is a field where sometimes you will enjoy your work too much and sometimes you will be given a lot of dull tasks in plain sight. Sometimes you will get some tasks where your skills won’t match. In those situations, you will struggle and you will find it’s hard to maintain focus. We have shared some tips and hacks but in certain situations, you will have to find your own way to charge yourself and to maintain your focus.
Search out for the tools that make you productive and focused. Give your best to get into the proper flow state. Have a positive mindset and you will overcome many obstacles.