How I Boost My Productivity as a Programmer

Photo of Maks Akymenko

Maks Akymenko

Aug 9, 2019 • 6 min read
Hello, everyone!

My profession requires me to develop myself, boost my skills, and improve my knowledge every day.

But, honestly, this article is not only about the profession, but also about your time management, consumption of information, and becoming a better version of yourself every day.

Here is a list of productivity tips and habits that help me be more productive both personally and at work.

Keep balance

There always should be a middle ground in your productivity, as everywhere. It's important to maintain your eagerness to learn and, at the same time, prevent yourself from burning out.

To do it, remember to get enough rest and maintain a balance between your professional and personal life.

A fresh mind always remembers better.

This habit was very important to me. When I started learning to program, without absolutely any knowledge of it at all, I was spending almost 10 hours a day practicing and studying. Of course, I was focused on the goal of finding my first job, although I made a rule for myself: once a week, I would forget programming and do whatever I want that is not related to coding.

It helped me avoid burnout as well as continue learning at that pace during the next couple of months and get my first job in IT.

I now work full time as a frontend developer, but I have continued to practice that habit. Usually, for the whole weekend, I switch, however during the week I usually spend an extra hour or two studying and practicing new things.

Watch YouTube and listen to audiobooks on double (2x) speed

It requires some time to get used to, but later on, it will save you plenty of time. Especially when it comes to twenty-hour-long audiobooks, YouTube tutorials, or courses that take forty hours to complete. The ones you always wanted to watch but didn't have time.

Also, the constant practice of this technique will make you a fast learner. Start from 1.5x and keep increasing it. Once you are there, you will never want to go back.

That was also the way I got used to it. I started with 1.5x speed watching Udemy and Wes Bos courses and, step-by-step, moved to 1.75x and then ended up at 2x. Now I check every video player for that speed up button or use the Chrome extension for it.

Practice what you've just learned

The theory is good as you might learn a lot, but practice makes your knowledge a reusable skill.

It's pretty obvious: practicing a lot will make you better, whether we’re talking about driving a car, playing guitar, or programming.

So right after you learn a new thing — build a small app using it. When you study a new algorithm — solve some tasks implementing it or even find some way to implement it in your day-to-day life.

When learning JavaScript, I wanted to give it a try in a real-world situation, so I wrote a small script that declined invitations on LinkedIn from IT recruiters that didn't contain a message. That was interesting, fun and, what's most important, helpful. I still remember the script now.

Filter content in social networks and YouTube

There is so much noise around us that we have to keep it out if we want to keep our heads from exploding because of it. That's where filtering comes in.

Hide everything that doesn't inspire you and keep only useful and interesting topics in your feeds. This will allow you to concentrate and focus on what you are interested in.

From a programmer's point of view, it's great because you'll be able to focus on information that is useful for you.

For instance, I used to be subscribed to almost 50 channels on YouTube. Now I only subscribe to about 15, which are only about topics I'm interested in, whether it’s coding tutorials, traveling or technology channels.

Be it Youtube or any social network, they have a lot of junk content, so filtering helps me find new channels. I've got three rules for them:

  1. Every video must be well-shot with good composition, framing etc.
  2. The speaker or author must be a professional in their industry.
  3. Whatever the channel is about — I should learn something from it.

Listen to an audiobook/podcast while doing anything else

We all know why reading is useful, but in some situations it's more convenient to listen. For instance, when you are walking somewhere, standing in a shaking tram/bus, cooking, or even when working out. That is when an audiobook/podcast on your mobile phone becomes handy.

Here come all the advantages of reading books — doing two things at a time.

Once I caught myself thinking that I stopped reading books because of the lack of time. Honestly, I like reading, so I needed to figure out a way to continue. That's when I tried audiobooks for the first time and, from that moment on, most of the books I put in my collection are audio ones. When I started practicing double speed there as well, I realized that I listened faster than I read.

So two habits connected and strengthened each other to help me spend my time more efficiently and, simultaneously, learn and discover new things.


I hope these productivity tips will help you become more efficient, learn faster, grow as a professional and, of course, boost your productivity!

It might not work the same way for you. What works for one, doesn't work for all, however, I suggest you give it a try!

Thanks for reading.


Photo of Maks Akymenko

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Maks Akymenko

Frontend developer
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