Web developers are often overworked and pressed for time. It can be difficult to find the perfect work-life balance as a web developer, since much of your work may be done from home or on to the go, and development projects are often intensely demanding. Varying hours and demanding projects can strain the lifestyle of developers in the dynamic field of website and application creation. Luckily, there are several things you can do to improve your lifestyle as a web developer and find harmony in your work. Use these top techniques to lead a healthier developer lifestyle and improve efficiency in your work.
Keep Your Coding Simple
One reason for the added stress that web developers sometime face is overly complicated workloads. You should always complete your development task using the simplest method possible. This ensures you aren’t taking unnecessary actions, which waste time and effort. Using short and simple coding wherever possible will prevent additional bugs and save you major time. Though creating entire frameworks and the repetitive use of abstractions can be tempting for the perfectionist developer, keep in mind your time may be better spent working on getting your project finalized and the next one underway.
When you first begin your next development project, try making an exhaustive list of every task you’ll need to complete up front. This is called the Action Plan technique. Next to each task create a time goal for yourself, and group tasks into lots of 2 hours each. For example, you may need to purchase web hosting, and upload server-side applications before you can get started writing code. On the other hand, you could create the most critical elements of your project such as video players, before making simpler elements like email forms.
This will help you keep on track time-wise and encourage you to take breaks when appropriate. Wherever possible, complete the most important tasks first so that if you run short on time you can reserve any shortcuts for less important areas.
One technique to improve your overall lifestyle as a web developer is to create stronger boundaries between work and personal life. This can be hard for developers who remote into work or work from home. Many development environments encourage overtime or weekend stays, especially for salaried employees.
Ask potential employers how many hours per week they will expect from you before agreeing to sign on, even if the listing says it’s a standard full-time job. Some company cultures, particularly in the start-up and web development sectors encourage unreasonably long work weeks. Decide what you’re comfortable with upfront, and barring any changes in your situation, don’t budge on your defined boundaries.
Increase Your Work Discipline
Many work hours could be eliminated by making your development more efficient. Frequent breaks and trips to the refreshments bar can add up throughout the workday. You should sit at your desk determined to work distraction-free so you can go home on time each day. Consider turning off notifications for the social apps on your phone, and leaving Facebook and Twitter for after work hours. This is often most challenging in relaxed offices or for work at home developers.
If you’re workplace is relatively lax you may need to have more self-discipline than others. One great technique for training yourself to have more discipline is to use productivity software. Applications in this category can do everything from sound alarms to keep you on schedule, to help you create lists and brainstorm projects. There is even software available to block social media and time-wasting apps from your phone during your selected work hours.
Perhaps the best technique for improving your life as a web developer is to use automation software wherever possible. This software includes IDEs that check for bugs and test your code and scripts that gather data for you with a single click.
Delegating redundant and boring tasks to automation software will save you hours of effort and make your life easier. Tools like BuildBot can schedule and execute many of the tasks in your development workload, while applications such as Selenium can replicate your scripts to multiple environments. Check to see what tools and scripts your web hosting offers, as many hosts have development and backup tools available for customers. Use automation software wherever you can so you can focus on the important tasks and avoid having to perform frequently repeated tasks manually.
Through better time management skills and better work-life balance policies you can improve your lifestyle as a web developer by a large amount. Taking a relaxed approach to non-critical tasks and creating boundaries will keep your job from encroaching on your personal life. Making use of automation software and open-source libraries, and eliminating redundant and unnecessary work will shorten your workload and help you make the most of your time behind the keyboard.