Marcin Świerczyński's blog

Productivity tips for programmers

posted 27 Mar 2023 in Books and VideosProgramming

I’ve recently started reading The Productive Programmer book. In a few first chapters, I’ve found some interesting tips for programmers. Some of them can be useful for non-programmers too.

Prefer typing than using mouse

It is quite obvious that moving hands from keyboard to mouse consumes a lot of time. How to minimize this effort?

  • Use launchers. That applications can be started by a simple keystroke. They display an input where you can enter a name of a program or document. I use Gnome-Do on my Ubuntu and it behaves extremely well. On a Windows platform you can use Launchy or Enso as well.

  • A lot of typing can be time-consuming too. Why not to simplify the process with some automation tool? For example: to start my development server in Django application, I’ve to change my directory (cd ~/django/project/webapp) and than activate the virtual environment with necessary requirements (source ~/virtual_envs/project/bin/activate). With automation tool like Autokey (Linux) or AutoHotkey (Windows) I was able to create an abbreviation like aproject to get the same result.

Clean up your desktop

How much time do you spend in your everyday work to switch through all the windows on your desktop? Have you ever look for an appropriate terminal window because you had so much of them? I had so I really appreciate the following tips.

  • Use virtual desktops. Currently, I use three of them: Main for my IDE, Manage for database and development server terminals and Docs for all documents like APIs or framework documentation. No more switching between windows, you’ve got all of them together.

  • It is important not to spend a time on searching a relevant windows. It’s especially hard to manage terminal windows because they are very similar and you’ve to read their content sequentially before you get the correct one. One way to beat that problem is to use different sets of colors for every terminal window. For example, I use green font and black background in a terminal with my development server and light yellow background in a terminal with my database client. Moreover, I try to put that windows in the same position every time I use them. Using this tips together makes finding the correct window a lot easier.

I’m curious about your programmers productivity tips. Please, share them in comments.

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