CodeStock 2012 Review: Michael Eaton( @mjeaton ) - 3 Simple Things for Increased Productivity

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Published on Thu, 28 Jun 2012 00:59:00 -0700 Indexed on 2014/06/08 21:37 UTC
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3 Simple Things for Increased Productivity
Speaker: Michael Eaton
Twitter: @mjeaton

This was the first time I had seen Michael Eaton speak but have hear a lot of really good things about his speaking abilities. Needless to say I was really looking forward to his session. He basically addressed the topic of distractions and how they can decrease or increase your productivity as a developer. He makes the case that in order to become more productive you must block/limit all distractions. For example, he covered his top distractions as a developer.

Top Distractions

  • Social Media(Twitter, Reddit, Facebook)
  • Wiki sites
  • Phone
  • Email
  • Video Games
  • Coworkers, Friends, Family

Michael stated that he uses various types of music to help him block out these distractions in order for him to get into his coding zone. While he states that music works for him, he also notes that he knows of others that cannot really work with music. I have to say I am in the latter group because I require a quiet environment in order to work. A few session attendees also recommended listening to really loud white noise or music in another language other than your own. This allows for less focus to be placed on words being sung compared to the rhythmic beats being played. I have to say that I have not tried these suggestions yet but will in the near future.

However, distractions can be very beneficial to productivity in that they give your mind a chance to relax and not think about the issues at hand. He spoke highly of taking vacations, and setting boundaries at work so that develops prevent the problem of burnout.

One way he suggested that developer’s combat distractions is to use the Pomodoro technique. In his example he selects one task to do for 20 minutes and he can only do that task during that time. He ignores all other distractions until this task or time limit is complete. After it is completed he allows himself to relax and distract himself for another 5- 10 minutes before his next Pomodoro. This allows him to stay completely focused on a task and when the time is up he can then focus on other things.

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