My Takes on Being Productive

In the last few months, I’ve been struggling to work more productively. No matter what work I do, I always feel that I’m not focused enough to do and finish it. When I’m doing software engineering works (e.g. writing codes, writing test, testing) I often feel a severe boredom in doing the tedious tasks. I don’t know. When I started doing programming, I was attracted to it and I could spend hours writing codes and tinkering whatever problems I found along the way. But lately, the thought of doing programming alone could destroy my mood. It’s like my passion into doing programming has been taken out of me.

Yes, that’s the extreme case. But I’m also struggling to do other tasks, especially my task as a student (e.g.: doing assignments, writing papers, writing reports, studying). I always wait until the last hours to do my task, then rushed to finish it, and in the end I regret that I didn’t start doing it earlier so that I have a better result. The only upside of this is, that I’m proud of being able to do so much work in a little time, although imperfect.

I also tried several solutions to cope with this disease of unproductivity, such as:

  1. Setting up Pomodoro timer. A Pomodoro timer lets you divide your time into chunks of 25 minutes, with 5 minutes of break in between. It helps me to focus and adding pressure on doing the task. This technique works better when you are not alone, so that someone can punish you when you are not following the timer.
  2. Trying different places to work. I tried working at several coffee shops lately. Although I have a super fast internet connection at home, I could hardly focus to work, the mood of home is to rest and have friendly conversations with my housemate. A different working environment could temporarily boost my mood, and most of the time, helps me to focus on finishing my work.
  3. Eliminate distractions. I used to have an app to block specific distractions on my laptop. In the middle of doing my work, there’s always an urge to open a new tab, and open Facebook/Twitter/LinkedIn/etc, and A LOT OF TIMES it happened unconsciously. By using this technique, theoretically I should be able to focus on my work without getting distracted. But the truth is, this method rarely works for me. In the end, I always open another website to distract myself, or even uninstalling the freaking app for good…

Sometimes I wonder how the hell I could go this far in my life, in my study, and in my career when I could hardly focus an hour to do the work I am supposed to do. But I’m learning, and always wanting to improve. Let me know if you have any technique to make you productive.