Software development is an exciting field with a lot of opportunities, but with opportunity comes pressure. Whether it’s the pressure to perform creatively, quickly, or both, it’s there, from crunch to deadlines to expectations for the next big pitch. Managing your workflow and staying sane in this environment comes down to figuring out where you can save yourself time in your workflow, what can wait, and how to tell when a new item needs a higher priority level than you were initially told. Those soft skills are hard to learn from a book, which is why there seems to be a steep learning curve to professionalization. Luckily, there are a few things you can do to help get yourself organized, so you can speed up your process and deliver projects without giving up your valuable personal time.
1. Master Software Shortcuts
You can’t just count on shortcuts to let you skip the boring parts of life, but you can use them to speed up your process when navigating software. This tip is great if you’re looking for ways to reduce your keystrokes, saving you fatigue and speeding up your process when you need to activate features or insert commands quickly because they save you a shift to the mouse and time navigating menus. If you want to quickly fire off features and adjust your code’s formatting, you’ll need to bookmark a resource that helps you learn atom keyboard shortcuts. This tip isn’t just for programmers, either. Every creative who uses a digital environment to make things can benefit from learning the right shortcuts.
2. Make Custom Macros
Are there certain strings you need to type repeatedly and without variation? It’s a common issue for writers to have certain long words or even technical phrases they need to rely on in projects, and a similar phenomenon happens with programmers working in languages that require common but sometimes lengthy code sequences to accomplish basic tasks. You can speed up your process by making macros to insert those strings for you, allowing you to produce more in less time. Of course, building those macros requires a time commitment on its own if you’re serious. Still, the process can be worthwhile. To use an example that’s common for writers, you can reduce a multi-word title to a couple of keystrokes. Imagine what it can do for your most common command structures.
3. Automate Where Possible
If built-in shortcuts and custom macros aren’t trimming enough time off your crunch, consider what you don’t have to do for yourself. Look for software that can cruise your code to identify errors, pick out spots where efficiencies can be created, and to do other basic tasks that might otherwise take you a while. You should also look for places outside of your coding time where automation might be able to trim fat from your administrative tasks because anything you can do to shorten up the paperwork that goes with project development and delivery will help. From digitizing your schedule to setting up regular alerts that keep you on top of basic maintenance for your machines, your life will get a lot easier once you’re letting the machines handle as much of your grunt work as possible.
Take Control Over Your Project Time
One of the great parts of working in this field is the independent project time because it lets you find your own process as long as the result is delivered in working order and on time. That means you can reclaim your time for other projects, rest, or even personal pursuits if you know how to streamline your code creation. Get the extra labor out of your workflow and see how much more space you have for the big-picture brainstorming that makes this job great.