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5 tips for time management in software development

Cathy Reisenwitz

by Cathy Reisenwitz on February 11, 2021

time management in software development

Time management in software development isn’t easy. Every Software Developer faces a never-ending list of demands and a finite amount of time in which to get everything done. Here are five tips to improve time management for developers.

1. Up your time management game through training

Software development success depends on getting more done in any one period of time.

In their paper on time management, Brad Aeon and Herman Aguinis pointed out that some people are naturally better at time management than others. However, they also found that time management skills can be learned. Specifically, they observed that people trained in time management felt less stressed and more in control of their time than their peers who weren’t trained.

At the same time, productivity thought leader Maura Thomas argued in Harvard Business Review that “traditional” time management courses aren’t suited for today’s worker. She recommends time management trainings incorporate the following three components:

  1. Clarity around role priorities rather than specific task priorities

  2. Attention management skills rather than “time management” skills

  3. A comprehensive workflow management system

Consider spending some of your continuing education training budget on a high-quality time management course. If budgets are tight, reading time management advice can help. Aeon and Aguinis found a study showing reading a time management manual had a positive impact on one’s time management.

2. Learn some basic software project management

While you might work with a project manager, understanding project management basics will make you better at managing your time as a Software Developer.

It’s easy to see how aspects of project management can help projects go more smoothly and help reduce total project time. Learning how to get better at scoping projects, breaking projects into milestones, and communicating progress and blockers can save you time and energy.

Effective Software Engineers quickly figure out what their most important tasks are and measure their time spent on each project and task.

3. Use time tracking apps

The first step to effective time management is accurate time measurement. Time tracking software like Focus Keeper, RescueTime, and Smarter Time can automate this step. These apps record how much time you spend on various tasks, projects, and websites on your desktop, phone, and tablet. They’ll tell you how much time you’re spending on social media, for instance.

These apps, along with a high-quality task manager, will give you real-time analytics to help you stay focused and use your time efficiently. Encourage your whole development team to adopt these tools so you all know where your time is going and how you can optimize your time for more productivity.

4. Time block your calendar

One of the best ways to focus on the task at hand without interruption is to schedule blocks of time for heads-down work on your calendar.

To get started time blocking your calendar:

  1. Decide what your priorities are

  2. Estimate the amount of time each task will take to complete

  3. Schedule these tasks on your calendar like any other appointment.

Instead of mindlessly going from one task to the next, you can look at your calendar to see what you should be working on and when.

5. Use Clockwise

One last way to boost your time management is to get your whole software development team running on Clockwise. With Clockwise, members of the team can set their working hours, meeting hours, OOO, and No Meeting Days. Clockwise will respect those settings while automatically optimizing your meetings to open up blocks of Focus Time for better productivity and software developer time management.

Going forward

Hopefully these time management tips will help you and your software development team improve your time management significantly. Improve your time management in software development by investing in time management training, upping your project management skills, adopting a time tracking system, time blocking your calendar, and using Clockwise.

Cathy Reisenwitz

Cathy Reisenwitz

Cathy Reisenwitz is Head of Content at Clockwise where she oversees the Clockwise Blog and The Minutes Newsletter. She has covered business software for six years and has been published in Newsweek, Forbes, the Daily Beast, VICE Motherboard, Reason magazine, Talking Points Memo and other publications.

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