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What helps you be productive? (with everything)


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#1 Cornstalks   Crossbones+   -  Reputation: 6995

Posted 13 October 2012 - 09:20 PM

I'm a CS student at a university and work part time as a software developer/intern, and I've got a decent social life. But lately I've been really, really, really good at being unproductive. Like, scary good. I used to go to the gym regularly, but I've gotten lazy and sleep in instead. I've got a lot of personal projects (not school or work) I'd like to work on, but I feel guilty about not doing my homework or not putting in as many hours at work (or not doing chores or whatever else needs to be done), so I'll typically just sit on the computer in no-man's land going GameDev->StackOverflow->Facebook->Check Email->(repeat). That's not a good choice though, because them I'm not doing personal projects or work/school projects.

So what helps you be productive? Not just when programming, because once I sit down to seriously program, I'm productive. But before that. I need to get back to the gym, get more serious about doing my homework early (instead of the last second), just knock-off things on my miscellaneous/chore list, get more done so I can go to work more, etc. What helps you get things done and stay on top of things?
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#2 TheChubu   Crossbones+   -  Reputation: 4420

Posted 13 October 2012 - 09:40 PM

Coffee. Like a lot of coffee.

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#3 azonicrider   Members   -  Reputation: 421

Posted 13 October 2012 - 10:05 PM

Getting as much sleep as your body requires. For me, its about 10 hours.

And listening to good music. Lots of Tiesto.

Easiest way to make games, I love LÖVE && My dev blog/project

 

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#4 joew   Crossbones+   -  Reputation: 3667

Posted 13 October 2012 - 10:11 PM

Monster

#5 Hodgman   Moderators   -  Reputation: 30432

Posted 13 October 2012 - 11:11 PM

I'll typically just sit on the computer in no-man's land going GameDev->StackOverflow->Facebook->Check Email->(repeat)

I've experienced this too, and, I'm no shrink, but I think it's some kind of learned behaviour seeking instant gratification. A learned 'rut'.
I'd treat it like any harmful addiction, either by going cold turkey or using mindfulness.
You can edit your HOSTS file to make those websites disappear to force withdrawal on yourself Posted Image or a bit less extreme, recognise this loop as some kind of leech that's using up all your productive energies with little output, be mindful of it's presence at all times, and train yourself to feed it less.

When you get to the [repeat] part, force yourself to go for a walk or something. Make a list of things you want to get done, and allow yourself to be unproductive between tasks. When you sit down at the computer, do it with a plan for what you want to do, and don't go straight into the loop. See how long you can do something else before you subconsciously alt-tab into the browser and load up those sites. Keep tabs on this and have a little internal celebration whenever you can cross off a task having given in to distractions less than last time.

So what helps you be productive? Not just when programming, because once I sit down to seriously program, I'm productive. But before that.

I use coffee as a little delimitating ritual to get into gear. I'll waste a bit of time on forums/email/etc, then figure out what I should be doing, then go make a coffee and put some music on as a marker for 'productive time now', and then drink it while I work. Often I'll realize an hour later that I only drank half my coffee because I was too busy working.

#6 Bacterius   Crossbones+   -  Reputation: 8945

Posted 13 October 2012 - 11:39 PM

I'll typically just sit on the computer in no-man's land going GameDev->StackOverflow->Facebook->Check Email->(repeat)

Haha, yeah, I know that. You really have to pull yourself out of that cycle forcefully, usually to break it I go make myself some noodles, then eat them while watching some south park/other and then I'm all fueled up to work!

The slowsort algorithm is a perfect illustration of the multiply and surrender paradigm, which is perhaps the single most important paradigm in the development of reluctant algorithms. The basic multiply and surrender strategy consists in replacing the problem at hand by two or more subproblems, each slightly simpler than the original, and continue multiplying subproblems and subsubproblems recursively in this fashion as long as possible. At some point the subproblems will all become so simple that their solution can no longer be postponed, and we will have to surrender. Experience shows that, in most cases, by the time this point is reached the total work will be substantially higher than what could have been wasted by a more direct approach.

 

- Pessimal Algorithms and Simplexity Analysis


#7 slicer4ever   Crossbones+   -  Reputation: 3906

Posted 14 October 2012 - 03:40 AM

GameDev->StackOverflow->Facebook->Check Email->(repeat).


damn, replace stackoverflow with exophase, and you pretty much have my loop.

i tend to find that it's pretty common for me to run the loop when coding some of the more boring tasks, or especially when i don't know exactly how i want to tackle a problem, so i keep going through the sites, then maybe write a line, repeat, until i eventually i have something.

the only solution i have is.....get to a less boring part of programming, or something i have an exact plan of attack for completing.

Edited by slicer4ever, 14 October 2012 - 03:41 AM.

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#8 szecs   Members   -  Reputation: 2149

Posted 14 October 2012 - 08:26 AM

Do you really need to be that productive? Can't you just chill? Are you sure you'd be happier if you squeezed the last second out of a day for ""meaningful"" activity?
Maybe I'm misunderstanding but IMHO doing that many stuff effectively will burn you out in no time.

#9 mikeman   Members   -  Reputation: 2232

Posted 14 October 2012 - 09:01 AM

so I'll typically just sit on the computer in no-man's land going GameDev->StackOverflow->Facebook->Check Email->(repeat).


God yes. This is what I always do and I hate it. In all seriousness, even playing a game instead of this nonsense would be healthier.(a walk outside would be ideal though, of course :) ).

#10 JTippetts   Moderators   -  Reputation: 8508

Posted 14 October 2012 - 11:02 AM

You could try Randall Munroe's (of XKCD fame) method: Every time you finish a task, power down your computer. Want to start a new task, even if it's just checking your email or hitting up Reddit? Reboot that sucker. After awhile, I understand, the "instant gratification" part of your brain is removed from the equation, because your brain instinctively knows there won't be any instant gratification. Once that lizard-brain sonofabitch is out of the picture, the theory is that it's a lot easier to stay on task.

Edited by JTippetts, 14 October 2012 - 11:05 AM.


#11 Madhed   Crossbones+   -  Reputation: 2994

Posted 14 October 2012 - 11:31 AM

I'll typically just sit on the computer in no-man's land going GameDev->StackOverflow->Facebook->Check Email->(repeat).


Oh yeah, know that too well. Replace StackOverflow with Reddit though...

I started using trello as my todo list and it helped somewhat. Be sure to include every task that may be lurking in the dark corners of your brain.
Procrastination can be a sign of mental stress. Are you otherwise happy? I want to apologize if that question is too personal.

#12 recompile   Members   -  Reputation: 151

Posted 14 October 2012 - 03:34 PM

Keeping to a routine works well for me. Schedules and todo lists, preferably on paper, also seem to help.

#13 Amadeus H   Members   -  Reputation: 1180

Posted 15 October 2012 - 05:21 AM

Just be careful, because to-do lists can be counter-active. Posted Image

Edited by Amadeus H, 15 October 2012 - 06:01 AM.


#14 Sean T. McBeth   Crossbones+   -  Reputation: 1541

Posted 15 October 2012 - 06:11 AM

I wrote about this in another thread not too long ago.

But to reiterate a few salient points:
  • Start at the same time every day
  • End at the same time every day
  • Don't work more than that, because you will start to rely on super-sessions to make up for procrastinating
  • Jealously guard your work time
  • And if it's not working, get up and take a [walk/nap/exercise/bowl of cereal/wank/poop/whatever works for you]. Just relax and try again in an hour.

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#15 Dwarf King   Crossbones+   -  Reputation: 1862

Posted 15 October 2012 - 09:36 AM

I use to have this problem too(ahem might say still have...). I use this:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=buPrtSr0m6A

before any kind of work and then I put up stickers with "do not even think it!" on it.

Infinity meditation is very fun and makes one think of... Well INFINITY and makes one calm Posted Image I do not know why it works but it does. Also get enough sleep, take a walk outside while doing some thinking about the work or just observe the surroundings outside. Also I usually experience what you experience when the workload is too high and I forget to take some time of to relax.

Also use your alarm clock in your cell phone so you only have like 30 minutes for online social websites when you get up(or after work) and then these sites are made forbidden zone for the rest of the day.

God knows how much time I have wasted in the past doing this "evil loop of never ending repeat" Posted Image

Edited by Dwarf King, 15 October 2012 - 09:43 AM.

"The only thing that interferes with my learning is my education"

Albert Einstein

"It is a miracle that curiosity survives formal education"

Albert Einstein

 


#16 kseh   Crossbones+   -  Reputation: 2088

Posted 15 October 2012 - 09:39 AM

What helps me a bit is remembering that I actually kinda like doing the work once I'm a bit into it. Which means that I'm not really trying to avoid doing the work, I'm trying to avoid starting the work. The threshold of time between the where I'm starting and actually doing something is determined by me alone and so it's really up to me how long the suffering takes place.

#17 DigitalSavior   Members   -  Reputation: 189

Posted 20 October 2012 - 11:47 PM

Damn I wish I knew how to be productive. Putting the pro in procrastinate for 10+ years now...

#18 FableFox   Members   -  Reputation: 509

Posted 21 October 2012 - 06:58 AM

Damn I wish I knew how to be productive. Putting the pro in procrastinate for 10+ years now...


Me too :-(
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#19 Shippou   Members   -  Reputation: 1556

Posted 21 October 2012 - 11:14 AM

I wish caffeine would affect me. I guess I abused it so long, I'm now immune.
When I have to get stuff done, It's vitamin B6 and a few other supplements.

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#20 Madhed   Crossbones+   -  Reputation: 2994

Posted 21 October 2012 - 11:37 AM

I wish caffeine would affect me. I guess I abused it so long, I'm now immune.


Oh boy. I think I am really a caffeine addict by now. It doesn't seem to have any positive effect anymore. However if I skip my daily dose of coffee I tend to become really tired, overdoing it however leads to a very unpleasant feeling of restlessness... can't seem to maintean a clear train of thought.

(Reading that again, I should really cut down on my caffeine intake. It sounds scaryPosted Image )




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