…in IT of course.
In everyday tasks, there are things that become and feel like second nature. You use them so frequently, that you stop noticing them, but they make you just that much more productive. Over the years I’ve gathered many tools and habits that help me in my day-to-day job, and that have propelled me through the ranks. While this list is far from exhaustive and some of the things in here might seem small or insignificant, they are some of the first steps I take when I set up my work environment.
A Clipboard manager.
I’ve grown so accustomed to this, that I’m amazed it's not built into each operating system. Being able to sift through your recent “copies”, or being able to make several selections in a row for later pasting, has allowed me to focus on the important, “big picture”, stuff, while I collect little text artefacts in the background. In the first week of my first IT job, a colleague introduced me to Ditto, and I haven’t even looked at another option since. Not that there aren’t better alternatives, it’s just that it has everything I could ever need from such tool – an easy shortcut, simple layout, searching and pinning of records. So if any advice is to be given – just pick one and start using it.
Like… seriously. A simple notebook, or some paper that I can scribble on. Whether it’s to sketch out an idea, architecture, class diagram or checklist of the days tasks, the notebook is always by my side. Even simply doodling while struggling with an issue has helped me find resolutions countless times. I’ve yet to find a computer program or app that is so easy and versatile. Perhaps this comes from my mathematics background, but I encourage everyone to try scribbling, and see how this helps collect their thoughts and ideas.
Some headphones and a good playlist
Working in an office is awesome, and sharing the same space with people who are open to exchanging ideas and sharing knowledge is irreplaceable. However, most of the time you need to work alone and then the office background radiation can become distracting. The human ear is uniquely designed to pick up speech from any noisy situation, and I find it troublesome when I’m trying to concentrate on a particular problem. Some nice punchy rock music for a tough debugging session, or some inspirational soundtracks for creative work and new features are my top choices (I’m even currently rocking out to some Disturbed)
Some goofing around time
Each textbook recommends resting 5-10 minutes for each hour behind the computer. However, it doesn’t have to be boring neck stretches or exercise. I try to space out my time with conversations with colleagues, goofing around on the “fun” team chat, a funny fail compilation, coffee break or any other fun activity. After all, if we don’t have fun on our job, we will soon grow tired of it, and fall prey to stress. Distracting yourself every so often lets inspiration flow through the brain and helps bring in fresh perspectives on each problem.
…Well, as It turns out, there are only 4 tools
I guess you have to be a bit flexible in your work as well. We’ll talk about off by one errors some other time 😉
Do you have any tool you can't work without? Let me know in the comments bellow.