Reaching peak performance (or DevFlow) as a developer is not about working yourself or your team raw, it’s about having an awareness in your work. Flow is great when you have it, but oftentimes hard to replicate. So here's a hit list of six surprising and easy hacks that should be in every developers toolkit for hitting maximum DevFlow.
1) Do not commit to impossible tasks.
This can lead to mental clutter and disables focus. Multi-tasking is a lie. While computers can switch context with ease, human brains just aren’t wired like that. According to a Forbes article on multitasking, the term first appeared in an IBM paper in 1965, referring to a computer's ability to process multiple tasks simultaneously. Focusing on more than one thing decreases productivity by 40% and lowers IQ by 10 points. Duh.
2) Try white noise headphones to lessen distractions
Ditching extraneous noise can speed the ramp up into flow. White noise draws and focuses your attention without disturbing your emotional quotient and improves concentration by preventing outside disturbances.
3) Put the phone away!
Turn off the ringer and put that "time suck" device out of view. The average smartphone user checks her device 221 times a day. Some people are so attached to notifications that they experience phantom cellphone vibration syndrome
(yup, it’s totally a thing.) Charge your phone in a drawer so you can’t see those candy-colored notifications pop up to distract you from the task at hand.
4) Collect your data before digging into the code
Searching for data during a coding session can kill the flow, so get your research together before the deep dive. This is just an organisational tip where having your data close at hand can lessen the need to search for the info while you are in the coding moment. It's about staying in a coding flow to write code, not searching for it.
5) Understand that flow is not always relaxing
For a change of pace, increase focus by trying to code at a stand up desk. According to a Washington Post article, stand up desks were attributed to a 53% increase in work outcome and productivity over the course of six months. Employees who worked at stand-capable desk sat down on average 1.6 hours less than those at a sitting desk.
6) Allow your brain some buffer time
It often takes 10-15 minutes to get into the Flow, so starting and stopping coding sessions for meetings crushes any semblance of flow. So when you’re blocking out your productive flow time, make sure to add buffer cushions around meetings to give you time to download your notes and follow up on deliverables before moving on. The next time you get a meeting invite, schedule 15 minute blocks of buffering time around it, in order to prepare, switch tasks, and get in gear again for the next coding push.
If you can recognize productivity killers and can be open to some quick hacks--You have a greater chance to reach and stay in a state of DevFlow.
So hack-away with these new tools and get in the flow!