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How To Proactively Manage Your Programming and Personal Lives

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Managing your business and personal lives can help you get more work done and lead a happier, healthier life. However, instead of cracking down on yourself to get more done in a day, consider giving yourself free time that can help you spend time enjoying life. Even if you love your job as a programmer, there are still some days you wish you could have more free time. 
Instead of choosing to spend more time on programming or your personal life, consider addressing your time management skills to conquer both. Believe it or not, you can get more work done without cutting into your free time. Time management allows you to create the perfect work/life balance so you’re not overwhelmed in any aspect of your daily life.

Time Management for Better Work/Life Balance

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Everyone has their own way to manage their time. Many people have great time management skills, while others could use a little help and more time in a day. However, anyone can improve their time management skills to increase their efficiency and productivity as long as they’re willing to follow their method. 

Get in the Right Mindset

It can be difficult to get into a good mindset about all of the tasks you have to complete in a day if you’re looking at being busy as a bad thing. Instead of thinking about how stressful your day will be, consider how great you’re going to feel when it’s all over. 

There are many ways to get yourself in the right frame of mind to start your day off right. For example, many people put on their running shoes and go for a long jog in the morning so they can start their day energized. Others prefer relaxing with a nice cup of coffee before they start their workday. Whatever you need to do to get into a positive mindset, do it before you start working so you can start the day off right. 

Prioritizing

There are many different time management methods for you to choose from. However, if you notice you have to work longer hours to get the same amount of work done as your coworkers, it’s time to switch it up. Consider prioritizing tasks that will take longer or those that are most important to you. 

First, start every Monday morning by listing out your programming projects and planning your schedule. Next, you can start branching out from these projects and list out the smaller tasks that are involved in them. 

Looking at your list, you can prioritize projects and tasks by their importance or deadline and understand how they relate to one another. If you see that you have multiple tasks under one project, you can tackle all of the tasks in that project to get it completed quicker instead of jumping around from project to project. 

Consider the Future

When you’re working at your desk on small tasks, you might forget about the larger project. However, by looking at the project as a whole, you can see how these tasks impact the outcome of something larger. 

At the end of the day, write down everything you were able to accomplish and compare it to your other list to see how many things you could not accomplish. Then, instead of feeling defeated, reorganize your list for the next day and look at all of the things you were able to accomplish in just eight hours. By continuously writing down and evaluating your goals, you’ll be more able to accomplish them. 

Get Small Tasks Out of the Way

Having a task list in hand is a great start, but if you want to plan your time better, you’ll need to set a schedule for each task, including how much time it should take you and when it should be completed. 

If you see a bunch of small tasks that all relate to one project, consider tackling those first the following day. For example, if you have to do the dishes, try doing them first thing in the morning so there won’t be any excuse for you to put that chore off at the end of the day. 

Chunk Large Tasks

Chunking is when you take something large and break it into smaller pieces. For example, if you have a large project due at the end of the week, break it up into smaller tasks you can accomplish every day. Over time, the small tasks you complete will equal one project. 

You can even chunk tasks at home. If you have to clean your bathroom, don’t look at it like you have to clean an entire room. Instead, look at the small tasks, such as cleaning the toilet, wiping down the counters, mopping the floor, and start accomplishing those one at a time. 

Stop Getting Distracted

How often do you get distracted at work? Most people get distracted quite a bit, whether it’s checking their phones or having a short conversation with a coworker. While distractions might not take much time at all, getting back into your work can. Constantly getting distracted and unfocused makes getting refocused more difficult, so it’s time to cut out distractions as much as possible so you can get more work done. 

Instead, set times throughout the day when you check your email or perform other tasks, and try to let your coworkers know when you’ll be focused so they won’t come and start up a conversation with you during those times. 

Stop Multitasking

Multitasking does not increase efficiency and productivity. Instead, it distracts your brain from correctly doing one thing. If you start a task, complete it before you start something else to start getting more things done in a day. 

Let Go

It can be difficult for programmers to end their workday. Many people want to finish up a task they’re on no matter how long it takes them to complete, which could be interfering with your personal life. If you ever find yourself working long hours, then it’s time to set some boundaries with your boss and/or yourself. 

At the end of the workday, follow your coworker’s leads, and go home. You can finish what you were working on the next day unless there is an immediate deadline. It’s okay to stay late at the office sometimes, but it shouldn’t be an everyday occurrence. 

Matt Casadona | Guest Post Writer

Matt Casadona has a Bachelor of Science in Business Administration, with a concentration in Marketing and a minor in Psychology. Matt is passionate about marketing and business strategy and enjoys San Diego life, traveling, and music.