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Starting a coding bootcamp, full-time, or part-time, can be overwhelming. You’re juggling so many different things – lectures, new concepts, class work, the job search, networking – and on top of all that, you’re also expected to practice coding on your own for several hours a week. Not to mention outside obligations to family, friends and work. What’s a new bootcamp student to do?
Making the most efficient use of your limited free time is hard – here are 5 productivity hacks for coding bootcamp students.
1. Get a timer
How many times have you started a task and gotten lost in the weeds, and suddenly, hours have gone by without you noticing? Time is a precious commodity and it’s important not to waste it. The best way to start is to figure out which tasks are taking up the most of your time. Get a timer and see how long things are really taking you. Write it down. Then you can isolate which tasks are time-sucks and start to restructure your activities.
For example, you may find that you’re spending 30 minutes a day just browsing your social media on your phone or watching Netflix. Make sure you’re using your time wisely and try to limit these mindless activities – at least for the duration of your coding bootcamp.
You can use an alarm on your phone, or if you’d like an app or desktop version, we love these timers:
2. Use a productivity app
Once you’ve figured out which unnecessary tasks to cut from your day, organize the things you need to get done. This can be as simple as making a daily to-do list, or you can plan out your days for the whole week – whatever works best for you.
We suggest using a productivity app to help streamline the things you need to get done, from work to home to coding bootcamp. Here are some of our favorites:
Trello – this simple to-do list app also provides lots of customization features with tasks, goals, and lists. You can also add other people to your various lists for easy collaboration.
Evernote – a mobile app designed for note taking, organizing, task lists and archiving. Memos are searchable so you always find what you need.
3. Use your commute strategically
If you’re spending multiple hours of your day commuting to and from campus, that’s time you can add back to your day by getting tasks done. This is a great time to review your lectures, listen to programming podcasts, and, if your commute is long enough, even work on coding.
See our blog on the best programming podcasts for some listening inspiration.
4. Speed listening
Pressed for time? Listen to your podcasts and lectures and watch programming videos at an increased playback speed. This simple hack will dramatically increase the amount of content you’re able to consume in just one day. Try the Video Speed Controller Chrome extension for video platforms that don’t have speed controls.
5. Set aside longer periods of time for deep focus
Contrary to popular belief, multitasking does not save time. Neuroscience tells us that when you switch between tasks, there is a start/stop process that goes on in the brain that actually costs time, rather than saves time. Instead of multitasking, try engaging in deep focus sessions where you can work uninterrupted by distractions.
According to Georgetown University professor Cal Newport, author of Deep Work: Rules for Focused Success in a Distracted World, deep work is the ability to focus without distraction on a cognitively demanding task – such as coding. Allocating specific times throughout your schedule for deep work will help you get farther on your coding projects in a shorter amount of time.