Building, updating and maintaining websites can be some of the most time-sucking tasks out there. Before you know it, your work day is over and you’ve spent the whole working day on one thing. It is not uncommon for web developers to experience burnout. This is because they are constantly being hit with high workloads that need to be completed on short notice. Many of them also feel that if they aren’t working on the websites they have been commissioned to, they aren’t working. But this doesn’t have to be the case. It’s important to step away from the main task at hand throughout the day, even if it’s for 10 minutes every two hours. Here’s how you can take productive breaks during your work-day downtime.
1. Create a code library
There’s no reason you should be coding from scratch all the time. Use your productive breaks to compile a well-organised and easily searchable library of code snippets. Choose snippets that are your personal favourites and the ones that you use the most often. You should also make sure the organisation is hierarchical, includes syntax highlighting and (if possible) is integrated with your source code editor.
2. Collect design resources
This is a good and productive way to spend your time if your brain is feeling particularly frazzled. You know where to find design resources online and stockpiling them for future use can save you a lot of time when you’re on deadline. You can organise them in folders according to client, colour, style, theme, whatever will make it as easy for you to find them as possible. You can also include folders for icons, vectors, PSD templates, fonts, buttons and any other miscellaneous design elements.
3. Plan for an upcoming project
Working on the same website for hours is tedious for the mind. This can lead to more mistakes and missing important pieces of information. Take a break and spend some time curating ideas for a future project. Build a mood board with the goal of the project in mind. This kind of more visual creativity will help to clear your head so that you can be even more productive and focused when you jump back into the main task at hand.
4. Set up and check up on automated quality checking
Do your research on quality-testing programs available and applicable to your work. You can spend some time running quality checks and tweaking all your current projects throughout the day. This is a great way to shift your mind to smaller tasks that will often be quick and easy to check off your to-do list during one of your productive breaks, saving you from having to urgently do it later when you may not have the time.
5. And finally, just take a break for its own sake
Try to take a 10-15 minute break from work completely twice a day. And yes, these kinds of breaks definitely contribute to productivity. Working non-stop, even if it’s not on the same thing, for hours on end causes mental burn-out and will result in a slow but steady decline in the quality of your work over time. And you’re good at your work, so this isn’t something you want happening to you. Go outside during one of these breaks to get some much-needed vitamin D (when that afternoon sleepy slump hits, you’ll be amazed at the wonders this can do). Stretch and reach for some healthy carbs (for the brain) or protein (for the body) to boost your energy levels before your next block of work.