How to easily improve productivity

  • 0
  • January 9, 2013
Jordan Appleson

Jordan Appleson

Head of Product Development

Our development team is always keen to hear about new ways to improve efficiency and reduce the time it takes to code without compromising on quality. For example, if there’s a way we can use fewer keystrokes when writing code or executing commands, we’re all for it!

Have a think about which tasks you find yourself repeating every day, and how you could streamline the process to knock off a few seconds or even a few minutes off. It could be simple tasks such as:

  • Opening your vital applications and helpful utilities
  • Accessing your projects directory
  • Adding entries to your hosts file
  • Opening your Shell Profile / PowerShell Profile
  • Accessing remote servers

When you sit down and actually total up the time spent on trivial tasks such as these over the course of a day, a week, a month, I think you’ll be surprised at how the time adds up.

If something which takes around 30 seconds can be reduced down to 10 seconds by way of a script or function, then believe me, it’s worth taking those several minutes implementing it.

Coming from a Linux background and diving into developing with the same tools (PHP, Python, MySQL, Git) on Windows, I found that many of my normal day-to-day tasks were taking longer than usual, adding hosts to the host file for instance, was taking much longer than it previously was.

Locating the directory the hosts file is stored in, making sure you have the permissions to edit it, then opening with text editor and finally saving; on unix-based systems this is simply a one-liner, and I wanted to replicate this in my current environment to speed up and simplify the process.

The solution for the above (which came from our talented Senior .NET Developer, Julian Kay) was to add a function to my PowerShell Profile which simply opens the file in my preferred text editor, VIM, and set the function to the alias “eh”.

Since the majority of the time I have at least one Shell open, I can add an entry to my hosts file in less than 10 seconds. Pretty neat eh?

It might seem simple and a bit obvious, but I’ll bet that plenty of developers can find at least two or three tasks that they repeat daily which could be streamlined down into less keystrokes.

Take a look at this example:

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