Slaying Productivity: ace your coding, work and life today.

by Talia Legge

Our top tips and life hacks for managing your life and work – whilst being a badass coder.

Seeing those ‘my 6-9 before my 9-5’ TikToks can make you feel like you’re not doing enough and it’s common to feel overwhelmed, making it 100 times harder to create some sort of structure, as we just focus on getting through the day. There is no shame in acknowledging you need to improve your routine, it’s a sign of strength!  From our own lived experiences, the sooner you make these positive changes, the sooner you see results, and gain back productivity, motivation and time (which we all know is precious). Remember there is no one size fits all, every individual is different so what works for others may or may not work for you. But, we can help guide you on the road to learning more about yourself and your working patterns.

CFG’s Tips & Tricks

When trying to find work hacks/techniques it sometimes feels impossible, as there are so many options. But which ones actually work and which are a waste of time? Well, to find out what techniques people use, we asked the CFG team and community members what helps them be productive. 

So, look no further because here are our top 5 tips and tricks we’ve found to help us the most! 

TIP #1: ✨“That girl” Routine

“‘Good sleep and mindset is key for results.”Anete Zepa, CFG Team

“Have a morning routine if working from home so you have structure to your day before you log on, incorporating some fresh air/ movement where possible on lunch/ take a walking call to move away from your laptop”Sophie Blinkhorn, CFG Team

A simple, consistent morning routine reduces your stress levels as you’re familiar with it and know what to expect. This could be as simple as always ensuring you’re up and out of bed two hours before you’re due to start work. Little things like this will positively impact your mental well-being, which can make you feel more in control.

The most important thing is to try and ensure you have some form of morning and evening routine, even when working from home. This allows your brain to create a boundary between work and leisure time.  Let’s create a positive WFH routine and become ✨that girl ✨

TIP #2: 👟Exercise and breaks

“Take time for a walk. Not only is it proven to help your energy levels with the release of endorphins, but it also helps me clear my head and come back refreshed for my afternoon tasks!”- Sophie Bower, CFG Team

Go on that walk! Take breaks! Get yourself that coffee!  Give yourself the time to think about other things, besides the many tasks and jobs you want to get done. Burnout can happen if you don’t look after yourself, especially after prolonged periods of stress which may leave you feeling drained with no energy left to give. As the well-known saying goes, “you can’t pour from an empty cup”. Exercise and mindfulness breaks can help to tremendously reduce your stress, by getting your heart rate up which flows more blood and oxygen to your brain thus increasing your endorphins level. Allowing your mind to rest, even just for a moment in between your day can reset your focus and improve productivity. But most importantly, knowing when to switch off and walk away from your desk helps to ensure you have a healthy work, life and study balance!

TIP #3: 👕Dress for success

 “Do not study/work in bed in pj’s (tempting as we WFH). If I am dressed and maybe even at a different location, I feel more focused.”Jan Gernale, CFG Team

Although it’s tempting to stay in your cosy pyjamas, or skip that morning shower (if you’re a morning shower gal) – our brains automatically associate this cosiness with relaxation and sleeping, which can make it more challenging to focus. Take a page from 80’s fashion with power dressing, who cares if it’s a little extra sometimes –  wear that outfit that makes you feel empowered and confident. In the legendary words of movie and fashion icon Marilyn Monroe “give a girl the right shoes, and she can conquer the world,” even if it’s wearing a bold red lip to your 9 am meeting or athleisure on the daily – if it makes you feel good, you’re already on your way to success.

TIP #4: 🏠 Is your setting a slay or nay?

 “ I listen to non-disturbing and uplifting music when I need a boost.  For me it either has no lyrics or it is like a 10-year-old mix of songs I know too well to not get distracted.”Anete Zepa, CFG Team

 “A good set of noise cancelling headphones and some workflow music” – Kath, CFG Team

Ever work from the comfort of your own bed? Feel as though you could be more productive in a different work environment? The environment in which you work can have a big impact on how productive and focused you are. For some, working from your bedroom may be the only option in your living arrangements, but it can also make you struggle to separate between work and personal life. We recommend creating a focused area in your bedroom or in another room (where possible) as a dedicated “work zone”. 

Even better, you may want to consider looking at local options, as working solely from home can make you feel isolated and distant from others. Is there a local coffee shop with free wifi, or a local library you can make use of? There are loads of great recommendations out there for co-working spaces, great cafes, and of course, ask friends and family too! We recommend using Google and Apple maps to see what’s in your local area as a starting point. 📍

✅ Tracking progress

“Having a ‘ Things to do Today‘ notebook – so much easier than a general notebook, and makes you feel very positive when you can tick them off!” Carella, CFG Team

“Split your to-do list into quick tick tasks (approx 5 -10 mins tasks) vs 30 min tasks and projects. Block out time for 30 min tasks and projects each day to make progress on those and fit the 5-10 min ones in between to make sure you don’t just end up doing all the quicker 5-10 mins tasks each day.”- Sophie Blinkhorn, CFG Team

“A thoughts page-I scribble down stuff taking space in my head & then I can focus”Talia, CFG Team

“For studying: active recall and creating questions to test yourself as you read through the material. For maths/science/comp-sci especially- doing as many problems sets as possible and highlighting mistakes/explanations in a different colour”Adara, CFG Team

Let’s get productive! Give it a week and try out a couple of different methods of working, and see what suits you. Everyone’s style is different and it’s great to try a few different methods to see what suits you best.

Using just one or several techniques is an amazing way to improve the quality and consistency of your work, and how efficiently you are able to complete tasks. 

🔦SPOTLIGHT ON: The Pomodoro technique

This is one such method that is well-liked and trusted by many, including most of the CFG team. It is great for time management and improving your focus by allocating short sprints of pure focus followed by mini breaks in between.

This method involves setting a timer for around 25 minutes working with no distractions.  Once the timer goes off, you can allow yourself a quick five minute break to let your mind rest, grab or top up your drink or stand up for a few minutes. Before repeating the process again. 

Every four times, you should allow yourself a longer break, roughly 30-35 minutes. Check out the video below for more info.

Lastly… a gentle reminder to be kind to yourself 💝

“I try to avoid criticising myself if I misunderstood how to do a task at work or don’t understand something when studying, and try to remind myself that being confused just means I’m learning something new” – Adara, CFG Community

We all have our good days and our bad days, so we hope these tips and tricks will hopefully help with you through both.  Just remember that sometimes, all we need at the end of the day is a little TLC to give ourselves a little room to breathe and to understand what our minds or bodies need to function. We hope our fave tips and tricks help!