I beleive 52-17 is becaus (52+17)*7 =~ 8 hours
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I had a big problem with procrastination before. I wasn't able to concentrate, find it difficult to retain focus and most of the time I had to stay a couple of hours more to finish my daily tasks.
So I did a research to find a cure. Here are some of the things I did to boost my productivity and focus:
Do NOT multitask - like Jan Vladimir Mostert mentioned, concentrate all your power on one task at a time. Switching between different problems and tasks is counter-productive!
52-17 rule - this one is pretty interesting and simple - work for 52 minutes, rest for 17. It's simple as that. It's like mini sprints - during the 52 minutes work, you're dedicated to complete and accomplish tasks and make progress. Then, for 17 minutes you are entirely resting, moving away from the desk and just relaxing. You will be amazed with the results!
Find the right music for YOU - find what kind of music works best for you no matter electronic, classical or rock. I have days when I listen Sweet Home Alabama or similar, the next day I play Get Lucky by Vitamin String Quartet. It's personal choice at first.
Document your progress - this is something I practice lately and I see great results. Document your current progress, make a daily task list and just write what you have done. It will give you a clear vision of your productivity status.
I think it's mostlt the same, as what is already posted, but here is my list.
- Sleep at least 7 to 8 hours. Every hour less, is like you are working drunk.
- Go running, or train your body, do something physically demanding. Blood will flow faster, you will be more awake, and you have more mental power for the rest of the day.
- eat healthy. It might sound like BS, but if you consume much fat, your blood will flow slower, your metabolism slows down and you are tired earlier.
- Have background noises. I hate it when 3 people are calling someone and two others are talking to each other. I need music, order an audiobook. But don't get distracted by it.
- From time to time, stand up and take a walk, stretch your neck and your back. You will feel more relaxed, and your back will thank you for it.
In my training, I often stayed up after 1 in the morning. I got like 5 hours of sleep. We ate most of the time pizza, kfc, döner and similar things. I most likely "laid" on my chair.
Since I did the stuff above, I noticed a huge raise in my productivity. Even after work, I have the energy to go shopping for the week, start cooking, and do other stuff at home.
Stay of Devmag, haha :p
I find splitting stuff up into well-defined tasks help (even if it's just an A4 piece of paper where I tick things of), when I do that, I can easily work straight through for 16 hours, if I don't split it up, I get distracted easily as I don't get that sense of progress I would have when spending 5 minutes planning what features I want to complete.
Obviously good headphones and some good long sets of electronic music helps, listening through an MP3 that's 2 hours long means you're going to sit there for two hours before considering getting up, if your MP3s are like 4 minutes each and you shuffle different genres, you will definitely get distracted every time the music changes.
Get into the habit of focussing on one thing at a time and getting it done rather than multi-tasking, context-switching between projects is expensive in terms of productivity.
- Tie activities to your devices. Laptop for coding, desktop for design, mobile for social media, tablet for reading etc. This helps me reduce multi-tasking & cognitive switches
- Focus on one thing at at a time. By now there are many studies to prove we suck at multi-tasking.
- Make less decisions as possible.
I wrote about my productivity hacks on my blog: Productivity hacks that work
I agree - DO NOT multitask, concentrate on one planned task. Task precisely planned earlier, written down in 'to do' list. My hack is to use Kanban board from kanbantool.com every day even if I feel I'll manage to remember all the planned tasks. And sometimes simple changes in your work environment help too, like these showed here pinterest.com/pin/517491813404272792 .
Here is what I do :
Go to the bed before 12am and wake up early. You will become more productive if you get up early and start working.
Listen to music. Keeps you concentrated.
Keep a paper/notebook with you. As developers we are often confused. Write down what you think, architecture, algorithms etc on a piece of paper and believe me you will have a great clarity of thought.
Walk for a few minutes after working for some time. As @Kleo suggested follow 52-17 rule.
Avoid (long) meetings. They are counter productive most of the times.
This one probably sounds phony at first, but there's a web site called brain.fm that has tracks for focus. It claims to alter the frequency of your brain waves or something; I don't know if that's legit.
I do know that whatever it's doing, it works. It's paid, at like seven bucks a month, but worth it.
I used to use music, which is okay and if you've got the right music (one that improves your mood while not being distracting), it can help. Audiobooks are too distracting for me to listen while working--they keep the part of my brain that's focused on language busy, and it shuts everything else out. Silence is sometimes golden but is also easy to walk away from.
The site has built-in timers for certain intervals, but you can also set it to run until you stop it. I usually get three really productive hours in before I just have to walk away from the code for a while because it's sucking out my brain.
The site also has tracks for relaxation, which also work; and sleep, which I haven't really used.
I'm not affiliated, I just think this site is worth it.