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How do you set yourself up to be productive?

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Mid-Level Software Engineer at Intercom2 years ago

I feel like I lack clarity I know I should be taking the time to plan my day but I find myself getting pulled into the working context at any point in time. How do more senior engineers approach this? Are there personal rituals and routines that people use on a daily or weekly basis to move the needle?



  • 1
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    Meta, Pinterest, Kosei
    2 years ago

    This is something I see so many engineers struggle with! A few thoughts:

    • have 1 clear item you want to get done that day. You can have others on your list, but it should be obious
    • spend 2-4 hours of deep work time on that #1 priority. This should be sacred time to protect. That means no chats with coworkers, turn off your work chat, don't check your phone, etc.
    • for meetings where you're optional, don't show up. One experiment to try is simply to skip meetings where you don't have anything to contribute. If no one calls you out for skipping the meeting, skip the next one as well :)

    Also check out the full session we gave about time management here

    Another important principle is reflection.

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    Mid-Level Software Engineer [OP]
    2 years ago

    Thanks Rahul!

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    Tech Lead @ Robinhood, Meta, Course Hero
    2 months ago

    If I have a lot of items I need to work on, I write them all down on a local note on my Mac, ordered by priority as much as it can be. One of the most important concepts when it comes to boosting your productivity is that clarity leads to action.

    In your case, it seems like you're getting distracted a lot - This is very common for software engineers. Something you need to learn is how to push back and say "No" to preserve focus. I have learned across my career that a lot of the times you get pulled in by other people aren't truly urgent, and people will try to pull you in more and more as you become more competent and senior (this is a good sign that you're growing). I cover this more in-depth here: "How to figure out what the most important projects are?"

    I recommend this as well: [Taro Top 10] Time Management And Productivity

Intercom is a software company that specializes in business messaging, providing businesses with a way to chat with their customers. Intercom is headquartered in San Francisco.
Intercom3 questions