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I am into coding software, so my daily schedule consists of lots of small chunks of time(10-15 mins max), usually spent in building code. So I code a little then wait for the code to build. These chunks are too small to be used for anything which requires a flow like blogging etc. Any suggestions to use these small chunks effectively? Thanks.

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4 Answers 4

up vote 6 down vote accepted

That would depend on the flexibility you have to do non-work related tasks.

By keeping all your outstanding tasks recorded in an non-intrusive, immediately accessible system, within seconds you can find something to do. Personally I run a GTD style system and tag 'fill-in' type tasks with labels identifying how long they should take, like '0-5 minutes', '5-10', '15-30', 'hours',... so I can immediately call up a list of contenders.

I work at a treadmill desk so even for a compile that takes a minute or two, I'm already in walking mode to easily fetch a drink from the kitchen or put something away. Without doing that I find I just spend all day intensely coding without even blinking and the house suffers.

I use to have some technical book in another window ready to continue reading during compiles, but found the change of focus distracting to my main task. Doing something brain-dead gave the brain a break.

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Well am currently using the chunks to read twitter and reddit :). But I think I can read a book as well. I think simple non-technical books would fit the bill.Reading ebooks in the other screen can be a good use of the time. –  eminemence Mar 6 '12 at 12:34
    
But, reading tweets, mails etc. distracts my focus :) –  mmdemirbas Mar 13 '12 at 13:38

Speed up your build. The context switching overhead will kill your productivity.

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True, it's also really easy for a "build break" to become too long. –  Atif Mar 9 '12 at 6:02

Keep two lists next to you (in WordPad or whatever you use). One is a "menu" that you have your favorite sites/projects on, and the other is a to-do list with small tasks you can do. You can further prioritize into high-value/low-value, urgent/important etc.

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You could also try and develop your code using unit tests so you don't have to build the whole thing just to see that it doesn't work and go back to square 1. Unit tests can verify that the code works and if all tests pass, you integrate the code and have your 15 minute blogging pause.

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