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I am really behind on my schoolwork (a result of both procrastination and my disability) and I need to finish 4 programming assignments in 5 days. Usually each assignment take me two days to do, working on it basically every minute I'm not sleeping or eating. My assignments are typically divided into 2-7 parts unrelated parts that teach a concept or two. In past assignments, I written between 200 and 1200 lines of code. Also I have a disability that makes it hard for me to concentrate, and my medication makes me too drowsy to pull all-nighters. Please give me suggestions for how I can halve the time it take for me to do an assignment. Thanks!

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4  
Please give me suggestions for how I can halve the time it take for me to do an assignment. I think it's your belief that you could somehow perform this miracle that allowed you to justify your procrastination to yourself. Try to avoid this mistake next time. –  Oleg2718281828 Jul 29 '12 at 3:38
    
@Oleg2718281828 Harsh but true. There might not be an answer :( –  Eva Jul 29 '12 at 18:50
    
Design your application before developing it? Trying to do an assignment and manage all parts of the application in your head can become a daunting task. –  Gaʀʀʏ Jul 31 '12 at 15:31
    
For me and coding, it's all about a whiteboard and markers. I used to sit on the floor of my dorm room with one big whiteboard to draw out the overall project, and then I had two smaller whiteboards on my left and right for focusing on smaller tasks that are part of the bigger project. That in itself is not gonna make the assignment faster, but for me I always enjoyed the way it feels to write on a whiteboard (maybe I'm weird?), so when it came time to get crackin', I was less hesitant to begin and procrastinate. –  CptSupermrkt Aug 4 '12 at 4:42

5 Answers 5

Short answer:

Just start coding!

Long answer:

Judging from that you posted a question on stackexchange i assume you are not coding right now. From my personal experience (I'm a perfectionist) - I always look for ways to make my code beautiful, extensible, fast etc. I want to make my process fast, manageable and organized. But the truth is - if you are on tight schedule just make it work. It works - great! - go to the next assignment. If at the end you still have time refactor your code and make it awesome.

I know it's easy to procrastinate believing there's a quick and awesome way to accomplish your goal - but usually it's just hard work.

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Log what your spending time on ever few minutes. Review the diary and look for patterns cognitive patterns that you think are logical but take up Much of your time. Write down anti patterns you need to follow. Ie what typeof bugs do you spend most time on. Then ask people more specific qs on how to save ttime on these bugs.

This will happen naturally over time, but a more scientific process could accelerate your development.

Also try different meditation camps to develop razor focus. Never code with a weak mind.

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Will I really be more productive if I stop what I'm doing every few minutes to document it? –  Eva Jul 27 '12 at 1:26
    
Just need to log your activities for a suitable timeperiod..say your next 2 coding sessions. I think that gives one sufficient info and if you get something out of the process then you can try again and adjust the process to suit you. I am at the stage where I only log items that are slowing me down...I findIt is easier to think problems thru in a log as it seems to glove me more focus. –  pnerd Jul 27 '12 at 6:58
    
Apologies for my typos. On the cell phone! –  pnerd Jul 27 '12 at 7:11

The lack of time will probably help you in completing your 4 tasks in time:

  • You'll make your decisions faster instead of putting them off for later.
  • You'll cut corners which will result in programs that just (barely) do what they need to do.
  • It'll help you focus on the tasks just because there is so little time.

Tim Ferris tries to delegate as much as he can, but I suppose this is not the proper way to go with school assignments...

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I don't want to comment too much on energy drinks or pills because I don't know what meds you're already on...

HOWEVER, crunch time programmin...now that's something I know!

For my experience,

  1. Get to the enviroment you work best in. (For me, the middle of the Library with lots of ppl around)

  2. Have a back of chips or something. (animal crackers are my choice)

  3. Have a variety of music...probably quick pace stuff

  4. GET COMPETIVE! When I get something accomplish or figure something out, I make sure I celebrate like a goof and show some neighbor who automatically thinks i'ma nerd.

  5. Write and draw on paper...to get away from a screen and put it on a hard copy helps a ton.

  6. When you get code block I do a variety of mind breaks such as talking it through with someone who knows NO coding, interact with girls, or take a shower. Showers some reason just work miracles on my mind and it all comes to me then.

  7. Close social network sites except for designated times such as every hour at the 33rd minute

  8. Get up and move around...walk, push ups, swing a bat, go pull a prank on someone, etc

Hopefully these help you out!!

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#4 - When you fix a bug that has been blocking you for 15 minutes –  Gaʀʀʏ Jul 31 '12 at 15:31

You can try using the Pomodoro Technique: http://www.pomodorotechnique.com/

Do 25 minutes of work, then take a 5 minute break should boost productivity.

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I find this method doesn't really work with coding difficult things. A 5 minute break is nowhere near enough to cure the headache you get with some things. And it really depends on how you spend your break; some form of breaks are very relaxing, some are complete time wasters (like posting on forums). –  Muz Aug 10 '12 at 8:51
    
5 minutes is enough when you have only done 25 minutes of work ;) –  Adam Aug 10 '12 at 19:34

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