How To Be An Efficient Developer



Okay, that needs some context. Others put it like this: BE LAZIER. 😴

Alright, I should really explain. Because so many of us are overachievers, it’s easy to get stuck into an inefficient mindset where you’re doing more but achieving less. Becoming an efficient developer is about putting the ‘work smarter, not harder’ mantra into practice, in every single area you possibly can.

I, for one, am a very happy and efficient member of the lazy developers club. Strangely enough, efficient laziness is a hard skill to hone. So, here’s your peek at the clubhouse rules.

Use shortcuts

Yes-do this! Why?

  1. Save time by not typing super long commands.
  2. Save your brain space by reducing super long command recall.
  3. Share your shortcut tips & make life easier! (Seriously, share them with me on Twitter!)

Bash aliases are a super simple way to shortcut. Here’s some of my favourites ➤

alias q="cd ~ && clear"
alias pest="./vendor/bin/pest" # run pest tests
alias phpunit="php ./vendor/bin/phpunit" # run phpunit tests
alias cdump="composer dumpautoload"
alias ci="composer i"
alias pa="php artisan" # shortcut for php artisan 🔥
alias dbfresh="pa migrate:fresh --seed" # wipe the database and start a new
alias gc='git checkout'
alias gcb='git checkout -b'
alias gmp='git merge -' # merge previous branch
alias gcp='git checkout -' # checkout previous branch
# navigation
alias ..='cd ..'
alias ...='cd ../../'
alias ....='cd ../../../'
alias .....='cd ../../../../'
alias ......='cd ../../../../'
alias .......='cd ../../../../../'
alias ........='cd ../../../../../../'
alias home='clear && cd ~ && ls' # go home and list all directories
alias downloads='clear && cd ~/Downloads && ls' # go to downloads and list all directories
alias desktop='clear && cd ~/Desktop && ls' # go to desktop and list all directories

Automate mundane tasks

Automation is an amazing time-creator. ⏰ In fact, once you’ve set up one automation, you might find yourself using it in future projects. That’s one really powerful way to bring value into your skillset—economising time through innovative automation.

🔥 First, you’ll need to look for opportunities and write the scripts. Think data-driven automations, task-driven automations or end-to-end automations. Where in your day could you possibly save time?

Let me know what kind of automations you come up with or already have? Shout at me here

Don't reinvent the wheel

Don’t worry—you’ll always be special. But not everything you develop has to be different/amazing/WOW.

In fact, the wow factor can sometimes be that you did your research and found a nifty solution that you can a) use b) customise c) build upon.

Imagine starting from scratch, evvvverrry time. Nobody would get anything done. That’s why blogs like this exist. There’s a time and place to reinvent. Choose wisely.

Write your goals down daily

Ever noticed that big brain fog at the start of a project? The start of a week? A day? Sweep away the fog by creating a topline to-do list.

🚀 Once you have your big-ticket items, break them down into sub-to-dos. Set yourself deadlines, make notes as you go and tick off your tasks when they’re done. Extra points if you’re using a task manager platform like ClickUp.

The best part? When you tick off your tasks, you get a dopamine boost. Plus, you’ll enjoy doing the task more because you’ll understand its dependencies, where it fits into your timeline and how it interacts with the project as a whole.

Take breaks

Yeah, yeah. Take a break. You know the drill. But have you tried setting pre-determined breaks? Times when you absolutely know you’re going to be taking space from the task at hand and resting your brain. The Pomodoro Technique is a prime example of this and something I use daily: 25 minutes on task, five minutes off. 🍅

The thing is, breaks are often when the light-bulb moments happen. Without them, you’re more likely to find yourself stuck in a creative or problem-solving rut. But remember, don’t take a fake break. Your brain will ALWAYS know. Make sure you actually step away from the screen, make a snack, walk around, stretch, have a chat with someone, be human!

Start with hard tasks first

Back to that to-do list—find the tasks you really dislike or you’re worried about or overthinking; the ones you’re gonna put last.

Okay, now if you can, do them FIRST. There’s something about getting those hard tasks out of the way. First, is the mental load. It’s wild how long we can walk around carrying anxiety about tasks we don’t want to do. When you’ve done it—WOOOSSHHH. 💨 More brain space. Just like that.

If I can leave you with a few classic lines:

  • Less is more.
  • Giving 100% is 100% impossible.
  • Goodness grows sustainably.

Do you agree? Subscribe to my newsletter below or follow me on Twitter for more! 🔥