[thelist] Your top timesaving tips?

Peter Smulders schmolle at pobox.com
Sun Sep 21 06:45:49 CDT 2003

Hi all,

> ... tips for saving time and effort on web/application development 
> ... Save everything ... reuse code ... template code (in editor) ... 
> test frequently ... bookmark good sites ... use utilities 
> (arsclip/slugs) ... organise your files ... use descriptive file 
> names ... ask questions ... set times for individual tasks.

Some random ideas not related to development perse, but possibly
applicable in a wider sense:

=+= If you will be doing anything with computers on a regular basis,
learn how touch-type (if you can't already). Learn how to do it FAST.
The money and effort invested in something like (don't laugh) 'Mavis
Beacon Teaches Typing' [1] is well worth the time you will save in the 
rest of your career. MBTT in particular can be a bit cheesy (I used 
something four or five versions ago; they might have gotten better) but 
it is the technique that counts.

=+= Invest in ergonomics: get a good keyboard and pointing device. look
at some different options (humpback keyboard, trackball); see if you can
borrow or otherwise try one for some time. Working with your computer
should be effortless and comfortable and the input devices are a key
factor, yet often overlooked.

=+= More money is involved, but the same rationale applies to monitors,
desks and chairs. If you have a working area that has 'evolved' around
you, take some time to see if you could possibly (re)organise it for a
more specific function. Think of places for bookshelves, where to put
your printer, phone, coffee machine; will you be using a desk for
writing/reading as well as computer work, etc.

=+= Tidy up your cables/peripherals/etc. Some people work best with a
positively chaotic desk, but I have yet to come accross anyone who would
benefit from having cables and peripherals all over the place,
cluttering up the desk even before they started using it. Use ductape
and tie-wraps with some imagination. Whatever space you gain you can use
for cluttering as per your own preferences.

=+= If you are so inclined, the use of a whiteboard can be enourmously
helpful to organise your thoughts, even when working alone. Suitably
painted flat surfaced doors make excellent poor-man's whiteboards.

=+= Think about acoustics: do you need/prefer silence? Music? Decide on
whether to tuck away the PC in a closet with some soundproofing and a
KVM extender cable. Position your sound gear the way you like it and
replace the pile of CD with a stand. (or an MP3 type solution).

=+= What goes for sound, goes for light: get a lot of light (humans like
it, even if you think you don't) but set it up so that you avoid glare.
Diffuse light is good. Strip lighting might be ugly to some, but it is
very effective.

Hope that helps/inspires,



More information about the thelist mailing list