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26 Aug 2014

Indie Developers: How to Boost Your Productivity Hour-By-Hour

If you are just beginning your indie development journey thanks to our launch of Buildbox (or even if you’re a seasoned vet), you need to know the importance of optimizing your ‘per hour productivity.’ We only have so many hours in the day to work on the tasks of the day, and to ensure the tasks that need to be completed are in fact completed? It’s crucial to optimize your time hour-by-hour.

Follow the tips below to crunch as much quality work (emphasis on quality) into your workday as possible.


Eat breakfast(?)

I don’t always eat breakfast in the morning (even though I know I should). When I do (which thankfully is the majority of the time), I make sure to do breakfast the right way by cooking an egg.

I suggest you eat an egg every morning as well. That bowl of cereal you’re eating that’s full of sugar and other unhealthy ingredients? It’s not doing you any favors. Give yourself a few extra minutes, and cook an egg. It’s full of the good stuff that will keep you focused until lunchtime. Plus, eggs are delicious, and on toast? Forget about it! It’s so much better than cereal – and tastes better too.




Once you have your fuel for the morning, spend an extra few minutes prioritizing the tasks you know you need to complete for the week. As I’ve stated in other posts, I like to tackle the biggest tasks early in the morning, giving me some breathing room for the rest of the day to work on smaller tasks. I usually assign one big task per day (something that’s a little more difficult/has an imminent deadline) a mid-sized task, and a few smaller tasks to round up the work day and write them all on a big calendar in my office.

But I usually go further than that. Below my calendar, I have a dry-erase board with a drawn timeline that details when I should start work to when I want to finish. Every hour is broken up into tasks, allowing me to see exactly how on task I am at a glance. It may seem like overkill to you, but it works. It keeps me from procrastinating and acts as a reminder that I need to keep working.


Give yourself small breaks

Just as important as staying on task is to give yourself a small break. I like to give myself a five-10 minute break every hour. In the past, I would browse Reddit or something else to pass the time, but I’ve got out of the habit of doing that. Instead, I actively leave my office, walk around, walk outside, read a few pages from a book – anything to get my mind out of my office and my work so I can take a quick break and recharge my mind. Try this out for a week. You will be amazed by how much work you accomplish every hour, and how sharp your mind actually is while you work.


Remove all background noise

A few weeks ago, I found myself getting irritated by my dogs parking and screeching at the herd of college students moving into the neighborhood. I couldn’t focus and write to save anything of substance to save my life.


That is, until I found this video.


I put on my headphones, turned on an ambient video that repeats the sounds of Deckard’s apartment in Blade Runner for 12-hours, and found that I was able to concentrate better than ever. Procrastination was a thing of the past, and I was able to hone in on my work like never before.

I have to give YouTube user crysknife007 some credit. This guy has made some amazing ambient videos (like Starship Enterprise’s engine noise from Star Trek: The Next Generation) that are not only relaxing, but have increased my productivity so much that I work alongside these videos every day.

I wrote a post on using music genres to stay productive a few months ago, but these ambient videos? They arguably work better than any of the genres I listed in that post. Find a video that suits you, put on your headphones, and take it from me: you are going to be able to insanely productive hour-by-hour every day!


Have any tips or questions about staying productive hour-by-hour? Let us know in the comments below!

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