For many independent app developers, it can be really hard to find time to work on your app business because most of us either have a job or in my case have to go to school everyday. Because of the limited time we have to work on our apps, it’s extremely important that whenever we get an opportunity to work, we’re as productive as possible.
The reason I’m writing this post today is because I just finished my first week back at school this year. Because of that, now the time I get to spend on my businesses shrank drastically compared to the amount of time I get to spend during summer vacation. While I can be a little lax during the summer about my productivity since I have so much time to devote, starting now it’s time for me to get my ass into gear and focus 100%.
So with that being said, I want to share with you some of the tips and tricks I use to help myself stay focused and super productive. While some these can be applied and used by people people other than app developers, these are the ones that will be most helpful to the independent app developers looking to increase their productivity.
1) Exercise and Eat Right
While this first tip may seem cliché, it definitely is important because not only does exercising and eating right improve your health, but it can also improve your business! I’m not a very active person in general, mostly because I spend my free time on the computer working on app development in addition to my other businesses. However, this summer I did my best to exercise every day and eat healthy and it let me tell you – it REALLY helped in keeping myself focused and on task.
Let’s say you have an hour to work on your apps each day. While your first thought may be to (obviously) work all 60 minutes on your business, that may not be the best idea. If you exercise for 20 minutes, and then work on your apps for the remaining 40 minutes, you may find that you get more done than if you worked all 60 minutes on your businesses!
Bonus Tip: If you want to be SUPER productive, listen to a business-related podcast or audiobook while exercising!
2) Noise Canceling Headphones
Last December I went out and bought myself a pair of Bose QuietComfort 15 noise canceling headphones for around $300. Yes, that’s very expensive for headphones, but it’s well worth it in my opinion. As a matter of fact, I would consider that $300 purchase the second best investment I’ve made in my businesses (with the best being my Macbook 13″ laptop).
Why were these headphones such a great purchase? Well, my favorite place to work on my businesses is on the couch in my living room – however when my Dad is home he is always watching TV in that room. Of course, I get distracted easily and end up watching TV more than I’m working. However, these headphones allow me to sit on the comfortable couch and not be distracted by the TV as much. These headphones come in handy a lot more often than just that one scenario though. For example, when I ride the bus home from school every day I listen to business podcasts on my iPod. However, I could barely hear the podcast using the standard white Apple earbuds because the other kids are so loud. Now with my noise canceling headphones I barely hear any talking at all and can listen peacefully to my podcasts.
As an added benefit, these headphones make music sound really crisp. I honestly can’t say enough good things about these headphones. They really are a great buy despite the expensive price tag.
3) Work at the Best Time for You
Everyone has certain times that they are naturally more productive and certain times when they are naturally less productive. Some people are morning people while others are night owls. In order to find what times you are the most productive, just be aware of what times you work and how productive you are – eventually you will start to see patterns in the time you work compared to how much you get done.
Personally, I find it extremely hard to be productive until around 5pm. For some reason, during the mornings and afternoons I either am too tired to work or get distracted easier. However, the time when I am most productive is late at night. My most productive hours are between 10pm and 2am. In order to take advantage of my productive hours being late at night, during summer vacation I usually stay up until 6-7am working on my businesses and then sleep until 1-2pm! Yes I know that’s a ridiculously crazy schedule, and trust me it’s been tough to snap out of it and go back to a normal schedule now that I’m back in school! You don’t have to be as crazy as me to be productive though – just find out what times you’re more productive and do your best to make sure that is when you are working on your apps!
4) Utilize Productivity Apps
Since we’re all about app development – why not use some productivity apps to help us be more productive in making our own apps? Here are the two productivity apps I use and recommend:
This is a simple task management app that lets you create to-do lists and set due dates for tasks. The best part about it is that not only is that you can install Wunderlist on your iPhone, Android, Mac, and PC and sync your tasks between them. So if you think of something you need to do when you can’t do it right away, you can enter it in your phone and it will be there on your computer when you get a chance to work! Here is a Wunderlist tutorial to show you the way I use it.
Part of being productive is being organized, and Evernote is the best way for me to keep all my ideas organized. Evernote is an advanced notepad app that lets you sync notes between your iPhone, Android, Mac, and PC. I use Evernote to record app my app ideas as well as marketing ideas, and other random things that pop into my head. Here is an Evernote tutorial that I made. There are a lot of things you can do with Evernote besides what is included in this tutorial, but this is what I personally use it for.
If you are pressed for time as an app developer and you are coding the apps yourself, you may want to consider outsourcing this work to a freelancer using a site such as Elance. Doing this will free up your time to focus on the marketing side of app development as well as coming up with more ideas! For more information on whether outsourcing is right for you, check out my post on that topic here.
Although most of the time when people don’t think they have enough time to make apps, it’s just a common excuse. However, sometimes you are pressed for time and have to be productive if you want to have enough time to devote to you apps. Hopefully, by using a few of these tips, you will be able to make the most of what time you do have to be able to succeed as an independent app developer.
What are YOUR best productivity tips? Let me know in the comments section below!