Taking short (15 - 30 mins max) naps if and when I need them, which pretty dramatically helps me creatively problem solve.
Going for a long-ish walk outside. This is by far the absolute best thing I've added to my days. I feel more energized after, I mentally and emotionally am much happier, and physically it made me slightly fitter. Plus it helps relieve some of the problems I know I'm developing sitting all day.
Podcasts. This one I only do when I'm taking a break, I can't focus and get into a flow listening to other people talk about interesting topics. Awesome for those walks though.
Chat with other developers and friends on slack or some other messenger. Usually at some point during the day I'll have a 15 minute flurry of messages with a developer friend about some side project or something we think is cool.
And finally, this one is half work half fun, but I'll research something I think is cool or would be useful. Might be a service, framework, product, methodology, anything at all. I probably spend an hour or so of my work day, every other day, on researching something that's not an absolute necessity to the work, but might benefit it. In some cases it's paid off big time. Mostly though it just keeps me happy, interested, and hopefully a little sharper.
The primary driver is that you don't want to get into litigating how much time your salaried employees work. So most employers will tacitly ignore side projects, only coming after devs who write code that steals users or shifts revenue from their customers to a project that a dev claims to own. And that's pretty rare.
Do you have a real objective on those walks (ie getting groceries, lunch) ?
I like walking with non-gym clothes but only when I'm actually doing something in the way...
I can see how my way do the opposite for some people though, where the mental pressure valve for them is released by getting something else on their to do list done.
Noticed a lot of my pants were getting tighter 6 months ago and after several months of daily walks things are back to normal.
Try it some time.
-Software engineering daily & the other less frequent version
-shoptalk (mainly frontend)
-twenty percent time (mainly Laravel?)
-syntax (new show)
-full stack radio
-does not compute
(Would love some recommendations for more!)
-Tim Ferris (some episodes)
-Startups for the rest of us
-Mixergy Startup Stories
-DFJ ETL (Stanford entrepreneurship podcast)
- How I built this
For life and interesting topics:
- Tim Ferris
- Planet Money
- 99% invisible (haven't listened to much, but hear it's very good)
- Between World's (haven't listened to it much yet)
- How did this get made? (hilarious reviews of bad movies by a group of comedians with various guest comedians)
- Bill Burr (Like having a chat with your funniest friend that you go way back with)
Why would you use it? In my case, I find it helpful to go for example for a walk to clean up my head or deal with some private matters that are easier to do during working hours.
It also helps to write down the major things you want to do before you get in the office. When you get there, just start doing it rather than slowly warming up. Also I find that test-driven development helps get rid of this "warm-up" procrastination.
Not everyone can do this, but programmers can sometimes work themselves into that position (e.g. work for a place long enough that people don't question your hours.)
Though I would usually take a break for tea (with no computer) and occasionally a nap... I think those are productive uses of time.
Usually I look at this through my phone as I'm walking somewhere. Taking a 4-5 minute break for a walk is important because sitting all day is not healthy. Sometimes the walk has a purpose such as going to the coffee machine. Sometimes it's just randomly moving around then go back to my seat.
I sometimes prefer asking the hard questions, which we usually take for granted and try to get another perspective. Its fun and intellectually engaging when you actually sit down with a person and have a conversation rather than text!
what i meant here, is the "free time in office". I have struggled to learn something new at office since i am always surrounded by people and thats not how i learn. i like isolation when i am learning. Sorry i wasn't clear above. I didn't clearly distinguish the difference between office work productivity and free time productivity. (did i clarify ? :) )
It gives my brain a bit of a break to think about other things for a little while.
Just about everything else can be attributed to work-related socializing or efficiency enhancement.
Would love to see more answers to this.
Edit: Ok it's actually talking about contrast. With ironic low-contrast quotes.