9 Simple Productivity Tips for Computer Science Students

As a CS per­son, you’re like­ly to be busy most of the time, and you will have to deal with a lot of tasks fre­quent­ly.

In such a sit­u­a­tion, pro­duc­tiv­i­ty doesn’t remain an option for you but becomes a neces­si­ty. You might have tried oth­er meth­ods and you may even be the most effi­cient per­son around. But there are a few things that often go unno­ticed.

There are always some defects in your habits which can be fixed and the chances for improve­ment are always high.

Just in case you think productivity isn’t an issue

You may use busy­ness as an excuse for your idle­ness but the care­less­ness and indis­ci­pline like­ly pay-off. Doing the wrong things and expect­ing to get the right results is just anoth­er way you can use to fool your­self.

How long do you expect your­self to sur­vive by using the same age old meth­ods?

You can­not get much far­ther if you keep labor­ing all day with­out hav­ing a spe­cif­ic pat­tern of doing things. That would be like inten­tion­al­ly poi­son­ing your suc­cess.

To be clear, pro­duc­tiv­i­ty decides the dif­fer­ence between work and right work.

Until you pay heed to pro­duc­tiv­i­ty, you’re sim­ply labor­ing use­less­ly like a moron. What’s even worse is that the use­less work you do feels like work too. It often becomes easy to get stuck in a rut and fail to dis­tin­guish what real­ly mat­ters from the junk.

Occa­sion­al­ly set­ting aside some time for work­ing on new ideas and inno­vat­ing can save you hours of hard-work and frus­tra­tion.

One good way to do be pro­duc­tive is to first ana­lyze your needs and then decide your pri­or­i­ties and meth­ods accord­ing­ly. If you just devel­op a mind-set that aims at mak­ing things eas­i­er and get­ting more work done, you can prob­a­bly sky­rock­et your chances of suc­cess.

We’ve made this list to make you real­ize the poten­tial of some sim­ple habits that can sig­nif­i­cant­ly make you pro­duc­tive.

These are just the usu­al ordi­nary things which are often tak­en light­ly and are under­es­ti­mat­ed. Use these ways to increase your pro­duc­tiv­i­ty and ease your life.

1. Touch typing

Most peo­ple feel the need for touch typ­ing but don’t care about learn­ing it, or at least they don’t try to.

It’s painful in the begin­ning to resist the urge of let­ting all fin­gers loose like wild bulls on the key­board, but things have to be start­ed some­where. Stop your attempts to devel­op your fin­ger-mus­cles by mer­ci­less­ly pok­ing the key­board with your index fin­gers and learn to type like a gen­tle­man.

Unfor­tu­nate­ly, most pro­fes­sion­als are bound to waste their time because they nev­er real­ize the impor­tance of a sim­ple skill like touch typ­ing. Per­haps they pre­fer ignor­ing the poten­tial need of this skill, which lat­er drags them each time they need to type some­thing.

You’ll need to type mails, write long arti­cles, or doc­u­ment your tasks. You see, you can’t afford not typ­ing prop­er­ly. Fol­low the con­ven­tion­al typ­ing method for a few days until you even­tu­al­ly build up an inter­est for it. Then invest some days to learn­ing this skill sin­cere­ly to watch it reap its ben­e­fits for the rest of your life.

Touch typ­ing is always worth learn­ing, and is cool any­way. God gave us ten fin­gers so that we can type prop­er­ly — use them.15 min­utes prac­tice on Typ­ing­mas­ter for about two weeks would be enough to improve your typ­ing speed.

2. Keyboard shortcuts (use them)

Well, do you know that Win­dows key + E opens the file explor­er in Win­dows Oper­at­ing Sys­tems and that Ctrl + Shift + T reopens a closed brows­er tab in Mozil­la Fire­fox?

If not, you must.

The key­board short­cuts might seem con­fus­ing but once you start using them and get famil­iar with them they become your best-friends.

The habit of using short­cuts can make you insane­ly pro­duc­tive by get­ting most of the jobs com­plet­ed using the key­board itself. This reduces the need for repeat­ed­ly using the mouse and hence saves you from a bit of incon­ve­nience.

You don’t need to mem­o­rize all short­cuts that exist. Just have a glance at the ones avail­able on the inter­net and use that you find most use­ful.

How­ev­er, you can ben­e­fit from short­cuts only when you make using them a habit. We’ve seen sev­er­al peo­ple who know that Ctrl + S is save, and yet they tire the poor cur­sor again and again. Don’t be among those peo­ple.

Check out this list of key­board short­cuts on Wikipedia if you need.

3. Manage windows effectively

Most peo­ple fail to use win­dows for their own ben­e­fits. They don’t use them cor­rect­ly. Here, we aren’t talk­ing about the Microsoft Win­dows but the win­dow fea­ture of any Oper­at­ing Sys­tem.

Using win­dows is an art few peo­ple know about. You must know when you should min­i­mize win­dows or when you should make them appear side by side depend­ing upon the kind of work you’re doing.

For exam­ple, if you’re doing HTML in notepad and refer­ring a PDF at the same time, then you can use them side by side instead of min­i­miz­ing and max­i­miz­ing them again and again. This way you can con­cen­trate more on the work than min­i­mize-max­i­mize.

The same is applic­a­ble to the browsers where you should open a new tab when­ev­er nec­es­sary, or keep the file explor­er on the screen if you need to refer it again and again. Prac­tice what works for you and make the most out of the win­dows fea­ture.

4. Use private window of the browser

Isn’t it tire­some to log-out and log-in your account from the brows­er each time your rel­a­tive or neigh­bor asks you to check his email?

Or isn’t it frus­trat­ing when you mis­tak­en­ly click on those fat-bel­ly ads, which then appear every time in your browser’s his­to­ry until you delete them?

Pri­vate win­dow is a bless­ing to keep your brows­er filled with only the things that mat­ter, like favorite book­marks or arti­cles. Only a few impor­tant sites should find an abode in your his­to­ry.

If you think that the next term you’re going to Google search is “which brand does Justin Beiber wear?” then it can prob­a­bly be searched in a pri­vate win­dow since it isn’t so impor­tant to you.

Also, you can use mul­ti­ple accounts in your brows­er with­out log­ging out from the one that is remem­bered. So using a pri­vate win­dow can also help you in deal­ing with the accounts of both­er­ing rel­a­tives.

Alright, we’re kid­ding, but it’s real­ly help­ful.

5. Set up a second monitor

Well, to be truth­ful; we don’t com­plete­ly enter­tain this tip.

The only rea­son we’ve includ­ed it is that sev­er­al CS peo­ple claim that using a sec­ond mon­i­tor has proved to be a life­saver for them. Since two mon­i­tors can han­dle mul­ti­ple win­dows at a time they’re often used to avoid some sort of man­u­al work.

Which means, instead of switch­ing between the apps, all you have to do is just turn your head a bit, take a look, and get back to work.

Cool and lazy!

If you’ve got a sec­ond mon­i­tor which you think can ease your work then there’s no harm in try­ing it out. Nev­er­the­less, it’s bet­ter to use your old mon­i­tor if you have one rather than let­ting it gath­er dust.

6. Get a mouse

You think we’re kid­ding? Not real­ly.

Although a mouse is required by the desk­top users, we’re talk­ing here about the lap­top users.

Touch­pads are con­ve­nient but they aren’t a bet­ter option than mice. A mouse gives you the free­dom to move your hand around with­out any restric­tion, where­as the touch pad keep you stuck to a tiny rec­tan­gle.

Just because there’s already a touch­pad on your lap­top doesn’t mean that you shouldn’t use a mouse. Buy a decent mouse and car­ry it along with your lap­top acces­sories. When it comes to deal­ing with the cur­sor, the mouse nails it. The tasks that require high pre­ci­sion are eas­i­er to do using a mouse than a touch­pad.

Nonethe­less, a mouse gives you a greater con­trol over things and it is still much prefer­able than its alter­na­tives.

7. Optimize that mouse

It’s aston­ish­ing to us to see that some peo­ple nev­er both­er to change their mouse set­tings after they pur­chase a com­put­er. They sim­ply use what­ev­er they were giv­en, like a pup­pet.

What­ev­er might be the rea­son, what we want to say is that using a slow-mov­ing mouse feels the like drag­ging a slug on the screen. This pain has to be got­ten rid of. Ease things a bit by mak­ing your mouse swift, speed­ing it up and let­ting the cur­sor free.

Also, change the set­tings to a sin­gle click if pos­si­ble. A ‘Click!’ is eas­i­er and bet­ter than ‘Click! Click!’   So why waste time on an extra ‘Click!’ hun­dreds of times a day? Opti­mize your mouse to make the best pos­si­ble use of it to increase your pro­duc­tiv­i­ty.

8. Keep a list of some favorite sites

This is an essen­tial step to stay focused and com­mit­ted to a spe­cif­ic set of tasks.

Find out the sites that suit you the best in terms of learn­ing or read­ing and stay loy­al to them. This is what pro­duc­tive peo­ple do. They clear­ly under­stand how prob­a­ble dis­trac­tion is and take this pre­cau­tion.

A few select­ed sites for learn­ing pro­gram­ming, keep­ing up with the trends, and learn­ing addi­tion­al skills would be enough. Con­stant­ly switch­ing between sites not only cre­ates a clut­ter but also pre­vents you from get­ting work done.

Once the thought of hunt­ing the best options enters your mind, you start dig­ging the whole inter­net and get trapped in the habit of tast­ing every­thing with­out achiev­ing any­thing mean­ing­ful.

In order to avoid this, rely only on a few cho­sen sites which are capa­ble of ful­fill­ing your needs, are inter­est­ing, or are the ones which you love.

9. Marry Google

Yes, do that.

No, we aren’t ask­ing you to offer a mar­riage pro­pos­al to the Google guys but to build a life­long rela­tion­ship with Google. That’s because you’ll need it again and again.

It’s a com­pan­ion who will always be there for you dur­ing hard times, when you don’t under­stand some­thing and it will enter­tain you when you’ll get bored. But above every­thing, it’s a one stop solu­tion for most of your prob­lems.

When­ev­er prob­lems arise, you can be assured about get­ting their solu­tion on Google. The habit doing a Google search can unde­ni­ably con­tribute to your pro­duc­tiv­i­ty. Embrace Google and make it a part of your life. You won’t regret it. Here’s a guide to help you become a Google pow­er user.

We would love to hear from you

Are you using cer­tain meth­ods which you think make you more pro­duc­tive? Which do you think are some ways for com­put­er sci­ence stu­dents to be pro­duc­tive but are often under­es­ti­mat­ed?

Leave a com­ment and let us know.


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