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My name is Luke Foust, Software Developer at Microsoft

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  • Any time management training courses out there for engineers? Or any good tips on how I can become better at it?

    Been working as SDET at Microsoft for the past 3 months. My performance has been ok. I actually believe I am good at my job, but sometimes I feel my time management skills, or lack thereof, is hurting my growth. If I had better time management skills, I can be top of my team.

    I want to invest time (ironic, I know) in getting better in this area of my work life. Any suggestions for courses? I have no expectations so feel free to tell me about online courses (free and paid), events, classes, basically all. Thank you everyone on CareerDean!

    Luke Foust's avatar image.

    I think the two key principals here are:

    1. Avoid interruptions / context switching2. Don't take on too much work

    For avoiding interruptions, I think something like the pomodoro technique (http://pomodorotechnique.com/) can be helpful. Basically being able to set aside chunks of time where you close email/facebook/twitter and just concentrate on one task

    As for taking on too much work, I don't have any books or techniques to recommend - just some advice from my personal experience. When you first join a new team you start to ramp up on their code base and practices. Once you begin to master that you become a productive member of the team. But then, over time, you start to take on more responsibilities. Maybe you take on a new feature, or start to own a new area like code coverage or performance testing. These things in themselves are great and you should always make yourself useful to your team by doing your part. The problem comes when you get too many of these responsibilities that you no longer have the time to do them all well. Just remember this - it is easy to take on new responsibilities but very hard to give them back ;)

    One last note - Don't fall prey to the common mistake of "Working more hours will make me more productive". That is simply not true. Sure, you may get more done and may even find some success in your career - but it will be at the cost of the rest of your life. Being more productive means doing more with the time you are working - not adding more hours.