The other day I was reading this blog post about productivity for programmers written by a former id software employee named Hook. While working at id software, Hook interacted with the legendary John Carmack. He noticed Carmack was magnitudes more productive than other programmers, and he realized the key to productivity is working hard and keeping focus.
Hook gives some good actionable info on how to keep focus towards the end, but first he talks about how John Carmack used a CD player to measure his productivity:
I remember Carmack talking about productivity measurement. While working he would play a CD, and if he was not being productive, he'd pause the CD player. This meant any time someone came into his office to ask him a question or he checked email he'd pause the CD player. He'd then measure his output for the day by how many times he played the CD.
Instantly, I saw a parallel between the CD player and WakaTime. Checking WakaTime at the end of the day gives you a measurable number of hours that you spent inside your text editor.
The next step is to graph each day's hours over the last week or month. You will quickly see how today's productivity compares to your recent productivity. Without a measurement of your productivity there is no way to notice improvements or changes.
CD player method or WakaTime, measuring your work is the first step to increasing your focus and improving your productivity.