How do you deal with procrastination?

Hey guys, i wonder how do you deal with procrastination? Ive been dealing with it since last year especially when im stuck on a problem and i just decide to watch something entertaining or play games.

Ive been struggling with this bad habit for a long time and its hard to focus on your work. Although i finished some apps but it took me couple of weeks to finish.

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I’ve also found its more difficult to focus when your in the same environment all the time. I have a few recommendations on how I’ve dealt with focus/procrastination in the past.

  1. Change your environment to promote focus
  2. Plan achievable, and reasonable goals for a given time frame, or directly schedule them
  3. Make it harder to get distracted

Change your environment to promote focus.

I used to find changing my environment from where I’d work to another place where I’d focus helped keep me focused at the task at hand. Your mind will automatically transition from “work” or “play” mode to “focus” mode if your in your “focus” environment. This might not be possible if your limited on space, but do what you can. Something as simple as cleaning off your desk, or changing a few things around to make it as much of a “focus” environment helps. Find what works for you, but I do recommend to making “more” changes than less. If your essentially in the same environment all the time, it will be harder to change your mindset. Just try what you can :slight_smile:

Plan achievable, and reasonable goals for a given time frame, or directly schedule them
I usually create a list of small and doable items I can tackle at any given time. So even if I can only focus on a given project for a few minutes out of a day, I have already setup myself up a list of things to focus on.
I also sometimes update my calendar with “blocks” of time to “do work”. Not a massive chunk of usually part of an hour so its much more reasonable and doable to spend that time focused at the task at hand, rather than get distracted. (This is very similar to the Pomodoro technique, which also could be used).

Make it harder to get distracted
This is probably the most obvious, and most effective way to keep you from getting distracted while your trying to focus. Eliminate sources of distractions, or make them harder to get into.
So for example, if you have a nice fun game on Steam waiting to play instead of what you want to focus on, log out of Steam, keep it closed so it has to update, and turn on 2FA so its more of a pain to login.
Or if your phone is just calling to be scrolled, put it on the other side of the room.
Or if you just need to see whats on your favorite social media, log out and turn on 2FA.

Some of these measures might work, or might be complete overkill. See what you can follow through on and you will find yourself more “bored” and really looking into what you want to focus on almost by default, as you made all distractions more work to get into.


I want to end with that its fine if your not developing 24/7 non-stop all the time. Most developers don’t do that, its more of a myth than a reality. Its fine to go get distracted, and relax and do other things.

Now if you can’t focus on what you need to focus on to get to your goals, then yes do what you need to do, to get what you want. Just be sure what you want is reasonable, and not some “mythical pro code” that just codes 24/7.

Good luck, keep building keep learning!

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Hi @nomnomcookie !

When I start coding for the day, I like to start with a small task that is enjoyable to do.

For example, if you like doing algorithm challenges maybe you can start your day with some of those.

Or if you are interested in working on a new feature for a project.

If there is an aspect about programming that you like then I would start with that.

Half of the battle is just getting started.

I used to use that same technique when I was in music school and was practicing 4-5 hours a day.

I always liked to start off with etude exercises that I enjoyed before tackling the rest the pieces on my to do list.

If I had started with something that I didn’t want to practice then I would just procrastinate.

You can see if that approach works for you. :grinning:

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Ultimately, this reflects larger issues in how your mind relates to work. There are a lot of materials out there to deal with this in a general sense, instead of thinking of it as a coding problem.

I am also not a big fan of “tricks” to prevent procrastination. If they work for you, go for it, but to me if something is work doing, it should be dealt with seriously and without turning it into a game. But that’s just me.

I’m someone that (like a lot of people) has struggled with motivation and procrastination. I find that the best thing for me is just to set small, easily reachable goals, like coding for at least 15 minutes a day - even on your busiest day you can find 15 minutes. Perhaps keep a diary or a log. At the end of each day, you appraise what you did that day and if you met your goals and think about what you will do the next day. You can do this while you are lying in bed.

To me this all boils down to discipline. To me, discipline is like a muscle - the more you use it, the stronger it gets. Start looking for opportunities in your life to exercise your discipline. Like recently I had to live away from my wife for a few years for a job. I started to fall into bachelor habits and there were always dirty dishes in the sink. I made a promise to myself that I would not go to sleep unless the dishes were done and the kitchen was clean. Now it’s a habit - I instinctively look into the kitchen as I get ready for bed.

It’s a muscle - develop it. It’s important to realize that discipline (like a muscle) is a finite resource and can get fatigued. Develop it, but even then you will need to let the small things slide and save it for what is important.

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Thank you for all the response. Keeping it with me.

I wait until it goes away. :stuck_out_tongue:

For me personally, over-thinking and over-planning is a real showstopper. I much prefer starting weak and finishing strong. If I start to think about it too much I just never get started. Implement a solution that works, then worry about the actual implementation later. Just so you do not get stuck on one thing for too long.

On the other hand, knowing when something is done is much harder because it’s never really done. So without some deadline (artificial or real), you might not ever really see it as done. Sometimes you just have to say “good enough” and move on.

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one of the things that helps me when i’m procrastinating is realizing that it’s a normal, human emotion and refrain from beating myself up for getting distracted or slacking a little. there are some obvious things that can help, such as getting enough sleep and staying hydrated, but a lot of it really boils down to your mindset.
tips for dealing with/overcoming procrastination:
1: congragulate/be proud of yourself
2: pace yourself
3: accomodate to yourself

i’ll go into a little more detail about the three tips i listed below

1: congragulate/be proud of yourself
this sounds incredibly cliche, and it is, but learn to be proud of yourself for ALL of your accomplishments no matter how small or “unimportant” they may seem. think of it this way: coding for 5 minutes is better than not coding at all. some days it’s easy to get out of bed and get right to coding other days it’s tough to just get out of bed in the first place, and that’s okay! it’s perfectly normal and human to have worse days than others- even machines that are built to function perfectly 100% of the time break and mess up occasionally

2: pace yourself
this goes hand-in-hand with my first point, but i put it nonetheless. like what @bradtaniguchi said, the whole “programmers eat, sleep, and breathe code” thing is just a myth and an unrealistic expectation. no matter what field someone is in, whether it’s tech, medical, or business, everyone needs time away from it. working longer being better. figure out a working schedule that works well for you and go with that

3: accomodate to yourself
everyone works, learns, and functions a little bit different. things that work for others may not work for you and that’s completely fine because there are so many different methods and options for everyone. honestly, one thing that’s really helped me is just trying out a ton of different things to determine what works for me and what doesn’t. also, keep in mind that there may not be any set method that works well for you, and that’s okay too. it’s normal and good to mix and match different parts of various methods to build something customized for you. at the end of the day, do what suits YOU.

anyways, that’s the end of my post. i apologize for how long it was, but hopefully it was able to help you somewhat. i wish you the best with your journey!

People usually mention what to DO when you procrastinate but I suggest to also try and attack the issue at it’s core. Read some psychology articles about it and really think WHY you procrastinate.

  • Are you just being lazy or do you do other productive things instead, like cleaning your room etc. Remember that humans rarely ARE lazy but they often ACT lazy so don’t feel bad, don’t tell yourself crap like: “I’m lazy and useless”.
  • Is it because you’re bored easily or are you a perfectionist afraid of a failure so it’s easier to not try at all?
  • Is it affected by poor diet or poor sleeping habits which affect how much energy you have for various tasks?
  • Do you have many distractions easily available for you? How can you reduce them or better control being tempted by them? I uninstalled any games and Steam on a laptop I study on and left social media for the duration of whole self-teaching process. I also leave my phone in another room when I study.
  • Find ways to reward yourself for ding what has to be done or just change your mindset a bit: instead of thinking “I’ll play a game instead of working” better think “I could play a game as a reward for doing X”. Subtle difference but it works better.

You get the idea. Sit down and really thing about it, maybe write it down to get a better picture. In some cases you may need to change your mindset, in some you may need to fix your lifestyle and in some others you may need to use all sorts of methods and tools others suggested here already. I used to struggle with this issue A LOT and I still do but MUCH much less at this point because I tackled such issues at the very core - my mind.