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Cover image for Ultimate & Short Guide to Stop Procrastinating

Ultimate & Short Guide to Stop Procrastinating

ilonacodes profile image Ilona Dee Codes ・3 min read

A few years ago, I wanted to do so much, but I just didn't. Instead, I did that thing called procrastination.

Otherwise known as “making excuses to do the easy things that won’t help me progress in life and then eventually having to do the thing I put off and feeling sorry for myself.”

I used to do this all the time on everything in my life.

But I turned that around, and in this post, I will share with you the practical ways how you can finally stop procrastinating.

"Life is about being happy, and to be happy, we have to be progressing."

So that's the thing...

I have learned that in life, there are going to be things we really don’t want to be doing, but we will eventually have to get them done either way around, and I understood that procrastination is the enemy of success. We can never use our time effectively to give us 100% in any field with procrastination. But it's possible to learn how to overcome procrastination.

So what can you do when you are tempted to procrastinate?

1. The best way to get something done is to begin

When you get any task or anything, just start to count from 5 to 1 like 5...4...3...2...1 and bang! Get up and do that task, don't think much.

2. Set deadlines

Without a deadline, you will never be going to accomplish any task. When you start any task keep a reasonable deadline time and try to finish that task by that time.

3. Divide and conquer

If the task looks big and you are afraid of the complexity, break it into small tasks and do it one by one. So when you finish the task you will gain confidence, empowerment, and happiness.

4. Manage your time

Arrange your tasks by efficiency and order of importance, so that you won’t have to think them through each time, you find a small-time slot available.

5. Think deeply about all the reasons why you could benefit by getting it done today

Will you have more spare time to engage in a fun activity this weekend? If you knock this item off your to-do list now, will you be able to work on your passion project tonight?.

6. Award yourself

I love tasty food. Even it's not that healthy. So whenever I finish a task without procrastinating, I award myself with some sweets, for example. And you can do the same.

7. Announce your plan

Tell somebody that you are going to finish some particular task in some defined time. So that you will complete the task without fail.

8. Don't multitask

When you pick up any task, take action on it, and set it aside when you’re finished.

By doing these actions, you will know exactly where you are and what you need to do at every step. You will continuously build on your successes and increase your confidence as you attack increasingly bigger tasks. As you will see yourself succeeding, your motivation will increase, causing you to work even harder. One success breeds another, and it all starts with the first step.

Thank you for reading! 🙏

P.S. Is there a specific struggle with procrastination you need help with? What have you tried in the past to solve this? Reply in the comments below!

If you want to find more information about which techniques will help you deal with procrastination, read my upcoming newsletter (+bonus networking cheat sheet).

You can also say "Hi" 👋 on Twitter

Code your best life!
Cheers, ilonacodes


Photo by Pixabay from Pexels

Discussion

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sarneeh profile image
Jakub Sarnowski

Thanks for the article!

One thing tho: point no. 7 doesn't work for everyone. For me, it's the opposite. Telling everyone my plans actually takes me away from doing it.

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ctrl_alt_aldr profile image
Christian | 🧑🏼‍💻

I've also found this, I'm not sure why.

I think when I talk about something I am working on, it's the short-term, feel-good dopamine hit at play? I'll ramble on giving a passionate description of my plan, and for a while I will feel inspired and motivated; they'll listen in and tell me how cool it is, and that feels good. But reciting my dreams doesn't help me progress towards achieving them...

I've switched to playing my cards close, because if I want to showcase something, I want it to at least be finished. Or at the very least a sizeable chunk, useable or able to be demonstrated.
My mind is flooded with ideas, but it's taking action on them that's important.

I understand the point of telling people so that you would be accountable, but the truth is no one really ever follows up or cares for a progress update. Though, that could say more about the people I keep in my circle than anything. So knowing there is no true accountability at play (They haven't seen anything yet, after-all), I end up procrastinating my ideas into the ground.

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shaunagordon profile image
Shauna Gordon

There's actually research to back this. Researchers found that the brain equates telling people with actually doing the thing, thus killing the motivation to actually do it.

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ctrl_alt_aldr profile image
Christian | 🧑🏼‍💻

Interesting, I will have to look into it deeper at some point; But yeah killing motivation sounds about right. I'll be impassioned whilst talking about it, then a day later just not feel like making any progress on project x or pushing it off to another day (rinse and repeat)

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ilonacodes profile image
Ilona Dee Codes Author

I found it a good idea to have a person or a few people who will hold you accountable actively by asking you how’s that plan going on, and maybe even doing a proper retrospective every few weeks.

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ctrl_alt_aldr profile image
Christian | 🧑🏼‍💻

I can totally see how it can help people, don't get me wrong - I've seen it work and logically it should; I've just not had any luck with it, but it could just be me.
It could be the environment I'm in, I'm not surrounded with other devs or anyone very close, so my idea-spewing ends up with people who might not understand most of what I'm trying to convey.

That aside, great post and article, so thanks for sharing! :)

I really resonate with 4, 6 ( Sometimes we just have to treat ourselves ) and lately found 8 to be a very important step. I try to 'reset' my work environment be it for web dev, game dev, or something physical, so at the end of a session code gets pushed up to the repo, folders sorted and applications closed, with a revised TODO or note in place for the next time I visit the task. I find it avoids clutter and noise - allowing me to easily dive into a project next time without distraction.

1 is a great point too, and something I want to adopt into tackling procrastination. I do something similar to fight anxiety - and it helps.

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ilonacodes profile image
Ilona Dee Codes Author

Have you tried to find something like an accountability buddy?

(accountability buddy—a person who has similar goals or interests, and you’d be both happy to see each other succeed, and you’d meet with that person to discuss each other’s progress on your long-term goals periodically)

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ctrl_alt_aldr profile image
Christian | 🧑🏼‍💻

I haven't to be honest (nor has it crossed my mind) I normally avoid exploring such things due to ... well, anxiety XD But as I work through that and try to grow as a person (and developer) it certainly makes sense.

Thanks for the idea, I will try it

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0nomat0

Thank you -- nice article -- helpful points!

I have the same feeling about talking about my ambitions -- that it can drain the drive of action. And it's nice to save that satisfaction of showing others (rather than telling them) as its own sort of reward. But I do have one close friend in particular with whom I share.. well, everything.. and when I tell them about a commitment, it feels somewhat sacred that I follow through with it. And they hold me accountable in a casual way that I usually find tolerable.

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Kevin Kirchner

Yes, this is because we get satisfaction from others knowing what we're working on (whether we finished it or not). They don't need to know the whole story for us to get a good dose of dopamine from telling them how awesome we are [maybe going to be]...

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Kral Balkizar

Strange. I strongly agree with that point in article. If I already told somebody about what I'm gonna do and when I will have it done, it is much more motivation for me as I don't wanna be seen like some looser and idiot :D

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sarneeh profile image
Jakub Sarnowski

What's strange for you may be normal for me and vice versa :)

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Muhammad Ali Kazmi

Yes its said by people that if you announce to someone that gives you a feeling of accomplishment just by telling them and you end up not doing that.

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Aadi Bajpai

I'll read it later 😛

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johnfound

What is wrong with the procrastination?

My very important rule is "If you don't know what to do, do nothing."

It makes my life much more peaceful and less stressful. And I am still not burned out for more than 35 years work in programming.

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Gabrielski

Subscribe!

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Kyle Nickel

Whenever I’m procrastinating, it tends to be centered around planning and thinking about everything involved in the upcoming process. That generally leads to believing that I’ll have more time tomorrow to accomplish such a task.

But, if I just focus on starting the process it helps overcome the want to put it off until later. I always make it something simple. For example, if I need to put up a new fan in the house, I’ll tell myself to just get the box into the room and read the instructions.

This usually leads to me pulling everything out and beginning work, since I’ve already started. Before I know it, the fan is up and going and the feeling of accomplishment is there.

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0nomat0 profile image
0nomat0

I like to think of a little twig fire, and the way it grows and grows

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Frédéric Harper

I'll read it tomorrow.

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labibllaca profile image
labibllaca

The part of "Award yourselfe" I do like most :D, is probably the reason to make me start doing stuff.

Eventhough there are 1000+ articles in the net, it's nice to be remebered with some nice new article once in a time.

Thanks Ilona.

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Alexey Migutsky

Thanks for you article, it's a very good reflection!

I would just note that you may be missing out emotional part, though it's covered a bit in points 5 and 6. "Debugging" your motivation and all sources, influencing your emotional state, is as important as setting up a productivity routine.

Another big source of procrastination are fears and limiting beliefs we have (I've just posted an article here on dev.to on that topic). They may be ingrained in our thinking process and implicit at the beginning, but this is what can be uncovered with awareness and mindful introspection.

A good starting point for such a debugging would be this service: whydoiprocrastinate.com/

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edijaloedoc

Don't multitask is the biggest one for me. I think I'm doing so much in the moment, and then an hour later I look back and realize 'there are a bunch of legos on the ground and now I have to pick them up.' The other is telling people my plan, I find it better to just DO... even when people you care about are asking.

Wonderful post with some great tips.

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J. Jordan Stivers

Same for me. I juggle 5 things and it takes 5x longer than if I just focused on one at a time.

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boltc0rt3z profile image
Bolton

What an awesome article, Thank you🤗.

On point 7, I don't think you have to announce your plans cause personally on my side it has the opposite effect.

I believe you shouldn’t entirely share your goals and plans simply for the fact of avoiding negative energies coming your way from people who are either skeptical or don’t wish you success, people with negative envy towards other people success.

However, if it works for anyone then do what you have to do.

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hongping

How to handle unfinished task when the deadline is up? For e.g., I set a small task of 20 minutes, and failed to complete it, should I push out all scheduled tasks and complete this? Or, I should set aside the task and moved on, only revisit the task later on?

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Lautaro Lobo

Those are exactly the thing I do to get things done. Lucky me, I realized that I was procrastinating early in my career, so things didn't end like a mess, I stopped before.

Thanks for sharing this insights Ilona!

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Fawad Ali

Nice and very easy solution I will try to follow in my coming days..

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Joe

I will be using these tips to come up with a project completion plan. One that not only includes deadlines, but one that also highlights my reason for wanting to complete said project.

Thanks for this.

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Christian Sirolli

I'll read this later

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Michiel Hendriks

Reading this article feels ironic :)

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mdhesari profile image
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MonicaDJohnson

Thank you! This a great read with awesome advice.

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Aniket

Great Article! First we create habits and then habits create us... This is what my personal and professional life experience.

Cheers
Aniket Mhala

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ConstantFun

The struggle is so real.

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Loki Le DEV

Thanks for the tips, point 1 is from the book "the 5 second rule" by the way.

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Eduardo de la Garza Guerra

Hi, is the quote "Life is about being happy, and to be happy, we have to be progressing." yours? I want to save it but I dont want to miss attribute it. Thanks!

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Kevin Kirchner

Is it ironic that I'm reading (and commenting on) this right now because I have something I could be working on but am not...