Like all things in life, the greatest products require a longer process. When it comes to programming, this is especially true. As I reach the end of my journey at the Flatiron School, one thing is certain. I NEED to stop procrastinating.
In today's day and age, it is so easy to get distracted doing other things whether those things are productive or not. It's become a recurring theme where I am provided a task within a given time frame, and I initially tell myself,
This isn't that bad, I still have plenty of time so I can relax a little and focus on other things before I dive in.
Boy am I always wrong. Luckily, I always seem to pull it off at the end which is the very reason why I keep doing it. Even though I am completely stressed out by the end of the time frame, I still usually manage to pull it off. I'm sure this is a problem that a lot of people like myself tend to struggle with. So how exactly can we stop doing this?
A good method to start with is by adjusting your environment. If you are already working in an office, chances are that you don't really struggle with this. However, if you are working from home, like myself, the environment alone is enough to distract you. As of right now, I don't even have a desk, so I'm always either sitting on the edge of my bed, or my couch just working on my laptop. If this is also you, you can definitely try investing in a desk and office chair just to have a reliable working environment.
If getting a desk and office chair is out of the question, you can also try just working at the library or a Starbucks. Anywhere that'll put you into an environment where you can tell yourself,
Okay, now it is time to get to work.
Another method you can implement is by setting end-of-day goals that are reachable. When it comes to programming, this is especially easy to implement. When you are building your own full-stack application, it is easy to find a certain aspect that you want to complete by the end of the day whether it be completing the functionality of a page, or setting up a server.
This is a good method to implement because once you set these goals, as you approach the end of your day, you feel like you "have" to reach your goals. You can even plan ahead and set daily goals for the whole week at the beginning of the week to map out what you'll be working on each day.
When it comes to working on a big project like a full-stack application, it is so easy to be overwhelmed by the amount of work you have to complete. This is why it is important to take consistent breaks throughout your work shift. I've suffered through this personally where I work for multiple hours at a time and by the end of it, my eyes, brain, and temples are throbbing. I get to a point where I feel like I physically cannot keep working. This is discouraging and overall reduces productivity.
Taking breaks throughout your work shift will have you feeling refreshed after every break you take. A common practice amongst programmers is working for 30min, then taking a break for 5min. This keeps you from wanting to collapse at the end of the day.
Finally, and maybe the most crucial method to stop procrastinating is to hold yourself accountable. Personally, a lot of the times even though I am falling behind, I tell myself,
It's fine, I'll be able to catch up.
Even if it's true, I end up burning myself out and hating life by the end of it. This is why it is important to tell yourself,
This is not okay, I need to get to working.
At the end of the day, you are the only person that can keep yourself on track. This is why it is important to hold yourself accountable and stay focused.
Procrastination is probably one of the most dangerous work habits. Not only does it provide unnecessary stress, but a lot of the time, it produces products that are not at all to the best of your ability. To review, a couple methods we can implement to stop procrastinating include: adjusting your environment, setting daily goals, taking breaks, and holding yourself accountable. Using these 4 methods, you can stop. I believe in you!