1. 19
  1.  

  2. 21

    I often find, even when I’m interested in a subject I end up procrastinating all day instead of doing it.

    I have some form of background anxiety that prevents me from starting; maybe the scope is too big, or I worry about interruptions.

    Eitherway; the key piece of advice I shamelessly stole from Tom Limmoncelli’s book “Time Management for Systems Administrators” was to write down the first thing you will do the next day. Before anything else except the essential morning rituals (brush teeth, make coffee, do not check emails) and when I follow this advice I am generally more productive the whole day.

    If you find a subject thoroughly boring though, I don’t think any advice is really going to help.

    1. 7

      I also often find myself procrastinating. I started the Bullet Journal Method, and it kind of helps. In the morning I plan what need to be done, and at the end of the day I can review the progress/achievements I had.

      Pair programming always helps to get the nastiest work get done. Just need some mental support to get started on the really crap parts, or talk it over, to create a mental path through the unwanted parts. Also when doing research having someone who I can talk the progress of 2-8 hours of research over helps a lot.

      For me the positive feedback is needed to get up to speed and get into flow, or to provide reward after the hard work. In remote work this is not that trivial, while in the office when I was leading a team I always made sure my teammates got positive feedback from me, and they also instinctively provided it for me, and others, or help, if that was needed. I really miss the natural meta-communication present if personal meetings.

      1. 5

        Anxiety is the #1 problem for me. It’s so difficult to concentrate and get ‘in the zone’ when the project, company, or personal life seem in chaos. The global pandemic has been a real issue for me personally, even though I shut out all news, take breaks, exercise, etc. I have no idea if I am normal or some kind of bad dev :shrug emoji:.

        1. 5

          Anxiety definitely affects my ability to focus too. Sometimes I find that just taking the first small step helps, because often my anxiety is overblown, and even when my fears were accurate, action makes them less scary. Ymmv.

        2. 5

          Structured Procrastination can be an effective strategy for people like us.

          anyone can do any amount of work, provided it isn’t the work he is supposed to be doing at that moment

          The trick is to find some bigger, nastier task that you ought to be doing, and work on your smaller goals as a means of procrastinating on the big one.

          1. 6

            It’s a pretty delightful read, but I think on balance I’d rather focus on improving rather than outwitting my foibles.

          2. 2

            If you find a subject thoroughly boring though, I don’t think any advice is really going to help.

            But what do you do when you have to get the task done? Quit your job? Pay someone else to do it? Beg a teammate?

            1. 9

              Personal approaches: go for a quick walk, nothing long 10-15 minutes to clear your mind. On the way back pick the least bit of work you can think of to start. When you get in just start doing it.

              Or I do some push ups/jumping jacks/burpees/whatever just to get my body/brain into its time to do something mode and then start work.

              I find personally that just getting started tends to be my problem so this tactic tends to yield good benefits. To each their own.

              Or you might like my Grandpa’s view on things, he grew up through the Great Depression. Nobody likes cleaning the toilet, but if nobody does it it will never get done so you have to buck up and just get it done.

              1. 2

                I find personally that just getting started tends to be my problem

                Same here. The Pomodoro technique helps me start.

            1. 5

              Someone I know suffers from it; their experiences are worth reading for how it’s crippling yet no one takes it seriously.