Avoiding Procrastination: Strategies for Developers

Before we attempt to address this issue, it is important to ensure that we all have a unified understanding of what it implies. According to an online search, procrastination is defined as “the act of delaying or postponing something”. This definition is accurate and it can be used to describe the feeling or thought process of wanting to put something off, even if it is necessary and would be beneficial in the future. It is when we are persuaded to postpone doing something that procrastination occurs.

Then, why do we put things off? Let’s check out a few explanations for this.

  1. That whatever you are doing is very uninteresting.

    It is likely that procrastination is the primary cause of us failing to pursue activities that would bring us great personal satisfaction. When we reflect on this, we can see how ridiculous it is; the activities we delay most are often the ones that bring us the most satisfying outcomes. We are less likely to invest our time in these pursuits, even though they frequently involve tackling the most pressing challenges. It is worth pausing to think about why this is the case.

    It is understandable that when attempting to achieve a lofty objective, individuals may not be cognizant of the magnitude of the endeavor and the level of motivation necessary to succeed. According to BJ Fogg, a behavioral scientist at Stanford University, our brains are more inclined to favor immediate rewards over those that are further down the road. This suggests that we subconsciously prioritize present gratification over potential future benefits.

    As you embark on your programming journey, it is important to remember where you came from. When you began writing code, you likely had grand expectations that your program would be ready to launch to millions of users within a few weeks. However, you likely did not anticipate that the development process would take several months. After starting to write code, you likely started setting smaller goals for yourself, such as constructing a great user interface with HTML and CSS. By achieving these goals, you have joined the ranks of esteemed software developers.

    If you are finding it difficult to stay motivated while completing a project, it is recommended that you break the work down into smaller, more manageable pieces. This will help you to focus on one task at a time and make it easier to stay on track. Additionally, if you are struggling to understand what needs to be done, it is suggested that you seek assistance from teachers, peers and other developers who may have experience in completing similar projects.

    Now that you have established the necessary steps to reach your ultimate goal and have a clear understanding of how to achieve it, you may reward yourself for completing each stage. Consider a reward that is achievable and attainable, something that will motivate you to continue on your journey. As you accomplish your mini-goals, give yourself a satisfactory reward that will reinforce the pleasure of moving closer towards your ultimate objective.

    It is not necessary to reward yourself for your efforts. If you did not understand the implications of the reward, this prize is intended to provide a swift feeling of gratification. This is the kind of small accomplishment that your brain is constantly striving to achieve without you being aware of it. The concept of “Trigger -> Task -> Celebration” is used to illustrate this idea.

    It is clear that the duty at hand serves as a motivator. What could be the source of this peculiar phenomenon? If one chooses to provide themselves small, immediate rewards for each task they accomplish, their brain will be driven to obtain the reward, resulting in a singular focus on the activity that has prompted the reward. The action taken is the effort put into completing the task, and the reward is the feeling of satisfaction for having done so. The celebration is the treat given to oneself once the job is completed.

    A piece of chewing gum, a favorite food, a cup of coffee, or a video game would all be appropriate for this little celebration.
  2. The prospect of failure worries us.

    We are all too familiar with the tendency to procrastinate when faced with a task that carries with it any degree of potential for failure. In the face of uncertainty, our enthusiasm quickly diminishes, leading us to convince ourselves that it is better to delay the task until later rather than tackling it in the present. This kind of avoidance behaviour is ultimately counterproductive, as it prevents us from learning from our mistakes and growing.

    As you reflect on the day you first entered the world of software engineering and wrote your first line of code, consider how far you have come since then, and the various times you have been knocked down yet still managed to get back up. Without a doubt, it is impossible to reach this point in your career without having encountered some form of failure. The key to effectively bouncing back from such experiences is to do so in an expedited manner.

    I must admit that the fear of failure can be overwhelming, considering the potential negative repercussions that could follow. It is important to acknowledge that failure is a part of life and can be seen as a valuable opportunity for growth. Failure is merely a way to learn and provides an opportunity to try again.

    Startups in Silicon Valley have a simple secret: if something doesn’t work, try something else quickly.
  3. No one here has any idea how to get started.

    At times, it can be difficult to determine what is necessary to complete a task successfully. As a result, if we are unsuccessful in our endeavours, we can offer the excuse that we were unable to identify the requirements early enough. Furthermore, it is important to recognise that we all have an equal amount of time in a day to utilise, and thus, it is beneficial to develop efficient routines and habits in order to optimise the time we are allocated.

    As software engineers, we regularly face complex problems that require us to think outside the box in order to find solutions. We are sometimes asked to build upon the work of esteemed colleagues who have gone before us, yet we may be at a loss as to how to access their material.

    Seeking out mentors, engineers, and developers who possess more experience than you can be a great way to gain insight into how to efficiently break down challenging processes. This can help you to quickly identify a starting point and avoid feeling overwhelmed or stuck.

    As a result of our discussion, I have faith that we now understand the causes of our procrastination and the steps we may take to overcome it.

It is evident that productivity is a major factor in the success of an individual and of the company. Therefore, it is important not to overlook the fact that the amount of time it takes to complete a task can have a significant impact on the business. If a task which could be completed by an employee with similar qualifications in two days, takes a week to be finished, it could have a detrimental effect on their employment and the company’s bottom line. Therefore, it is necessary to make the effort to fight against such inefficiency.

Due to the nature of your profession, it is important that you start working on that large-scale project without any further delay. As a highly-skilled software developer, your primary role is to identify and rectify any issues for your clients. It does not matter what your motivation was to pursue a career in software development, the key point to remember is that you must be able to come up with solutions.

It is possible that we can be more successful in overcoming procrastination if we develop the habit of rewarding ourselves for our hard work, learn to accept failure without being disheartened, and strive to gain clarity in our actions even when we are uncertain of the outcome. Doing so may help us in our efforts to combat procrastination and achieve our goals.

Related Article: Here Are 7 Strategies for Supervisors to Improve the Efficiency of Their Remote Employees

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