How to Fight Against Procrastination
Week 84 of Founding Typogram
Hi friends, I am taking some time off to relax and recharge this week. I couldn’t help but feel a little guilty about not working, but I made myself feel better by telling myself that in a few days, I would be more productive and make up for the lost time with ultra-focus and hyper-productivity.
I am someone who is always under-vacationed, even before I quit my cushy tech job that allowed unlimited vacation days. I felt insecure about going on vacation while others were working because “I need to pull my own weight on the team.” I felt worried about taking a vacation while others were taking vacations because there might not be enough hands on deck. This ridiculous dilemma kept me from embracing an annual vacation routine for years, but recently I found myself needing vacation more than ever. Maybe it is an age thing? I also have my own company now, so I don’t need to prove that I pull my weight; the weight is always on the founder. The only thing I need to solve is not having enough hands on deck; if you find an in-app message inside Typogram not answered promptly in the past week, I am the one who answers them, and my apologies! I am looking to solve that!
In the meantime, enjoy this post on productivity from my archive.
Avoiding Procrastination Before Our Grand Launch
Hi friends, a few months ago, I shared what I did to get through stressful times. Since the last few weeks, My co-founder and I have been working intensely toward the grand launch later this month. So for this week, I want to share more personal experiences and techniques on another nemesis of mine: Procrastination.
When I first started working on my startup, I loved the idea of being fully in charge of my schedule. Soon, it dawned on me that I would be 100% responsible for my time, task, and productivity. Other than my co-founder, completing everything and meeting milestones are 100% my responsibility. I procrastinate due to stress and anxiety with deadlines. As I’m inching closer to a grand launch for Typogram, I’m trying extra hard to avoid procrastination.
If you are like me, here are a few tips I’m using to avoid procrastination.
I discovered the Pomodoro Technique when I was a graduate student in art school and doing my thesis. The Pomodoro Technique is a time management method based on 25-minute stretches of focused work sessions, with 5-minute break sessions.
When I have trouble getting into the work zone, I use the Pomodoro Technique in a way that helps me get into the flow. As part of my work routine, I usually start writing down my to-dos the night before and start my Pomodoro sessions the next day. A very effective strategy is starting the work session by debugging a minor bug – a quick-to-fix issue.
Solving a small problem like this gets me into the coding workflow and provides enough “inertia” for me to continue doing other tasks. I will keep working without the 5-minute breaks if I get into a deep flow state. Sometimes, the 5-minute break sessions don’t work for the type of person I am and are disruptive to my workflow. It is not strictly Pomodoro technique without the 5mins break, but this way of using Pomodoro helps me. You can use the technique in whichever way as long as it works for you!
Additional Strategies that Help Me
Touch it once
“Touch it Once” is the philosophy that you complete the task as soon as you touch it the first time, and avoid “touching it twice” which means you schedule it to be completed at later times.
The “Touch it once” philosophy helps me with smaller and trivial tasks tremendously, especially with things like emails or Slack messages. Once I open, aka. “touch” an email or Slack message, I respond right away. If I receive the email at odd hours, I draft the answer right away and then schedule the send.
Don’t waste time and energy touching the same material twice — taking email as an example, touching it twice would mean you have to read and think about it twice. “Touch it once” helps reduce the time required for finishing these tasks. It also helps me to be a more responsive communicator, and I get compliments on this all the time. It shouldn’t be a surprise that people are generally very delighted to get a response within 5 mins after they send it. It takes no extra effort on my part — I just happen to be on my phone when I got the notification.
Not committing code at the end of the day
This one may be controversial: after a long day of coding, I would leave the last batch of code edits uncommitted and finish it up the next day.
After I commit code, it feels like a clean state, and there is no immediate action to take afterward. It takes me longer to get back into the coding the next day. Not committing the code allows me to look at uncommitted changes very easily (in VS Code) and that gives me a quick reminder of what I was working on.
The uncommitted code is either not finished, which I can pick up the rest of the task right away; or it is ready to commit, which I can take a quick win right off the bat the next morning by committing them. Either way, I am back into the coding flow much faster.
Hear from you
What’s your routine to avoid procrastination?
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