"I just go check the headlines on my favorite news sites and then I start my productive day.. and I drink this cup of coffee."
.. 2 hours later.
"Just this one headline, then I'm ready."
.. 2 hours later.
"Damn, where did the day go all of a sudden?"
Of course the solution is to first do the work and then read the news.. but that's the rational part of my brain speaking - not the sleepy, non-morning person persona of myself.
Of course ToDo lists, interesting tasks, deadline pressure and gamification work. Like pretending to be a character in an RPG - playing the game of my life. And then come up with ideas on how to level, quest and progress with the tasks/projects I have. Questlog: You have leveld up. You are now a level 14 code conjurer. You have completed the quest: Subjugate the data.. And then come up with fun side-quests (rewards) that I can only unlock at specific levels or after a particular quest is completed - like building a project RPG gamification tracker utility.
On the other hand, I am very productive once the day is over and I sit in front of the screen at night in the natural light of my computer screen, so there is that.
My most productive days are the ones that start at 5am with a run, followed by a shower, meditation, and writing up a list of things I want to accomplish that day. Then I start working with my noise cancelling headphones and my flow-state playlist. It's very deliberate from start to finish.
My least productive days are the ones where I roll out of bed randomly, when the sun has been up for a while, and sit down at my desk still in my pajamas. HN or YouTube tend to be my first tasks of the day, and sometimes I don't get to any others. These types of days seem to be something that's happening to me, rather than something I'm choosing.
I struggle with depression, and I find the second kind of day is a feedback loop of anxiety and procrastination. The first kind of day is a virtuous cycle of productivity and serenity.
That 5am alarm is the best way I know to set the whole thing in motion.
I think it is breaking for lunch that does it. When I didn't have any team mates in my office and I'd just eat at my desk I'd still get good work done after eating. Now I have team mates in the same office as me and we go for a "proper" lunch break - something about stopping and then having to go back to work I guess.
I learned a few years ago that defying my internal clock even has physical effects such as poor digestion and terrible stomach pain. The popular advice to rise early is harmful in my case.
In the mean time, I think, need for sleep is like appetite: some have more, some have less.
In the similar way, taking a nap doesn't mean that you sleep more, just that you schedule your sleep differently.
The flip side is the more productive my day is, typically the more tired I am, and the more likely I am to be moving slowly the next morning.
Late Night Tales Presents Sasha: Scene Delete 
Ulrich Schnauss & Jonas Munk: Passage 
Jon Hopkins: Opalescent 
HVOB & Winston Marshall: Silk 
Anything at all by HVOB. HVOB is the golden stuff.
All of Tycho's albums
Any of Tycho's Burning Man mixes on SoundCloud 
Kiasmos: Blurred 
Vermont: II 
Bonobo: Migration  (or any other Bonobo)
Tosca: No Hassle  (or any other Tosca)
- Find something you like on iTunes, Spotify, whatever.
- Use the ‘start a radio station based on this song’ feature.
- When that plays something you also like, add it to your library. Keep playing it.
- If it’s a single track on an album, just add the album. The wonderful thing about modern streaming services is that you can speculatively add stuff and, if you don’t like it, just remove it. It doesn’t cost you anything! (That’s amazing, by the way.)
- iTunes learns. Keep doing this.
- By now, the Friday morning ‘for you’ playlist also has good stuff. Give that a chance. ‘Love’ the stuff you love. Add the albums with tracks you liked. iTunes keeps learning.
That’s all, really. Just listen to stuff and let the bots figure out what else you might like.
Edit: also find friends or co-workers with similar tastes. Share stuff with them. I get a lot of gold from my mate up in Cairns, just whenever we hear things we send each other the link.
Alternatively and if you prefer a more eclectic, diversive selection that covers a wide range of moods and genres, but should still serve as a soundtrack to a relaxing sunday out in the sun or on the couch, there's this little mix series I work on - I think these particular episodes might be a good starting point:
Also, My "Code it and Load it" Playlist on Spotify - https://open.spotify.com/user/bawigga/playlist/08wdT51daeQwc...
Finally, more brown noise/rain storms in my Focus Noise playlist on Spotify - https://open.spotify.com/user/bawigga/playlist/1u2c1lK4YSnL1...
I read always more than I wanted and I didn't like to work after it because it killed ever chance of flow.
Now I look out or on the output of drink something or optimize what I'm waiting on.
This sounds like an assumption. Isn't it equally likely that the condition that suppresses procrastination was responsible for all those things happening, starting with your run?
In other words, you started the day with operable self-discipline. Not related to behavior.
The best solution for me is real-time accountability that forces me to sit down and commit to a real person what I'm about to do RIGHT NOW.
I made an app for this called Focusmate (https://www.focusmate.com). It's a bit like a study buddy, except for anyone and any task, and much more effective IMO.
PS. My quiz results: "Oops. Sorry, we can't seem to find what the problem is." (https://imgur.com/a/A2qhoGQ)
I also play all the side quests first in RPGs!
Perhaps this is wrong, but I feel like another important (and possibly most common) source of procrastination is not avoidance, but rather simply getting more enjoyment (dopamine/etc) of other activities. Ie, I don't think I have to be avoiding work to procrastinate, I may simply get more dopamine from Reddit-ing and thus mentally prioritize it.
Focusing on why your work or w/e you're procrastinating from is often the wrong approach in my opinion. The competition for tasks being avoided are typically pure entertainment, all dopamine and no effort. Tasks that are "meaningful" such as work, learning, etc often can't compete with entertainment for your brains drug dependencies.
Instead of focusing on tactics to improve procrastinated tasks, I've found my life is better when I instead limit their competition. I've had serious Reddit problems in the past, where I become basically addicted to it, and so my brain keeps injecting Reddit it any time I'm compiling or w/e. If I instead break that habit through heavy limitation of the dopamine provider, I've found myself to be far more productive.
Now methods to make tasks you want to do give you more dopamine are always welcome. I love micro-todos, and found them to be pretty effective at giving me a sense of accomplishment and, I imagine, dopamine. But micro-todos will never compete with pure entertainment, so I need to cut that. Or, at the very least, cut it from my default response of when I'm having spare brain cycles (like compiling) and jumping to fill it with entertainment dopamine.
- One related to lust for fun. Like you describe.
- One related to inhibition, fatigue, powerlessness, dread. You escape work even though you feel bad because you know you should be doing it to avoid an even worse situation. You do something else in the (false) hope to relax and to improve your mood and motivation for the task.
I find the second type of procrastination to be 50x more common in my life, a daily occurrence of painfully trying to find /something/ else to do to avoid the wall of dreaded tasks that I don’t know how to resolve.
The difference is that if I genuinely have other things I want to do, I'll get enjoyment out of it, while if I'm trying to avoid something else I'll get to a point where I'll think "hold on; why am I doing this? I'm not enjoying this" and realise I'm doing it to avoid something else, and still feel the pull to do some nonsense activity while getting more and more miserable.
One strategy I've used is to try to stop regularly and simply ask myself "am I actually enjoying this? why am I doing it?" - I give myself relatively wide latitude to continue "wasting" time if I'm actually enjoying what I'm doing, because sooner or later I'm "done", and if I was actually myself I often feel energised enough to get much more done afterwards.
But the moment I'm not enjoying myself, I'll start probing into why I feel that way.
Some of it certainly fits under "avoidance", but that's also a very broad category and not very useful without exploring the more specific reasons I'm avoiding things.
Sometimes it's because it's too much to bite over, so I instead "procrastinate" by deciding to break down my todo list into smaller chunks. Often that will break the deadlock by identifying small-enough tasks that I'll be happy to get out of the way (I guess that fits into your "micro-todos").
Sometimes it's just not a fun task, and I'm pushing it ahead of me because I know my self-imposed deadline is not real and is just waiting until I really have to do it. In which case I'll try to reorganise things and do something else instead and just accept my tendency to do things right before a deadline when I know how long it'll take.
Sometimes I'm just too tired, in which case I either go rest or try to pick activities I can do while tired (benefit of working from home: if I'm mentally worn out, there's always housework to get out of the way which doesn't require much thinking).
Sometimes I "trick" myself into it by setting a schedule of 30-60 minutes of different sets of tasks. So I'll commit to "only" doing 30 minutes of what I need to get done, then maybe an hour of something lower priority that I actually enjoy, then another hour of my urgent tasks. Sometimes I'll find when I've just tricked myself into starting, I'll keep going longer than scheduled, if so I'll let it happen, but if not I'll strictly adhere to the limit on the more enjoyable tasks and keep track of whether or not I start lagging behind my schedule.
Sometimes the things I've decided logically I "should" be doing just don't emotionally feel like a good way to spend my time. E.g. I might have decided I "should" be planning some new project because I think it's important, but emotionally I might be drained and need downtime, and dragging my heels is a way of not having to acknowledge I have too much on my plate.
For things like Reddit, I find a major factor is the inbox. If someone replies, and I read their reply chances are I'll compulsively reply. This is easier to avoid with HN. With Reddit, what helped immensely was when I recognised what I was doing, and every now and again go "ok, enough" and click the inbox and physically look away until I've gone back to the main page to get the unread messages safely out of the way without having them draw me in again. Making it less intensive by cutting off heated arguments that way makes it much easier for me to break away and do something else.
I am pretty sure my main reason for procrastination is the fact that I never learned to endure suffering/discomfort while growing up.
I grew up very sheltered and I was never forced to do anything which I did not like (bring out the trash, clean up the room, talk to people, ...). It was kinda nice growing up like this but when you turn 18 and have to enter the real world you realize you miss all the coping mechanisms which you need to do uncomfortable stuff.
Many, many people who meet your criteria in fact are severely lacking in executive function.
Neurological conditions aside, surely you understand that an adult who's developing years formed a healthy "reward system" for accomplishing tasks will have a much easier time getting things done.
While, yes, most of us have the ability to correct past habits and develop discipline ... It's no different than an athlete who began training at an early age versus someone who took up a sport later in life. The difference in skill and ability is predictably and consistently stark.
These days I don't, it's not about discomfort, I need something more human and wise behind my efforts.
I'm sure most parents know that, I've seen some that were demotivated, but when their family started, they were moving everything around.
A balance sense of purpose is worth a lot there.
ps: a distraction heavy context is also bad. ironic :)
A lot of successful entrepreneurs had no safety net, and have been through significant adversity.
Those that have been coddled and never held accountable have worse coping mechanisms and drive than those who have dealt with it and overcome obstacles the majority of their lives.
For me, a lot of times it's boredom. It's boring to have to do 2 hours of work sometime in the next week; it's far less boring to have to do 2 hours of work in the next 90 minutes.
(Note I'm not recommending this, as it's basically medicating your boredom with stress, and stress has a lot of well documented side-effects).
1. As I'm writing, if it's in my head as a "oh, that needs to be done", I write it down. Tiny or large.
2. If it's really large, I tend to word the task as to break it up. Otherwise I'll spend a day working on that one item, which defeats the purpose of trying to give my brain dopamine/etc.
3. If at any point in code I think of those "oh, I gotta remember to fix/refactor/add that" I write it down.
It's quick because I don't need to give others context. It's short, because it's just for me and it shouldn't be too far away from my current context anyway. And finally it helps me actually take breaks, and come back getting right into it. I try to never leave without writing what I should do next.
To pair with that, I chose a todo app (Dynalist atm) that I enjoy using. It should be quick to get ideas onto paper so to say, and not bogged down with features. This is more of a notebook, than a todo.
Anyway, it's all an experiment for me. I'm on week two or so of it, and it's been great so far. Good luck if you try it :)
edit: fix stupid list formatting.
The cause isn't part of the definition. Procrastination is simply the delaying of something, whatever the reason for doing do. One can procrastinate due to wanting to do something else. It doesn't have to be from an aversion.
Incorrect. The dictionary definition of procrastination is To put off doing something, especially out of habitual carelessness or laziness or To postpone or delay needlessly. Literally meaning, from Latin, putting off until tomorrow. I procrastinate way too much, but because I get bored, distracted and I'm lazy. None of which is a discomfort, fear or anxiety.
That is the attitude I found to be holding myself back in a dark past. What turned the page for me was reading "Invictus" from Henley, who was a man that was absolutely beaten and battered by life, and still refused to give up:
Out of the night that covers me,
Black as the Pit from pole to pole,
I thank whatever gods may be
For my unconquerable soul.
In the fell clutch of circumstance
I have not winced nor cried aloud.
Under the bludgeonings of chance
My head is bloody, but unbowed.
Beyond this place of wrath and tears
Looms but the Horror of the shade,
And yet the menace of the years
Finds, and shall find, me unafraid.
It matters not how strait the gate,
How charged with punishments the scroll.
I am the master of my fate:
I am the captain of my soul.
And now, each night I count the stars,
And each night I get the same number.
And when they will not come to be counted,
I count the holes they leave.
I have a hypothetical task in front of me, which is interesting, impactful, within my skill range, well-defined, and I know the first couple steps to start on it. I estimate that I can complete the task with 2~3 hours of solid work. This sounds like the _ideal_ anti-procrastination scenario, right?
But, I know I have a meeting at some point in the next 20~40 minutes, and that meeting will end 15~5 minutes before lunch starts.
And then, hypothetically, the meeting gets canceled, or is shortened to ~5 minutes, and basically the whole morning's worth of time has been wasted.
Any advice for either
> how to overcome the hump of starting to spin up on a deep work task you're likely to be interrupted for
> how to commit to starting a deep work task in a known uninterrupted block of time later in the day, and find _meaningful_ shallow work to do now, in a way that won't delay spinning up on the important task when the time becomes available
You are not going to make progress directly, but you will have a few hooks to think about during the meeting. If it's a wasteful meeting you get something worthwhile to do, and if it's a useful meeting then no harm done.
Clear security issue appeared when I typed:
<script>alert("this is bad")</script>
EDIT: Further reading: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Cross-site_scripting
If it were a reflected XSS you could trigger it with something like https://whydoiprocrastinate.com/#%3Cscript%3Ealert%28%22this..., but I don't think this actually matters.
Sloppy programming, sure, but it isn't a real security issue.
> XSS enables attackers to inject client-side scripts into web pages viewed by other users.
Nobody other than you will see your alert("this is bad") so this doesn't seem like XSS.
But scrub all your inputs anyway. That one time you forget, it will be a cosmetic error due to double encoding instead of a security hole due to no encoding.
Let's say you wanted to quit smoking (I've done it cold turkey after smoking a pack a day for over 10 years btw). The only real way you'll have a fighting chance to quit without any alternative drugs is to really want to quit. Not "oh man I wish I could stop smoking", but "ok, I'm done with this, I'm ready to stop".
If you break down and smoke again, you're just creating a negative feedback loop on your self worth while taking the short term gains on how smoking makes you feel. You get some nicotine, but every time you "cheat" on yourself it's a constant reminder that you lack willpower and are worthless. Then suddenly you become that person who thinks they can't quit because it's wired in your DNA, when really, it's just poor habits.
Procrastination is the same thing. Instead of smoking, you're doing something else (reading HN, Youtube, playing games) instead of what you "should" be doing. Sometimes I still need to remind myself that what I'm working on is worth doing and nothing works better than a simple pros / cons sheet. Then you can prove to yourself how ridiculous it is to sit there and spend 6 hours watching Youtube instead of moving towards your goals which likely have very positive benefits to your life.
No apps or gimmicks needed. You'll eventually cure yourself of all procrastination (which by the way shouldn't be confused with taking breaks and giving yourself some time to slack off, because that's completely fine).
I long ago stopped taking medication for it at all - I don't even have a prescription anymore. I just use coping strategies, many of which are about avoiding situations where it's a problem entirely. I have ADD, and I live with it. Because medication was better, until it was worse.
It really does whenever you have ADHD and you feel like your restless mind is finally at rest. It's absolutely infuriating to be unable to concentrate throughout most of my days.
But when it comes to doing certain things (even things that I like) I can easily talk myself into putting it off until the end of time, but once I finally get started, I usually end up engulfed in it -- at least for that day. Like last week, I wrote no joke... 8,500 words towards scripting out my next dev course in the period of about 12 hours and that was with walking about ~2 miles twice as breaks + meals, etc..
I cycle between hyperactivity and completely unproductive days. Getting up late being the main key to an unproductive day...
Jim Carrey had a good quote on this:
"You can fail at what you don't want, so you might as well take a chance on doing what you love"
This was after he saw his dad lose his accounting job.
For example, I browse the internet and read news on my front porch, but my office is strictly work mode. My living room is strictly a space for relaxing and entertaining guests, my kitchen/dining area is for cooking and eating. It may sound weird but if I get a phone call or have to make an email. I move to my office ( my note pads, and desktop is ready to go which is a plus )
I think the work-from-anywhere play-from-anywhere meme has been damaging to my productivity and happiness. I feel a lot less anxious and more focused.
Also not just physical spaces but other things like type of background noise, light conditions, even trivial things like posture, I feel they all seem to influence my ability to get into a state of 'flow'.
Yeah, thank you, as somebody with severe adult ADD diagnosis I know this perfectly well. The problem is what to do with it. I always will crave new things, to the point of ignoring anything else. I will always be distracted. The problem is what to do with all that...
How well supported are the suggestions of this site? One of the ones I got was to imagine the worst case scenario if you kept procrastinating. But, okay, I imagined the worst case scenario and it meant I just had to wing something on the spot and do a little worse at it. Is that supposed to motivate me to stop procrastinating? Or is it supposed to make me realize that "everything's okay, stop worrying about it and maybe you'll enjoy doing it more"?
Ironically, my job, which is the reason for my lack of procrastination time, I got directly as a result of the many hours I procrastinated during the last year of university.
Sometimes procrastination pays of, you just don't know it whilst procrastinating, which makes it valid procrastination at the time.
N.b. I did actually hand in the thesis on time. The last push to get in done was excruciating hard due to time pressure - the price of procrastination I guess.
> Sorry, we can't seem to find what the problem is.
> TRY AGAIN?
A little disappointing but the link to the book this is based on at the bottom of the page is good. Maybe put that front-and-centre for failures like this?
If you're procrastinating; it's simply an indication you don't want to do a thing. Sure, you can use hacks etc to get the thing done, but at the end of the day, there's no real, underlying driving will within yourself to get the thing done.
Perhaps spending time finding the things you willfully do rather than focusing on the things you tend to avoid might be great way to avoid procrastination.
I get it though. That buzzing lazy feeling of getting some things done but not all the things; or the things you need to get done while lazily avoiding the things you supposedly want to do.
I have noticed in my life that I willfully do some things to completion because I just have an underlying will to get it done.
Anyways, not sure about this type of application. In general one should avoid medical apps or forms put together by a start up. It typically doesn't involve any science or actual medical advice, and with things that can also be caused by some serious medical issue (procrastination can be caused by depression) I don't really think this is the right way to go.
If you actually did not just pull a content marketing thing, and this is based on actual science, then why not include some sources?
I guess I should stop procrastinating by finding out why I'm procrastinating and go back to work.
Always make sure you have set yourself a simple task to complete/continue the following morning.
It gives an achievable goal that can help kickstart your working flow for the day.
Or as Admiral William McRaven (Navy SEAL, at the time the head of Special Ops) put it: "Make your bed." 
Sorry, we can't seem to find what the problem is."
Breaking out of this by realizing that "perfect" is not the goal, and setting more attainable sub-goals for myself is key, but hard.
"Because baboons are rarely threatened by famine, plague or predators, they are good models for socialized disease, Sapolsky says: 'Baboon societies are ironically a lot like Westernized humans. We're ecologically privileged enough that we can invent social and psychological stress. Baboons in the Serengeti, who only work three hours a day to meet their caloric needs, are similarly privileged. They ulcerate because of social complexities.'" 
Procrastination, it seems to me, ultimately falls in the category of "ulcerating because of social complexities".
It has long term goal feedback. Like the feedback comes sort of in 6 months. And even then it was only a step to more work.
Hard work leads to gratification.
Well... that wasn't very helpful, was it? Isn't this the usual reason that one can easily identify?
So it is okay to procrastinate then, in observance of the event. But people don't always get around to observing it right at the beginning of March.
Their main website is http://www.procrastination.ca/
By choosing "I can do this", I remembered that I can
Spoiler, I got 'lack of value' and for some reason I bet it's gonna be a winner, at least when it comes to the HN userbase
(It should clearly prompt to write a single thing/activity.)
PS: how many user does BAAS have, and: is it automated?
I know what the problem is: it’s a hobby project and 1) employer work takes priority and 2) I’m so stinking tired at the end of a day and 3) adult chores take priority on the weekend.
She seemed to agree.
- give yourself a clock, and race against the clock
- it may be boring, so add some difficulty to it, extra challenges, stretch goal.
neither may apply to all task though.
Should narrow it down to 5 questions tops to get any value on daily basis
Made no sense :D !
I’ll try it later during a procrastination break.
Neither can my friend, neither can I.
And my job honestly is a negative value to society. I am a salesman at a rent seeking corporation.
I would literally do society more good if I wasn't driving a gas guzzler to work every day and sitting in a giant air conditioned office.
I've done homelessness in between jobs for this very reason (I used to work for Oracle lol). It was awesome. And I don't mean to imply that I was on the streets, needle in my arm, skid row type homeless. Those men and women and kids are going through really rough shit.
I mean that I was sleeping in my car in the woods or at national parks or in corporate parking lots (not Walmart, more like Regional Shipping Corporation INC after 7PM and all the employees have gone home).
It was the most liberating and freeing period of my life. I came back to work because I want more money and I thought I could save enough money to put an actual roof over my head (and my gf's too). Apparently I'm wrong- this is the most expensive housing market ever, and many cities/towns/counties don't want to let me put a pre-fab house on any piece of land in their jurisdiction...
I don't have many skills besides convincing people to buy something. These skills aren't particularly marketable in life :)
However these jobs aren't terribly easy to come by and are mostly handed out based on nepotism in my experience.
But, if you know someone who has made something awesome, and would like to hire me to do marketing + long-cycle sales, then please do let me know how I can contact you :)
So yeah, please stop coming up with excuses if you procrastinate as if it is some sort of disease, drop the distractions and just get to work.