How to Stop Procrastinating

Procrastinating means the habit of delaying things over and over… until you realize that they should have been done yesterday. Whether it’s finishing something important to simply finishing something – there’s always reasons to procrastinate. There’s so many emails to be read, so good movies in television, always something else to do. You might feel tired… and you just think it “could be done tomorrow”.

That’s procrastinating. Everybody does that. Some more, some less.

Now, how do you stop procrastinating?

If you’ve read about some motivation tips, you might find some ideas to help you out. You might use desktop wallpapers, watch motivating videos, read motivating stories – anything goes. To some extent there are practical ideas that can be applied right away to make you more productive. For example, it’s useful to fill your workplace with the stuff that helps you feel good about your project.

It’s what inside that matters
But that’s good only to some extent. If you’ve put your external environment in shape, and still procrastinate – there’s one critical issue you might have missed: internal motivation.

The bottom line is: it’s the internal motivation that counts in the end. Sometimes the external motivators can help, but in the end it boils down to you. The question is not “how to motivate yourself” but to simply see if you are motivated to do something. If you aren’t motivated to program then perhaps you shouldn’t fight “against your nature”, but find an alternative solution.

Eliminate the “bad blood”
Get rid of the really ugly tasks. The tasks that are always hard for you to do. Get rid of those. If you don’t like programming, then accompany with somebody who likes to do that. If you hate marketing, then get somebody to help you. If you love modeling and texturing, but hate animating – then get somebody else to animate and concentrate on what you do best.

That’s how you stop procrastinating: not by motivating yourself, but by simply getting rid of those tasks that somebody else could do better. This leaves you more room to do the work that you are most qualified to handle.

There’s a fine line between quitting and getting some help. If there comes a day when you don’t feel like modeling, you might still get really motivated after you simply take action. That’s quite natural. It might happen to anyone. I don’t suggest quitting if you don’t feel absolutely inspired to take action every day. Instead, you can try having one computer-free day every week or boost your productivity in some other way. Don’t just quit if one day feels worse than they usually do.

The key is to channel your motivation to the right things.
If the work you do starts to feel painful day after day, without you seeing any inspiration – then I really recommend you to step back and reflect your situation for a moment. Think how you can get rid of the “bad blood” – nasty tasks – and figure out a way to do something you feel naturally motivated to do.

That’s how you stop procrastinating.

Juuso Hietalahti


  1. I second eka’s comment, because it’s also like that for me: I’m programming 8 hours a day at my job and then it’s hard to motivate in the evening :)

    One thing for little tasks: Whenever I say “I’ll do that tomorrow”, it’s like saying “I’ll do that in a few days or a week”. Especially when I have to answer emails. Mostly, it’s better to just immediately answer it, because often it’s a matter of a few minutes. But as soon as I decide to mark it as “todo” or “unread” and then think to myself “I’ll do that tomorrow”, it’s often very uncertain when it will be actually done :) so for the small tasks, better do it now without thinking about it, than setting it to some queue ;)

  2. I find I get maybe 5 times as much work done if my Internet connection drops out. Maybe I should invest in a pneumatic drill to cut the cables in the street once in a while?

  3. To extent on eka’s comment, I agree, and after working at the computer for 8 hours at my money making job (IT work) I’ts sometimes hard to want to sit down for another 3-4 and do some coding, especially the effects this can have on one’s own health (I know first hand).

  4. Most of the time i procrastinate is because i feel very tired from my day job. I know what i have to do, i did all the analisys and i love programming, but the step to sit down and get it done is so difficult.

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