Procrastination as Software Engineer and How to Overcome them


0 reactions 2022-02-28

It is undeniable, many of us must have experienced a phase of procrastination. And not infrequently, after we procrastinate, we feel ourselves as someone who ‘fails’, ‘unproductive’, and ‘lazy’.

The truth about Procrastination

Procrastination is the act of delaying doing the main task by doing something else with less effort. And procrastination has nothing to do with laziness, it’s different. Because laziness is an attitude of indifference, not caring, and doing nothing.

Causes of Procrastination in the world of software engineers

From my experience which is still relatively small, it is also experienced by several of my other friends in the same field. The following are some of the causes in general, but I categorize them into 2 factors:

External Factors

External factors are factors that affect us but we cannot control as we wish, here are some of them :


Is the most influential factor in our behavior, sometimes we are trapped in an environment that does not support us to work better and be more focused.

Have you ever been in an environment that did not support you to focus on work? If not, then it’s good for you and you are one of the lucky ones 😊.

Because, some of us are less fortunate, who are in an environment that is not supportive for us to work better and be more focused.

And this is not to say that “Okay, so why I’m procrastinate ? It’s because the environment around me is not supportive”, no. Rather to say that there are external factors that we cannot control as much as we would like.

Solution : We move jobs to other places (a big decision with all the consequences, high risk), or stay where we are currently working while trying to change the culture and environment (which is very difficult and takes a lot of time) or survive but increase our self-awareness so as not to be influenced by the environment (and certainly very difficult)

Unclear Task / Instructions

Often when we want to do a task, we are still excited, but when we read the task requirements, there are parts that are not clear. Finally we communicate to the task creator to update the task description and wait for the updated task. In the end, the enthusiasm for working which was previously high, suddenly fell.

Solution :

Remind yourself that everyone makes mistakes. Check the task again, and find out which points can be done while the task is being updated.

Too much unnecessary Meetings

Sometimes, we are asked to join meeting A, even though the content of the discussion has nothing to do with us or the discussion is always off topic. In the end, we postpone our main work to do useless meetings.

Solution :

There is no definite solution regarding this, but try to communicate it to your team lead, is this meeting really necessary? Or can it be postponed for a while? are you really needed at the meeting? and try asking him if this meeting is more important than the task you are currently working on ? The key is a communication, nothing less.

Internal Factors

On the other hand, internal factors are factors that affect us, but we (should) be able to control them according to our wishes. Here some of them :

Social Media

Often distractions come from our social media networks, when we are focused, suddenly a notification sounds, we start to open the social media application, then start enjoying so that social media scrolls continuously. And without us knowing it, we are already distracted.

Solution :

If we look deeper, the root cause of this is FOMO (Fear of Missing Out). Because we react immediately when we hear / see notifications from our social media applications, right ? We don’t want to missing some new notification / news in our radar. Before we take action to delete / limit social media, it is better to instill a mindset into ourselves in the first place, that “We are not obliged to know everything that is happening around us. And it’s okay if we are late to know everything that happens”.


Perfectionists are our enemies, always wanting to get perfect results but neglecting the time we have. We are human, nobody is perfect.

Solution :

Change our mindset to “Finish is better than Perfect”. Finishing the job is better than waiting for so long to finish the work to get perfect results.

Waiting for Motivation / Good Mood

We feel that we need motivation to start working or finishing our tasks.

”Ohh bad, i don’t have a motivation to doing this” “Ohh dear, i’m not in a good mood to doing this task” After we procrastinated cause this reason, we feel bad for our self, lack of discipline, etc. It’s because our mindset to “I need motivation to start working or finishing our tasks”. That’s probably because we see the motivation as a precondition to success / to start doing something, which isn’t the case.

Solution : Change our mindset to “Professional do the work even when they are not in a good mood” also this mindset “Motivation is something you get from your self automatically RIGHT AFTER achieving your goals”


There are too many reason / causes why we procrastinate, but this is what i (also my friend, and some another resources) can share with. And procrastination is not about laziness, it’s about we doing something more easy and pleasant instead doing the main tasks. And don’t blame your self too hard that you procrastinated, because it have another factor that we can’t control that make us do this. But don’t blame the situation too, because we can focus on what we can control to avoid that.

I hope when we find the cause of our procrastination, we can be aware about them. And if we have tried to strengthen our internal factors but still procrastinate, don’t be discouraged and don’t feel like a failure. At least we have tried, and that doesn’t mean we haven’t changed.

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