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Understanding and Overcoming Procrastination

Personal Growth
Collaboration
Productivity
Strategy
Prioritization
New Manager
Performance

9 December, 2021

Harshavardhan Atmakuri
Harshavardhan Atmakuri

Sr Software Engineer at Uber

Harshavardhan Atmakuri, Sr Software Engineer at Uber, shares his tactics to avoid procrastination as a senior engineer.

Why Senior Engineers Get Very Little Done

As senior engineers, we get interrupted a lot.

It’s no surprise that we have to collaborate with quite a few people on a daily basis, and chances are, we are interrupted every 15 minutes. What’s most important is to have dedicated, focused time in order to “get the job done.” Working long hours is not a solution because that would aggravate stress and anxiety. We all keep talking about productivity 一 the ability to get more work done in less time 一 but little do we know it’s easier said than done.

How to Be More Productive

There are specific techniques to be more productive. First and foremost, I started using the Pomodoro technique, where I would block 25 minutes of my time for a definite task. It meant shutting down on everything to focus on one single task at a time. After the 25 minutes of focused time, I would have 3 - 5 minutes of a short break to continue what I was working on.

Sometimes senior engineers fall into the trap of procrastination 一 it could be reading some documents or understanding the architecture of a model. During that time, if they get interrupted, they are more likely to procrastinate more. In such a case, the best way to avoid procrastination is by being more curious about the context.

Trying to ask oneself more questions about the topic and getting more invested in it does the trick. Be someone who’s interested in knowing, learning, and getting more things done. If you push yourself on widening your knowledge base, you’ll find yourself more into the task. One more technique is that you are more likely to complete it if you spend the first 30 seconds forcing yourself to read or perform a job.

Trying to get more curious and thinking more deeply about the problem helps in getting the task accomplished. Something as simple as reading through the documents for a couple of minutes can sometimes have your vested interest in the situation you’re trying to solve.

Identify What Blocks You From Being Productive

  • No matter what happens, allocate some focused time for the core of your work every single day. Research suggests that you need to have at least 2 hours of focus time per day in order to be productive.
  • Even though you’re working in the tech industry, try to keep away from the distraction part of it. Instead, use the Pomodoro technique and keep yourself focused on what you need to accomplish.

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