Quick Hacks to Overcome Procrastination

From time to time you may face a long to-do list. Assuming that the items on this list are important: How do you start to work on them when you cannot find the motivation? Here are some simple tips to get you started.

Use Timers

  • Time Estimation: Set a time estimation for the next action, set the timer and start working until you run out of time.
  • 5-minute: Overcome the barrier to finish a complex task by just working on it for five minutes. Then stop, make smaller tasks, and keep going.
  • Pomodoro: If you have a harder task to do, especially when working on a project, use the technique. Work highly concentrated for 25minutes, then take a 5 minutes’ break. Set a goal like “3 Pomodoro’s for this project” and start.
  • Set a deadline: Set yourself an explicit deadline for a project. Put the deadline on a list and read it daily. Try to do one next action each day, and the project gets done almost automatically.

Get into the Flow

  • Switch between fun tasks and “oh-no” tasks. Start with an easy task that you like to do. For me, that’s tasks tagged with #reflect or #plan. Then, do a task you absolutely do not want to do. Finish it. And do another fun task.
  • Work off your mind: From time to time, simply work on whatever comes to your mind. After the day, browse your next actions list and check off all you did (or adding what you completed without your list). You will be amazed.

Clean Up

  • Refine actions: Break down the task into several smaller ones, start working and keep doing.
  • Put it to a someday list: The task is at the wrong place — put it to a someday list.
  • Delete it: You no longer need to do this, it’s not relevant anymore or conflicts with other interests. Trash it!


There are several reasons why you can not find the motivation to work on a specific task. Try these techniques and think about them. When you spot the reason, work on it — and become more productive.

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IT Project Manager & Developer

IT Project Manager & Developer