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Dear Work Therapist - How can I manage to concentrate faster?

Huwen Arnone
Solutions Partner
Solution Partners provide consulting, sales, and technical services on Atlassian products.
Aug 05, 2021


Usually, when I face a challenging task, I have to pass through several minutes of procrastination before actually getting into the work (which I'm doing right now.)

I would love to learn from your experience and knowledge. To focus your answers, I would appreciate it if you go through the following questions:

  • Does this happen to you?
  • If it does, how do you tackle the task? Or do you just wait for your time to come after procrastination to get into work?
  • Is there any technique or methodology to avoid this?

Thanks in advance for your responses and help. 🤩


Christine P_ Dela Rosa
Atlassian Team
Atlassian Team members are employees working across the company in a wide variety of roles.
Aug 05, 2021

Dear @Huwen Arnone ,

This is very relatable to me! Because I'm aware of how often this happens, I do a few things to reduce the amount of time procrastinating. See below.

  • Replace procrastination with productivity - It's okay to not work on a task that (I think) I should be doing right now. The fact that you and I procrastinate for several minutes before diving in is an indicator that I'm not mentally ready to work on the task I'm avoiding. But instead of procrastinating, I do something else like tidy a shelf or clean up my email inbox.
  • Break the task down - I find myself doing this particularly when I'm either a) not looking forward to doing the task or b) will take a long time OR requires deep thinking. Either way, there's an element of fear that something will be hard. So to combat that, I isolate what's hard and make it...not hard. Sometimes that means chunking out my time so that one task can be split into five little tasks. Sometimes that means I need to descope the task. Whatever it is, I try to ensure that I have the resources to take on something, and usually, that means shrinking down the scope of the task.
  • Timebox - I learned that my personality tends to embrace scope creep (not great, I know). But I have a vision of what an end result should look like, and the ever-growing deliverables list ultimately paralyzes me. But with an iterative approach, I may not need to produce grandiose, perfect deliverables. Instead, it might be better to deliver a scaled-back version of a finished product so that I can get feedback on it. So instead of thinking about what needs to be accomplished with unlimited time, I ask myself, "what can I accomplish in 15 minutes, in 30, in an hour...?"

From a high-level perspective though, here are some questions you (and anyone else who experiences this) might want to ask themselves.

  • How do you feel about the task at hand -- excited, afraid, bored, disinterested, intimidated, confused? 
  • Why do you feel that way? Is the answer to this question something that is absolutely true...or just a maybe?
  • What would make you not have those^ feelings? And what about the task can be removed or changed to reduce those feelings?
  • Is there a pattern between when you procrastinate and the type of tasks that induce procrastination? Or if that's too hard, is there a pattern between the type of tasks that do not induce procrastination? 

I hope some of this helps, but if not, keep is posted on what's not working. Perhaps that can be directional on what else can be done.

Good luck!

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Christine P_ Dela Rosa
Atlassian Team
Atlassian Team members are employees working across the company in a wide variety of roles.
Aug 05, 2021

One more thing, @Huwen Arnone . 

When I'm in deep work mode, I ride that momentum and work on things that I didn't plan on working on before. But when I'm not feeling like doing deep work, I don't force it.

I posit that if we're not in the right mood, then perhaps we shouldn't force it. So then, it's a matter of setting the conditions to fit the right tasks with the right moods.

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Huwen Arnone
Solutions Partner
Solution Partners provide consulting, sales, and technical services on Atlassian products.
Aug 05, 2021

Thank you very much, @Christine P_ Dela Rosa

This is an interesting approach; thank you very much for sharing. I often try to replace this procrastination with productivity but still, it feels like I'm not doing what I'm supposed to do, but it's a good "hack" for the sake of keeping the work on. Something similar occurs when breaking down the task into smaller ones because, as you said in the second comment, once I'm there, I'm killing it. The problem is when I'm not. 😂

I love the iterative approach and the questions you suggest; it might make me realize what I need to do, understand my main goal, and tackle it easier and faster.

Once again, thank you very much for sharing your insights! I will definitively apply some of them, and I will keep you posted 😊

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Community Leader
Community Leader
Community Leaders are connectors, ambassadors, and mentors. On the online community, they serve as thought leaders, product experts, and moderators.
Sep 26, 2021

@Huwen Arnone  You are not alone.

I know how much something will be a great help in either my career or personal development. However procrastinating has been my biggest challenge so far. 

I will give you an example I am working on learning a new language, since it is for personal development and there are no deadlines I take my time(wrong). Sometimes if I am unable to understand a concept that can be another reason of procrastinating. Sometimes I find myself thinking about it in bed and blaming myself that I wasted time during the weekend or evening time when I could have read my programming book for one hour and advanced little bit.

I am trying to work on myself as this is not a very good habit. 

Answers you will be getting here will be a big help for myself as well.



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Huwen Arnone
Solutions Partner
Solution Partners provide consulting, sales, and technical services on Atlassian products.
Sep 27, 2021

Hi @Fadoua

It's great to know my everyday struggles are common; hopefully, we might find more inspiration from other people.

As strange as it might sound, recently, I've been exercising a lot. Following that routine has helped me use that same perseverance applied to that routine to concentrate on personal projects, such as learning new things, earning certifications, and similar. Maybe that's one approach to try?


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