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Engineers’ Guide On How To Stop Procrastinating

The 10 minute rule to finally break our bad procrastination habits and finally get started on that thing you need to work on

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Engineers’ Guide


Procrastination, many engineers (if not all) fall victim to it. Whether it be postponing going to the gym to work out or putting off an engineering project that’s due in a week, we’ve all had the tendency to tell ourselves that “We’ll just do it later.”

And then that “later” turns into hours, then days, and before you know it, you’re rushing your final engineering project the night before it’s due.

That’s usually the point where we think to ourselves “Dammit, I should’ve done this earlier. Why do I keep on procrastinating?”

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So the big question is, how can engineers get rid of it?


Well first, engineers need to understand why we procrastinate. Usually, we put off tasks that make us feel uncomfortable, both physically and mentally.

Whether it be the homework from the subject you hate the most, finishing a project, practicing your presentation for your school organization, etc., there are a hundred other things you’d rather do, so instead, we tell ourselves that we’ll do it “later” or “someday”.

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But our clocks don’t have a setting that says “later” or “someday”, so we end up putting off these tasks indefinitely. This is where we implement the 10 minute rule: the rule that’ll finally break us out of our bad procrastinating habits.


Have you ever procrastinated on your homework for example, thinking that it would be difficult and you don’t want to deal with the frustration of not being able to solve it, and then once you actually get to working on it, it only 20 minutes to complete? That’s the principle that the 10 minute rule is based off of.

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Usually, getting started is the most difficult part of the task, so following the 10 minute rule, all you need to do is tell yourself “I’m going to do this for 10 minutes. Once I get to the 10-minute mark, I’ll decide whether to keep going.” And 90% of the time, we end up going past the ten minute mark.

Science says that the most difficult emotion to deal with is dread, so what the 10 minute rule does is eliminate the time we usually spend dreading to do the task and have us dive straight into doing it.

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This not only helps us erase those dreaded thoughts by giving us something to focus on, but also actually giving the task a shot, even just for a few minutes.

Usually, your mind builds up things to be worse than they actually are, so if we just give ourselves 10 minutes to start on something, we realize “Oh, this isn’t so bad after all” and continue working on it.

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So next time engineers want to procrastinate, instead of saying “I’ll just do it later”, just tell yourself “Okay, I’ll give it a shot for 10 minutes, and I’ll decide from there.”

Eventually, our brains will begin to condition itself to this thinking, and we’ll finally be able to eliminate procrastinating once and for all.

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Engr. Paige Peterson
Angel Investor & Director at GineersNow. MBA from MIT Sloan School of Management. Electrical engineer from Uni of Melbourne. Strong Aussie girl living in Sunny California. Follow me on Linkedin


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