This article is part of C# Advent 2023. For more articles in the series by other authors, visit

Everyone has struggled with procrastination at some point in their lives. If they say otherwise, they are just lying. We are not robots and we have biological, physical and mental limitations. If you are not aware of them, you will often have problems with procrastination without realizing what is the root cause.

"No pain, no gains". It is the simplest, most powerful tip possible. Works every time - just follow your pain. "Just fucking do it, now" - let it be your mantra from now on. It hurts the most at the beginning, the first 10-15 minutes is crucial for any activity which your brain recognize as "unpleasant" (no instant dopamine rush). Just start working on a "hard task" despite the (mental) pain and it will fade away.

Your brain is lazy and likes nice things (dopamine). The trick is to "hack" dopamine feedback loop. If you're starting an activity, and you feel mental pain, you're on the right track. The "mental pain" is yours brain trick to force you to conserve as much energy as possible if it doesn't bring immediate reward (dopamine), or if the outcomes are uncertain (any long-term activities).

Because your limbic system has two main modes: fight or flight. Due date is a trigger to fight. Hard task is a trigger to flight. This is why "due date" is working. "Hard task" is the trigger for procrastination.

How to "hack" your brain

  1. "Dopamine detoxing" - watch this video by Leon Hendrix and you will know how to do it. It's really good. Probably the best introduction so far and I have watched a lot of them. Or if you like more scientific approach by Andrew Huberman.
    • Block social media, block any media that allows infinite scrolling with immediate reward (dopamine rush): Twitter, TikTok, Facebook etc. (News Feed Eradicator plugin for Chrome/Firefox does the job)
    • No music, no games, no podcasts, nothing,
    • Books are allowed. But be careful, reading too much can be another form of procrastination.
  2. Internal "due dates" made by you. Check them weekly.
  3. Doing the most important thing ("hard task") as the first thing in the morning, or when you start you work. That means no reading, no social media before. Just starts working.
  4. Measure you daily activates. I personally use Toggl Track (free). If you don't measure, you just guessing how you perform.

This is a good starting point. Later you could develop your own custom system based on different resources. My personal recommendations: book "The War of Art" by Steven Pressfield, and videos by Alex Becker - dopamine detox and treating life as a game .

You are not your brain

I also want to share with you two amazing videos that had a huge impact on my (not only) developer productivity many years ago and taught me how to balance my life energy better throughout the day. They gave a better understanding of how our brain and mind work, especially under heavy stress (e.g., deadlines), and provided great tools for everyday challenges.

Short form, packed with value (only 29 and 23 minutes). Those are little gems 💎 from my private “diamonds” list:

After watching them, you won’t ever again fall for your brain's tricks that easily. Dude's smart, but you'll be prepared. Your brain is just a tool for your consciousness and mind. And remember, “You are not your brain”.