I got a great question yesterday from a student about how to overcome the habit of procrastination. I am sure that we have all suffered from this vice at times. It’s important to keep in mind that you don’t always have to be great, just keep showing up and putting in the work.
- First, we have to change the way we think about ourselves. Self-talk is powerful, so if you have been a procrastinator in the past, forgive yourself, and change your mind on the matter. Instead of saying, I am such a procrastinator, try changing your tune too, I used to procrastinate but that isn’t like me anymore. I always get things done early, or at least on time.
- Make a commitment to getting the task done. As a student, say you have a 15-page project due next Friday. Make a commitment to working on the paper between these times every day. Focus on completing 1–3 pages at a time. Setting aside ~ 90-minute blocks is perfect for this because we can maintain our complete focus for that length of time.
- Minimize distractions. Say you have set aside 7:00 to 8:30 to work on your paper. Turn off the interweb, put the cell phone down, lock the door, turn off the tv, and focus on getting shit done. Take your mocha latte Starbucks to go and hide in the library for 90 minutes.
- Budget your time A few thousand years ago, Plato said, “An unexamined life is not worth living”. True. Examine your time in great detail.
- There are 24 hours in a day, sleeping ~6 leaves of ~18.
- Maybe ~6 hours in class leaves you ~12 additional hours.
- Even if you work 8 hours, you still have 4 hours remaining.
- Make a list, check it twice. So, we now know there are 24 hours in a day and you probably have, at minimum 4 hours of free time. How you spend that time matters substantially. Make a to-do list (on paper!) of things you need to accomplish that day. Stick to making a list of the 3–5 most important tasks, and when you nestle down in the library with your Starbucks, start working on the most time consuming or most difficult task first.
- Make a game plan. With the project in mind, make a game plan for completion. Remember, the project is going to be due no matter what you do between now and then, so I suggest you plan your time wisely. A bike ride around the world begins with one pedal stroke, break projects down into single pedal strokes,
- create an outline,
- create an annotated bibliography,
- create a draft,
- Have an accountability buddy. Remember friendships go both ways, but have a friend, classmate, colleague, parent, neighbor, mentor that can check in on your progress now and again. Maybe they could use a hand staying focused as well. As the old adage goes, there is safety in numbers. With the beauty of the information age, your accountability buddy can be on another continent and still check in often so don’t limit yourself to those within an earshot.
- Reward yourself. Finish the paper before the deadline? Great! Celebrate the win be rewarding yourself in some way. Maybe you put off playing your favorite video game the past several days so you could work on the paper. Now reward yourself for getting stuff done by playing until your eyes bleed (not literally). Then take yourself out for a bowl of ice cream. You’ve earned it.
Pro tip: this is not a once and done method. As a master procrastinator myself, this is something to work on daily, with each and every task you face. Not just as a student like your question states, but as a human being, procrastination will always be knocking on the door, it’s your choice to answer or not.
Happy December everyone. My apologies for not updating this in a while. This month my focus was on finishing my final exams for graduate school, (which took a lot more time than I was hoping), then I got sidetracked with the holidays.
It is much easier to fall out of a routine than it is to build one. Once you stop doing something, like exercising, dieting, or writing in my case, it can be difficult to get going again on the regular.
The good news is, it happens to everyone no matter how disciplined we try to be, we are all humans (or most of us) and life sometimes get in the way.
The most important thing we can do is just get going again. One step at a time, one meal at a time, or one post at a time, whatever it takes. Just get moving again.
So excuses aside, I am back! I am looking forward to closing out 2018 as strong as possible, I hope you are as well. The next few days are the perfect time to reflect on your last 12 months and make a plan for the upcoming new year.
If you have questions for me, I’d love to hear from you! Check me out on Instagram or contact me below!
- lacking the quality or quantity required; insufficient for a purpose.
- (of a person) unable to deal with a situation or with life.
Believe it or not, we have all suffered from feelings of inadequacy at times. Even the most strong, and confident of people have felt this way at some point.
It’s not an emotion we often think about when dealing with other people. But it is one that deserves a little bit of attention and thoughtfulness.
To be the strongest versions of ourselves, we should NEVER seek to make someone feel inadequate in our presence. Either on purpose or by unintentionally.
By creating feelings of inadequacy, we create feelings of anger and hostility at the same time. People who feel inadequate will not want to be in your presence.
Focus instead on building self-confidence in other people, NOT on breaking them down.
Humans are pack animals. We need a strong pack as a means of survival.
The relationship of the pack does not matter; teacher-student, parent-child, peer-peer, feelings of inadequacy can manifest in any social situation.
Building up those around you only makes you stronger in the process. Be mindful of this, next time you have the opportunity.
No one wants to feel inadequate.
When I was in the Coast Guard, we would spend hours plotting out the direct course we intended to take well before we ever left the pier.
We did this both on paper format and digitally as a backup.
If you have ever looked at a nautical chart or map, you will see many navigational hazards that need to be avoided.
Things like sandbars, reefs, shoal water, etc. When we come across these things, we go around them, we don’t turn around and head home. We were able to do this because we had our path planned out in advance.
The same is true in life.
Life is full of hazards that cannot be avoided, so instead of ignoring them all together. Make a plan to navigate around them and then keep steaming toward your destination.
The Titanic hit an iceberg and sank in part because it was going to fast through an area of limited visibility.
Not only do we need to sometimes alter our course to avoid hazards, but we may need to alter our speed as well.
Mark out your path out from start to finish. Take into account all of the navigational hazards you may come across.
Someone asked me the other day how they could find meaning for their life.
The answer is pretty simple but probably not what most people want to hear. To me, the only meaning of life is to just live and maybe add a little value to the lives of others along the way.
The problem is, we start putting to much pressure on yourselves to achieve this, or have that, or be this and then we start stressing out because it isn’t happening. Or maybe it is happening, but it isn’t what we thought we wanted. Maybe our parents or peers pushed us in a direction we really don’t want to go.
One of the simplest ways we can find meaning in life is to stop looking for it. Just start living, the meaning for your life is to live it fully and maybe help a few people (or animals) along the way.
Break meaning down into bite-sized chunks. After all, meaning doesn’t have to be a grand master plan for our life. It can be but doesn’t have to be.
Instead of setting out to find the meaning for your life, just start adding meaning to your life daily.
A bicycle trip around the world begins with a single pedal stroke.
The other day I was out walking my dog Magnum, and we came across a street sign that read “danger short sight distance”.
Magnum like the sign because he got to pee on it, and I really enjoyed this sign because it signaled drivers to stop texting for a minute and drive your damn car. Either way, it served as a good reminder to pay attention.
Then I realized the significance of this sign and how it can apply to everyday life. Having short-sightedness is dangerous because it doesn’t allow us to see where we are going.
Life, unlike a car, doesn’t really slow down. Life is either moving (living), or it’s not moving (death).
So pay attention to where this life is taking you. Not only what’s directly in front of you (short term), but whats further down the road as well (long term).
We don’t drive without having a destination in mind. So we should probably have a target to aim for in our life as well (goals).
Today is the final day of November 2018. 11/2018 will never be again. And I hope you made the most out of it. But, today is also the perfect day to start planning for December 2018 and even better yet, whatever may be beyond 12/2018.
I was asked yesterday on my Instagram how you can find meaning in your life when you don’t feel like you have any.
- First, we can often find meaning and a sense of purpose through our work.
So you may be thinking, okay but my job sucks, trust me, I’ve been there so, (1) change your attitude toward your crappy job; (2) find work which you enjoy, even if that means doing something for free, or volunteering with an organization you are passionate about.
- Second, meaning can be found through loving someone/thing fully.
Nietzsche said, for those who have a why can bear almost in how.
Once you take the focus off from yourself and start doing things for the betterment of someone else you (family, spouse, lover, pets, etc) you gain more reasons that yourself.
Speaker and Author Eric Thomas used an example of this when finishing his Ph.D. which was a real test of grit for the previously homeless high school drop out. He said by doing the work for his family, it became much easier to push through the struggle.
- Third, we can find meaning through our attitude in which we take toward unavoidable suffering.
Life is a struggle. It comes full of hardships and pain. Humans are not immune to this. Without struggle, there is no life. Watch NatGeo wild for an hour and you will quickly see there is a struggle amongst all living species.
What we think of as unavoidable suffering is usually far from the true definition. Starbucks being out of cold brew is not a struggle. Like I said in numero uno, if you can’t change your circumstances, change your attitude toward them.