overcome the habit of procrastination?

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.

  1. 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.
  2. 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.
  3. 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.
  4. Budget your time A few thousand years ago, Plato said“An unexamined life is not worth living”. True. Examine your time in great detail.
    1. There are 24 hours in a day, sleeping ~6 leaves of ~18.
    2. Maybe ~6 hours in class leaves you ~12 additional hours.
    3. Even if you work 8 hours, you still have 4 hours remaining.
  5. 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.
  6. 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,
    1. create an outline,
    2. create an annotated bibliography,
    3. create a draft,
    4. revise,
    5. revise,
    6. revise
  7. 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.
  8. 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.

slacking

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!

set your course in advance

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.

 

 

danger short-sight distance

The other day I was out walking my dog Magnum, and we came across a street sign that read “danger short sight distance”.

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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.

 

 

 

 

what is mental toughness? The #1 trait

What is mental toughness? How do YOU define mental toughness?

Think about that for a moment. We increase our physical toughness through controlled exercise. But how often do we ever think about the non visible side of strength?

Research has identified that having an unshakable self-belief in your ability to achieve your competition goals was the number one most important factor of mental toughness.

This trait, above all else, can separate you from being okay to being good.

Or even better, it can separate you from being great to being excellent.

You must continually pursue excellence.

Pursuing excellence is different than being a perfectionist. Perfection does not exist, but excellence, on the other hand, is as real as it comes.

To pursue excellence even in the face of adversity, we must have an unshakable self-belief.

You must hold your head up high and carry yourself confidently toward your goals.

You have to believe in yourself before anyone will ever believe in you.

purpose

Finding purpose. This is something we hear tossed around a lot.

Unfortunately, the harder we seek to find our purpose, the further away from we get from our actual purpose in life.

For years, I underwent self-analysis in an effort to “find my purpose” in life.

Despite having looked at this problem for years, I never felt like I was any closer to discovering my true life purpose.

The problem with this approach is we often become too concerned with finding our purpose and stop focusing on what gives our life purpose in the first place.

For me, the easiest way to finding my purpose was to stop looking for it.

Spend less time seeking what gives you purpose, and spend more time doing what gives you a feeling of purpose.

Living a life of purpose is much like happiness, or success. These are all self-defined beliefs. Meaning you have to know how you define them before you can ever reach that definition.

So how do you define purpose? 

Think about that for a time before answering this question, because the answer is going to be key in finding and living your own life purpose.

For me, a purpose driven life is adding value to those around me. Whether it is my family, friends, clients, or my even my dogs. The more I can help them live a better life, the more a feel a strong sense of purpose in my own life.

life

debt

debt /det/ noun – something, typically money, that is owed or due.
Fuck being in debt.
Five steps I used to get out of debt
  1. Inventory – what do you really need to spend? Chances are there is quite a bit of trimming you can do with your spending.
  2. Budget – Once you get a spending idea, start setting a planned budget each month. Any additional leftover funds (bonuses, gifts) go toward paying off your highest interest rate loan.
  3. Sell – Part ways with the shit you don’t need. Don’t use it, sell it. Don’t need it, sell it.
  4. Extra payments – like I said above, any profits you make or any additional funds can go toward paying off your high-interest loans (think credit cards, cash advances, etc. Make sure these payments are on principal only and make sure there is no early pay off fees associated with your debt. Once that debt is paid, move on to the next highest interest debt. Rinse and repeat until you have everything paid off or sold.
  5. Save/Invest – now comes the fun part. starting saving and investing.
I am happy to say for nearly the past 10 years I have been debt free, other than my house which isn’t considered “bad” debt since there is (hopefully) a positive return on investment if I were to sell.
At the ripe old age of 22 years, I decided I was tired of being in debt. At that point I was single, and somewhere in the vicinity of $30,000+ in debt.
I know I don’t normally talk about money on this site, but I strongly feel that debt can have a negative impact on your health. Getting your debt, and spending under control is one step closer to mastering your self-control and discipline.
A man in debt is anything but a free man.
When I decided to get out of debt, the first thing I did was take account of what I actually need to spend to live, and what I was wasting on material junk.
After having an idea of a “budget”, I took inventory of what I actually needed to keep, and decided to part ways with all the extra stuff in my life.
This wasn’t easy by any means. I remember when I sold my motorcycle, a beautifully customized Yamaha R6, I told the buyer I couldn’t do it once he showed up with cash in hand.
Luckily for him, and for my debt, I held up my word and signed the title over. That was hard. But relieving myself of the debt felt fucking good.
Over the following few years I sold off several more of my “toys”, any profits I would make from the sale went toward payments on higher interest items like credit card debt.
Eventually, I was able to finally fly the debt-free flag, and take one step closer to charting my own financial future.

Keep in mind, not all debt is bad debt. Things like business debts, or even home mortgages are sometimes a necessary evil when it comes to finances.