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.

feeling inadequate

inadequate (adjective):

  • 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.

Image result for look at a man for what he is

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.

 

 

 

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.

learn

The more you learn, the more you know.

People will DM me on my Instagram and always ask where I come up with topics to write about.

Most of the time, I just write about ideas that are floating around in my head.

But in order to get these ideas to float freely, I have to keep exposing myself to new ideas.

It isn’t enough to just learn some things in 12 years of school. Or 4 or even 8 years in college and call it good.

Life requires continual education. Actually, life doesn’t “require” it, and that’s the problem for most people.

However, growth does require continual education.

If you want to learn more about something or understand something on a deeper more innate level, continually study it.

It really doesn’t matter the subject, if it interested you, then go for it.

One major problem with society is we view learning as a form of education.

When we think of this, we tend to focus on math, science, English, etc.

It’s important to remember that learning can take many forms.

What’s even more important to remember is that if you want to learn more about a particular topic, then study it. It doesn’t matter what the topic is. It’s yours to discover.

Own your education. Go learn.

 

work

 

get going

Sometimes getting started is more than half the battle.

Next time you don’t feel like undergoing the task at hand, just get started.

Just dive in head first and start swimming.

People always ask me, how do you wake up at 4:30 AM every day?

The truth is, I hear my alarm and have that same gut feeling you do. Thank God I’m alive and have another opportunity at this game called life.

That is what you think when you first hear your morning alarm ring, right?

If not, it should be. Someone once told me, if you think waking up early is hard. Try not waking up.

Okay. point taken.

So next time you really don’t want to wake up early, or go to the gym, or write that paper, or make that phone call, etc, etc etc. Just start.

It does not have to be perfect, or even pretty to get started. But you have to get started.

So just start somewhere, you can always go back and fine tune later on. But for now, just get your feet on the floor, and words on paper. The rest will come with time.

Even the longest journey begins with taking the first step.

 

work

power of the crowd

Humans are pack animal. This behavior is evident when in a crowd.

Crowds give an individual a sense of anonymity, and power through numbers.

This type of behavior is often evident in the streets of cities across the country after a sports team has won (or lost) a major event.

Take for instance the Philadelphia Eagles 2018 Superbowl win. Afterward, the fans in Philly went on a rampage. Flipping cars, and setting fires.

Members of a crowd are likely to experience great effects of suggestibility from others. They fear being turned on by members of the crowd, so they tend to go along with the action they would never do if alone.

Super fans are not the only people who can fall victim to this type of behavior.

Be mindful of the crowd you hang around with.

Always remember that you are responsible for your actions. No matter if you are alone, or in a group.

Crowds can have a tendency to steer you in a direction, whether you want to go or not.

So next time you find yourself going with the flow, take a long hard look at the direction in which that flow is headed. Make sure it is a direction in which you want to go.

 

get to work

75% of the battle is getting started.

Whether we are talking about getting started trying to write, study, workout, or save money.

I think we have all experienced something like this at some point. I know I have. Getting started is hard. It takes a lot of energy to get the ball rolling. But it takes a lot less energy to keep the ball rolling once you have a little momentum going.

I don’t always feel like getting started. More often than not I want to hit that snooze button as bad as anyone. But that snooze button represents the majority of people who live their life average.

They don’t put in the work. They snooze it for later as if you’ll want to do it then.

That’s why it is so important to get to work on a task as early as possible.

Just start.

It doesn’t matter how far away the end result is. Take it one step at a time. Like I wrote about yesterday. Don’t always focus on the end goal. Focus on doing the little things to the best of your ability right now.

It’s like climbing a staircase. Do we look at all the stairs together, or do we focus on taking each step one at a time? We can look at it either way, but it is much easier to take one step at a time.

Take the step. Get to work.