sup homeslice. This site is in beta. Posts are drafts; streams of consciousness.
Better to have published and been Insulted & Humiliated than to have never published at all.

If it takes less than 10 minutes to do, do it now. Some 10 minute or less tasks are taking a shower, doing the dishes and going around the corner to buy something you need.
Don’t have idle moments. If you feel you’re being idle or conversing with your inner critic too much, shake it off and remind yourself what the next important action is. It will make you feel like crap but if it’s something you can finish in 10 minutes or less, the pros beat the cons.
Have yourself complete at least one small part of what you’re doing before going on breaks. If you feel the need to take a break because you’ve “earned” it by doing a task, then do another task but for no more than 10 minutes, then continue with your break. Over time you will naturally build a habit of reminding yourself what matters right now. Doing the dishes so you don’t have to do 2 loads before bed, vs doing the dishes now and possibly having to do another load before bed knowing both tasks will take 20 minutes in total.

The idea here is to use the time you have between important tasks to complete mundane little tasks that quickly pile up

Sometimes you’ll need help. Sometimes you’ll fail (certainly more than you’ll win, at anything) and sometimes you’ll have regrets. These are part of the human experience and brooding over them costs a lot of time. Most people don’t realize how much time they have in a day (even minus sleep.) It’s not easy to condition yourself to change right away

New experiences are important to help your brain cells build stronger and more efficient connections together. This plasticity is responsible for molding your behaviors and humans are able to constantly make use of it in positive ways to induce a conditioned response. You can’t choose exactly how you feel. Your brain
Don’t say no unless you have a great reason. If the person inviting you is constantly rebutting every excuse you have, they know you don’t want to go because you’re disturbed or anxious. There’s no point hiding it and there’s also no real point in saying no unless you really have an excuse. Alone time results in strengthening the networks between neurons such that they are configured in formations that determine how you feel about something and how you approach it. It’s obvious when somebody is depressed or anxious, and trying to talk them out of it isn’t going to work.

Always take into account the fact that others don’t perceive things you do. You might have a grand idea or you’r enthusiastic about a subject. You’ve found something that’s meaning to you. This means whatever it is you can’t stop raving about is a way to help you cope with your own issues. For others to join in to help you achieve it, or when it comes to explaining your idea to somebody else, keep in mind that the other person probably doesn’t have the same definition of the adjectives you’re using. Some people might understand you at an intellectual level, but unless you have authority (experience) and a proven track record, telling people your ideas generally results in questions and topics that lead you to never start. Show off or ask for help only when you’ve done a majority of the work and have shown that this is something you’d actually pursue this time. You waste everyone’s time by constantly switching between ideas.

When you don’t feel like doing something, you may decide to take a nap, or postpone the task to a later day (most likely tomorrow). This seems like sound logic, but it usually disregards the fact that when the time comes to actually do the task, you will not feel anymore desire to do it than, than you did the time you postponed the task. And you will likely postpone it again.

There are situations in which putting things off is OK, or even the best solution at the time (i.e., too drunk, etc), but most of the time, you might be postponing something simply because you haven’t given it much thought yet and have no idea where to begin. The task seems overwhelming, or because the task just provides no immediate pleasure.

“I’m too tired” and “I’ll take a nap” are excellent excuses because we imagine waking up refreshed, energetic and ready to take on anything. This is almost never the case. In fact, when I have a lot of things piled up from the prior week, I definitely don’t want to get out of bed. This becomes worse when more todo-list items, especially ones of high priority, are all reaching their deadlines or are already past due.

Always give tasks a thought on what the exact steps required are to complete the task, and about how long it will take, before postponing it. If it takes less than 10 minutes, why not do it right than and there? It will end up taking much longer than 10 minutes if you’re going to postpone it multiple times and potentially suffer a consequence.

An analogy would be being too lazy to login to pay your credit card bill, but all the while worrying about it, and finally getting a late fee and lower credit score.

Posted in Procrastination at December 12th, 2009. No Comments.

Instead of trying to get things done. Try getting any one thing done.

Posted in Procrastination, Thinking vs Doing, Time Management at December 12th, 2009. No Comments.

It’s something we know deep down but continue to ignore and try to find alternatives for, sort of like physical exercise. We look for tips, shortcuts, medicine to take, people to copy and people to push us. Ultimately, all the experience, wisdom, knowledge we gain, and all the self-help books, will lead us to this same conclusion: Just Do It – it’s the only mantra you need.

Knowing this, begin looking for an answer not on how to be more productive (I just told you how), but on why you avoid things that aren’t enjoyable right now. It’s because you’re not future oriented, and it’s the same reason you don’t exercise on a regular basis. The kids who sat in the back of the class in junior high school and didn’t do any work probably had the same problem. Imagine you’re teaching them why they should suck it up and go to class, and then use the same thing you tell them to motivate yourself to suck it up and just do what needs to be done, right now.

Sometimes we avoid doing trivial tasks because while the task itself takes 5 minutes, there’s a burdensome process that must happen before and after the task. One example is upgrading your computer. Putting new computer memory (RAM) in is easy. It’s simple and takes literally a minute. The entire process of upgrading your RAM can take much longer, or at least seem to be a huge burden psychologically. We need to shutdown, move the pc, open it, put the RAM in, close the pc, move the pc back, run some RAM tests, etc.

In reality even the entire process done fully as hypothesized above doesn’t take too long, but we will subconsciously avoid or procrastinate on tasks that we think might be a chore. One way to counter this is to always think about maintenance while you work. Don’t do a half-assed job because you’re in a rush. Take extra time to make sure your work is quality. Leave your work in a state in which neither you, nor anybody else would mind going back to and maintaining. Depending on what you’re working on, document your work (for yourself as much as for others), clean up properly and make sure things are as close to how you left them as possible. Try to be consistent.

I have a major problem taking the garbage out, not because I mind spending 60 seconds picking up bags from every room and tossing them in a bin, but because I can’t find the garbage bags. Irritated, I fumble through my garage for a garbage bag, get the chore done, but then have the same problem a few days later. If I take an extra 5 minutes to organize all the things I need (bags, twist ties, etc), probably close to the bin going out, then the chore will remain trivial.

Another major cause of stress is not being able to find something, because I didn’t put it back in its usual place the last time I used it. This is especially aggravating when somebody else does it to me. Living with others who have bad habits is probably the best catalyst in getting you to make positive changes in your own habits.

Spending a little extra time in every single task you do takes considerable effort to make a habit, but is well worth it. I suggest starting small. I began by always putting things back where they belonged, and then moved on to doing the dishes as soon as I’ve used them, instead of having them pile up. It’s especially important to keep the flow going when you absolutely don’t feel like doing so. The best time to keep pushing and go with it is when you can logically justify putting the chore off. Being able to realize that washing a just-used plate will only take a minute and is worth it, when you can easily justify not washing the plate because you’re studying or otherwise very busy, is one of the last steps you’d need to get through before this habit becomes regular.

Posted in Bad Habits, persistence, Procrastination, Productivity at June 20th, 2009. 1 Comment.

You’re walking down the street, watching TV, or just browsing the web, and you come across something profitable or unique you had an idea for long ago, but never bothered to pursue. The feeling is both good and bad. On one hand, this discovery reassurances you that despite what your peers might tell you, neither you nor your ideas are crazy, inane or unfeasible. But on the other hand, that dude totally stole your idea.

But what does “stole my idea” mean? This assumes that the idea itself belongs to you, and being that it’s your own idea, it does belong to you, but does it mean that nobody else can have the same idea? We’d like to think so. In reality, there’s a good deal of people who have long had the same ideas we have now, and there will be people having these same ideas thinking they’re unique long after we’ve actually implemented the idea and shown it to the world. The idea can belong to each of these people, but the actual implementation cannot.

What matters is not just having the idea, but actually going forth and implementing it. Walk through a supermarket and mall, and there’s plenty of “obvious” things that “anyone could have thought of” – and there’s no doubt plenty of people did, but who actually went ahead and risked working on something unique, and then became popular for it?

People believe that the idea itself is 99% of the work, but is isn’t true. It takes a lot of time, money, effort and some luck to actually implement an idea. And after that it might never take off because it’s ahead of its time or its implementation wasn’t good enough.

Most people will brush their own ideas off as being unrealistic, but most ideas begin like any other: “you know what they should make? something that …” or “man, if only they put a ____ that also does ____” – these usually bring a laugh, but somebody, somewhere will actually find profit or value in these innovations and risk time and money to make them a reality. These people are the ones that deserve the credit.

This  means you need to choose what you work on wisely. Most of our ideas will never see the light of day, and that’s OK. The important thing is being able to spend our time working on ideas that we truly believe will be of value, and especially related to things we are passionate about (if possible). After many failures we will begin to see what we excel at, what we suck at, and our ideas will become more focused and “realistic.” It becomes easier to get our ideas off the ground, but until we’re at that level, we need to throw shit at the wall until something sticks.

Time is interesting. Most of us will agree that there isn’t enough time in the day, but the truth is that we waste more than enough time to finish everything we need to. Feeling like you never have enough time just means that you aren’t managing your time. Here’s what I thought about and observed, in myself and others.

You wake up in the morning, and you have 2 hours before you need to get to class. During those two hours, would you get any work done? Most people won’t. They will justify not getting anything done with “can’t really do anything in 2 hours, I’ll do it later.”

You go to class, and then come home and have another 2 hours before you need to head off to work. Again, using the same logic, those two hours are wasted reading blargs or watching TV, or doing something very productive that’s NOT what you’re actually supposed to be doing (this is a very interesting habit us procrastinaters have).

After work, you justify wasting a few hours by telling yourself that you’re too tired to do the work anyway, and it would be best if you get some sleep and do it in the morning.

Now looking back through this day, it might have felt like you had no time to get anything done because of classes and work, but at least 6 free hours were wasted doing nothing. So when people say “I don’t have time,” what they really mean is, “I don’t have a 10+ hour gap of time in which to get this done.” Which might be true, but

So the meaning of “wasting time” doesn’t just apply to wasting large gaps of time, but to not make productive use of the free, fragmented hours you get here and there. Besides, if you had 10+ free hours, it’s not like you would have done any more than 1-2 hours of work anyway, right?

Posted in Bad Habits, Procrastination, Productivity, Time Management at December 9th, 2008. 1 Comment.