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.

There are some excellent self-help material out there. Some of it can change lives, or at least instill excellent habits and help one see things in a new light. Think and Grow Rich is a classic. Steve Pavlina’s articles are informational and motivational. Joe Novarro’s books on body language are a must read for everyone. There’s something I noticed about people who don’t get many benefits from self-help.

Self-help books assume that you’re healthy to begin with. How can you Get Things Done when you can’t even change the cat litter less than once a month, or do the laundry or dishes?

These things aren’t easy, but for some people they just aren’t possible. It’s not that one may be physically incapable of doing something, but for people who suffer from depression (clinically, not just occasional sadness,) it’s easy to justify against doing anything. No matter how good this advice is, telling a depression person to exercise daily will never produce results. Telling a depressed person to quit smoking will never produce results. That person may be able to exercise and quit smoking after the depression is taken care of. In this sense, these things would serve as symptoms of depression rather than a cause.

If you’re stuck and you can’t seem to move forward, especially if it has been this way for a prolonged period, I recommend seeking professional help. It takes a lot of courage to get past the stigma of mental illness (it takes about 8 years to diagnose depression, on average) but it doesn’t make sense to loiter through life until it gets bad enough that you will end up seeking professional help anyway.

After the mental illness is being taken care of, the self-help material begins making sense in a new light. It’s no longer just mental masturbation, but begins being actual habits that you can work into your life slowly. Treating the depression will not change the bad habits a person depressed for years may have integrated into his life, but once you treat the illness (either via medication or psychoanalysis, or both) getting things done, exercising on a regular basis, getting over shyness, socializing, etc become feasible, especially after you begin seeing changes occur at such a rapid rate.

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.

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(Cleaning and cleaning up in this paper are used interchangeably to refer to restoring a unit or environment to how it was prior to starting a task, including but not limited to water+soap cleaning, such as doing the dishes.)

Cleaning up sucks. It can stop you from starting an otherwise fun project because you don’t want to bother with the clean up. Unfortunately, it’s a necessity — one that many people would never learn to just accept and do without whining. It’s one of those are things that just have to be (done).

Cleaning up is actually a manly thing to do. A major aspect of being a man entails putting emotions aside and doing whatever task needs to be done. Being able to stop yourself from thinking how awful and ‘worthless’ cleaning up might be – whether done in a whiny fashion in which you bitch about how annoying cleaning up is, or done in a state in which you envision devising some clever way to avoid cleaning up: A business plan, an innovation, or any philosophical or logically correct idea – will almost always result in you just getting up and doing the work anyway.

The thought that you have to clean up is easier to accept effortlessly if you tie it into each task you’re doing. It might take 2 minutes to cook Ramen noodles, but it would be erroneous to tell yourself that eating will only take 2 minutes. Though the noodles need to remain in the water for 2 minutes before they are ready, the entire process from opening the cupboard to finishing the dishes takes much longer.

Keeping the entire process from start to finish in mind before you begin will make it easier to quickly accept and finish up anything that needs to be done afterwards. But besides that, cleaning up is actually pretty cool sometimes. Quality cleanliness is an art. Anyone can wiggle a plate left and right under running water and say they did the dishes, but being able to use an efficient amount of water (and no more), the right amount of soap/solution, and devise methods for making finishing the task easier or more efficient, takes practice. And it shows, as you will learn if you live with somebody who’s impatient or simply doesn’t put much effort into cleaning up

Posted in Productivity, Thinking vs Doing at September 21st, 2009. No Comments.

Imagine taking a camcorder and recording yourself for 24 hours on an ordinary day. You could actually get hold of a camera and do this, but this may be difficult as batteries don’t last longer than a few hours, and your camera might not be portable enough to be practical in some situations (mounting it while driving, walking around with it, etc). Just visualizing this scenario works just as well if you put thought and effort into it.

Imagine this in third person; You seeing yourself from the outside, and with no audio (and if you actually do record, play it back on mute).

Your camera is positioned toward your bed and begins recording as soon as you’re up in the morning – up as in conscious, not necessarily fully out of bed. What would you see next? Some people get up right away, but most probably remain in bed fully awake for awhile, pondering the universe and their existence.

Now you go through your morning routine (SSS: shit / shower / shave), and eat, or not. Assuming you sit on the computer to work, what would you see yourself doing? Maybe pausing in between work, browsing random sites, just staring at the screen not doing much.

Imagine the rest of your ordinary day. If you’re a thinker, most of your life only happens in your head. On a muted video, you’re sitting around not doing much, but at that moment in your head, countless thoughts, ideas, worries, and emotions and imagery are happening, and you might not realize that to the rest of the world, you’re just standing still. No action is being taken, and you can finally see why hours go by without much work getting done.

Posted in self-awareness, Thinking vs Doing at August 2nd, 2009. No Comments.

Thinking about doing something, but never actually going ahead and pursuing it is actually more common than you think. I’ve met very very few people (none I can think of off the top of my head) who will take an idea, no matter how simple or grand, or what the potential is, and then implement it. Some start, but most will lose hype in the idea within days if not a few weeks.

When we feel hyped about an idea we have (a new project, a business plan, etc), we feel the idea is brilliant, perfect, etc, and we feel determined to begin working. This hype never lasts however, no matter how brilliant the idea is in an objective sense. We eventually sober down and will easily begin pushing the idea further back on our todo list, if not completely disregarding it as being unfeasible or stupid. Every idea is stupid unless it works.

Being a Doer instead of a Thinker requires an excruciating amount of discipline. 99.9% of people can’t do it. Stop thinking you have a mental illness or any sort of problem, disadvantage or misfortune. You don’t even have a lack of discipline, if you’re comparing yours to the average person. Sure, Amphetamine might help, but it doesn’t mean you have ADD. Depression and anxiety can hinder progress and stop you from doing pretty much anything, but it doesn’t mean not being depressed or anxious will necessarily mean you will begin knocking big projects off your list.

Understanding this may give you a more accurate picture of yourself and put you in a more positive mindset. You don’t want to be normal, you want to be exceptional. Suddenly, there’s nothing ‘wrong’ with you — instead, you have a drive to work beyond your limits and excel at what most people cannot – Doing things when you absolutely don’t feel like it. Skipping naps and other enjoyable things to get shit done.

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.

What you do is your own choice. Nobody can force you to do anything. People can have an influence on you, but so can anything. Filter out things you feel will influence you into doing something for which you won’t accept responsibility.

Things don’t have to suck. Our memories, opinions, beliefs and thoughts label everything good or bad. We choose how to feel. This means that things suck because we choose to believe they suck. See above.

There’s no such thing as multitasking. It takes your brain a little bit of time to settle into the groove of whatever you’re doing. This becomes impossible if you’re constantly distracted or willingly trying to finish multiple things at once. Stop it.

Be confident, but to do so you first have to thoroughly understand what confidence means to you.

Understand and internalize that progress is made in little steps.

We can justify anything to ourselves. We pick certain facts and beliefs and use them to formulate a very logical justification for …pretty much anything. Any one of us can go out and murder children, and no matter how bad we feel about it, we will eventually find countless reasons to justify what we did. This is part of human nature.

Despite what your therapist taught you, when you’re with other people, or in a public place, you likely are being judged and looked at. It’s normal. We all do it all the time. Is it really a problem? Does the judging we do the first second we lay eyes on somebody affect or hurt them? There will always be people who hate you or things you do. They have a right to think you’re retarded or ugly. Why do you care?

Life isn’t a race. You’re not playing against anyone else. Don’t compare yourself to others. This belief can impede everything you do and can sometimes feel impossible to change, even after becoming aware of it.

You can do or be pretty much anything. Excuses are easier to come up with than most other accomplishments, and we naturally choose the path of least resistance. We can learn to speak a new language fluently, or master a new skill, or build something remarkable. We can also convince ourselves that we’re incapable and incompetent.

Life sucks. It will always suck until you decide to believe otherwise.

Change. A big part of changing is just the realization, or belief, that you have changed. All the work you do between point A and point B is done to convince you that you’ve changed. By believing that some change has already occurred, you can greatly speed up the process. For example, if you’d like to be more confident, then just believe (or pretend) that you are, and do what you would do if you were more confident. (I’m not talking about any New-Age shit.)

If you want to lead, take charge. This is easier said than done. Most people will never be able to take charge unless they feel they’re superior to those in their group.

The hardest task is always getting started. There’s rarely a more efficient way than just to stop thinking and start doing. Don’t get stuck in a position where you just sit and think about how to get started, or of any shortcuts. You will end up either never starting, or just getting started the conventional way.

Relax. Things are fine, even when they’re not.

Giving up can be beneficial, or rather: Not knowing when to give up can be detrimental to your health (in the form of stress) and to your productivity. Being overwhelmed with many things to do and no sense of priority (no deadlines) usually means nothing will get done.

We all do it. We write down ideas we have with the intention of getting to them eventually. We register domain names for projects we plan to work on, and we might even begin working on a project as soon as we get the idea for it.

You wake up in the middle of the night and write down some new idea. You note it on your Blackberry, or in the corner of your notebook in class, or you record a voice note, or create a new file for it.

Eventually, we end up with a notebook or a folder containing dozens or even hundreds of ideas and plans. Most of them we have not started, nor even thought about after we recorded them. Some are maybe 5-10% complete, and a few maybe at least 50% done. This is normal, but it can quickly turn into a bad habit.

We become so backed up, that new ideas which may be brilliant quickly get thrown to the end of our project queue, which by now is populated by ideas we’ve had months ago that we still plan on getting to, eventually. This means that most new ideas will remain deferred.

We also feel an accumulating amount of stressed because each plan we have allocates a little space in the back of our mind (the idea stays in our mental RAM). Prioritizing becomes damn near impossible. This is especially a problem when we believe that an idea is “easy” or will take a short amount of time. This is a bad habit.

“Giving up” on some of these ideas and plans doesn’t occur to some people. It didn’t occur to me for a long time. I had intentions to work on all the projects I brainstormed, even when I was renewing the domains I registered for them years ago, that were sitting around inactive.

My brain was full of things I wanted, or felt I needed to get done, but in reality my interest in most of my previous plans had dwindled long ago, and I only held on to them because they remained unique (at least as far as I knew), or because I still thought they had potential, and many of them probably did, and still do. Maybe I felt guilty that I had paid for some resources for a project (such as a domain name, or supplies), and felt a dire need to get at least something done with the resources.

I just let a few hundred dollars worth of domain names expire, and I’m looking for all the books I planned to read years ago, and putting them up for sale. This problem occurs a lot with books. I hate having a queue of books I plan on reading, and then going to the library and coming home with 6 new books that I feel a greater urge to get through because of the return date. And when I go return them, I usually come home with more.

We all have an overwhelming number of projects we’d like to work on. We have a lot of things we’d like to pursue. This is normal, but we don’t have the manpower to get all of these projects even half way done – at least not with any amount of quality that would suffice ever starting on them. It’s time to give up.

Give up. Admit to yourself that you have not gotten to this in a year, and will probably never get to it, and that’s OK. It’s OK if somebody else releases something you intended to a year ago. Keep in mind that not doing anything is the same as intending to do something but never actually doing it.

Also realize that you’re impeding your time, brain power, and other resources from being used to improve things you’ve nearly finished, or on starting a new project that you might have thought up this morning.

Let it go. You might have wasted $10, $20, even $100 registering that domain name, but if it’s just sitting there – and if it has been sitting there for 2 years, what makes you think it won’t remain inactive for another 2 years – then you’re only wasting more money.

It’s similar to how people hold on to a falling stock just to avoid taking a loss, because they fail to see that losing a little is not the same as losing everything. This is also why some people become pack rats, or hold on to certain things they don’t use anymore.

Keep in mind that very few of your brilliant ideas and projects will actually come out as you see them in your head. Most will flop, and the ones you least expect to flourish, will.

No matter what type of project you’re working on, it will require a lot of time, money, a lot of thinking and problem solving, and even way more doing – mostly tedious work. If you think your idea is simple and will only take a few days to release, you’re probably wrong. The actual technical work might take 2 hours, but when you calculate a more realistic, objective, estimate of how long something takes, you almost always come up with a figure way larger than you expected.

For example, changing your car’s oil might take 15 minutes, but this figure might not count all the other necessary steps: Getting the supplies, moving the car to a suitable location, jacking up the car, doing any initial cleaning and preparations, doing the work, cleaning up, and taking into account the fact that in real life, shit happens. I.e., a small nut gets lost, or you realize you’re missing something essential, or you make a mistake.

Besides, do you really want to put all the effort into some small project that you think might have a chance of getting anywhere? Especially when you’re competing with some other people in the world who are focusing solely on this exact idea, and have much more passion about it?

Sit down and jot all the things you need to get done, and then examine each one realistically. Prioritize, and realize that you don’t always have to note down or pursue every single idea you get.

Does it really matter if you wanted or really intended to do something, but ended up just not doing it? As far as the rest of the world is concerned, there’s probably absolutely no difference. In fact, many times it’s better to just admit to yourself that you’re not going to do it and get the weight off your shoulders. Here’s an example of something that happened to me.

I remember I was more than halfway through my semester, and my professor calls me over and says, “it’s near the end of the term and you have not handed ANYTHING in.” I was shocked that time went by as quick as it did, and looking back, I was intending on doing all the missed assignments since the first week of the semester. I attended every class, paid attention, did most of the work (all except missed papers), but deep down I just kept putting the task off.

The intention to make up the work was strong at first, but began fading from my memory the longer I put it off. Eventually, though I still definitely intended on doing the work the next day, the thought would remain in my in my “mental RAM,” subconsciously making me anxious and depressed for months. I couldn’t enjoy my free time because deep down I knew that I had work to finish.

In hindsight, had I dropped the class early on, I wouldn’t have had the weight on my shoulders, and could have probably been more productive in other things I was doing, and if not, then the stress-relief alone would have been a significant pro in itself.

The point of this fairy tale? Just wanting something doesn’t matter. You have to actually do it. I know too many people other than me who have this evil habit. It’s actually quite common, but most people just don’t notice they do it. Every time you put something off, it’s put into a queue, and nearly everything in that queue will NEVER get done.

Sometimes it’s best to stop things from dragging on aimlessly and to liberate yourself. Say “fuck it. This is very important and beneficial, but I’m just never gonna do it,” and take it off your todo list.

Posted in Bad Habits, Productivity, Thinking vs Doing at December 9th, 2008. No Comments.