Every week, I make a new post about the recent things I’ve learned about life and how I intend to prevent them the next time. And I post them somewhere toward the end of the week or the end of the next week. Please enjoy, and you’re always welcomed to share your suggestions and opinions. Thank you.
Quote of the week!
The ultimate measure of a man is not where he stands in moments of comfort and conveniences, but where he stands at times of challenge and controversy. — Martin Luther King Jr.
Last Week’s Main Lesson
Last week was all about researching and discovering why I was unable to reduce my responsibilities from WIL #1. Why? Because, after 5 weeks,I realized that I still hadn’t made much progress with my responsibilities like I thought I did, and this became depressingly stressful. So, what I decided to do was take a look at my weekly lessons to try to identify what lessons I haven’t been applying and what lessons I haven’t been fully utilizing. To just show you what I mean though, here is the list of the lessons I haven’t been applying with my analysis & evaluation:
- There are times when you don’t feeling doing what you’re suppose to be responsible for. This is true, and I agree that I haven’t been wholeheartedly taking my time with every thing. However, I have been persistent about it. It’s just that I either rushed myself every time or I underestimated a task that was actually bigger than expected. That’s why I’m going to start re-evaluating and breaking down my tasks if they take longer than an hour from now on. This way, I’ll be able to reconnect with what I’m supposed to be doing and stay focused. It’s going to be tedious re-planning a long task every time, but I think it’s going to be a great idea however.
- Most of the time I felt overwhelmed by my tasks, but I never realized it. Well I’ve recently discovered why I became overwhelmed by tasks — certain tasks. It was always the moments I felt hesitant or slightly unwilling to do a task — it was the tasks I didn’t want to do. But I came up with a way to solve this issue though. Just turn an annoying task into a super small task and spend a good 10-20 minutes on it each day. And bam, not so annoying after all.
- I noticed I haven’t been reading books still and that I’ve been reading blogs more, and I also realized that I’m still trying to be a perfectionist by investing too much research time on my problems. What’s crazy about this lesson here is that I’m STILL being a perfectionist. I spend so much time researching information on the internet that I get caught up in writing the perfect client proposal… So what I did was research ways to overcome perfectionism. That’s when I came across 3 useful solutions: use deadlines, focus on getting a task done then improve it afterwards, or clarify what I’m expecting out of this task… Now, I am not going to use deadlines, because I feel pressured when something is due, and also because I end up not doing it well, finishing it late, or even continuing to finish the task. With that said, I’m not sure if I should just half-ass a task and not do my best. So I’m just going to continue re-evaluate my tasks, like I said earlier, and if I find myself not doing what I originally was doing, I’ll just discontinue doing any more additional work on the task and half-ass it. I can always improve it later anyhow.
- Meditate 45 minutes before work, and at 12:30pm or 5:00pm. I have to say, I was actually doing the meditation right, but I didn’t understand why I got sleepy so often. I found out that this is common for beginners though and that this effect is only temporary. So I’m just going to start meditating again and do a 14 day meditation challenge. I’ll share my results with you on WIL #8.
- I need to start getting all important things done by Friday. With my recent lessons being about not using deadlines anymore, I decided to change my approach to this lesson. What I do now is work my butt off trying to get a lot of tasks done before Thursday is over with, and on Friday I dedicate that whole day to my blog (this one) and my personal development (sometimes over the weekend too). I don’t allow any tasks to creep into my weekends anymore either because that stresses me out in the long-run and starts to make me feel reluctant about my tasks, which usually sets in after about 2 weeks of constantly working hard.
- Add variety to your task life. Now, I most certainly haven’t been doing this. In fact, I’ve forgotten all about this lesson, so shame on me. But with my new way of
getting things done— I mean putting time into new tasks, this lesson will certainly be applied from hereon. Truth be told: It’s going to be the most beautiful part about how I get tasks done from hereon :).
- Get an accountability partner if you want to be successful. Well last week and the week before that, I’ve not been able to connect with my mentor, so I haven’t been able to keep in contact with an accountability partner. But one of my main issues regarding this, now that I’ve begun to say something about this, is making sure people pick up the phone at the time that I tell them I’ll call or they’ll call. I tried to research this, but couldn’t figure this answer out. But I just thought of a possible solution to this case. From now on, when people tell me what time they’ll call me, I’ll tell them to call me 30 minutes to an hour before the time they’ll claim to call me. And if I’m calling them, I’ll tell them that I’ll call 30 minutes to a hour to remind them what time our phone call is suppose to take place. This way I’ll be able to determine whether I should make time to do other tasks instead of waiting all day and burning time.
- Check your email at noon and before bed… NEVER after you wake up! Let me tell you: I honestly stopped checking my email like crazy and started focusing more on my work. I even went far by re-forwarding my blog subscriptions to another email that was entirely dedicated to my education. So now I have 3 emails: one for contacting and networking with people, one for educational purposes, and the other one for web design blog subscriptions… But to be more honest, I don’t even bother to check my educational email or web design email accounts, because I really don’t feel like reading them and because I just feel energetically drained from not being able to have time for web design (which kind of sounds like I’m going to depression, now that I’ve said that? Hmm…). Nonetheless, I will make time some day to get back into web design. I promise. I just need to figure out my time management issue and I’ll be able to get back rolling.
- Dedicate 1 hour to my passion (web design). Ha. It’s funny how I just said I’ll dedicate time to my passion some day, but I’m still going to hold out on this one here and focus on my responsibilities. I REALLY need to figure this one out because my responsibilities are getting to a point where I’m feeling like they can break me during any day of the week and make me give up. Persistence is going to win the battle though. Lego!
- Read books on the weekday and blogs on the weekend. I have to say that I haven’t done this at all, because I’ve been contemplating how I want to consume information from now on. Come to think about this, this was the reason I stopped reading my email so much, as there was a moment, a few weeks ago, where I realized that I really had to figure out how to deal with information overload and a way to stop learning information that would later become stagnant — irrelevant information. So what I decided I’d do was to only use blogs when I’m stuck or unable to understand a section or paragraph in a book I’m reading, and to read blogs over the weekend only. But I still haven’t followed up with that just yet, because right now, I’m studying how I’m currently consuming information. This strategy will definitely be utilized soon though. Believe it.
I notice that I realize how reluctant I’ve become about tasks and projects every 2 weeks. I don’t know why, but this has actually been a pattern that has most noticeably been going on since 2012 (last year). I can’t say much about this issue, but I can only say that it’s the time that I start to become insecure about deadlines. Maybe it’s because I’m not making the progress that I anticipated from the beginning. I’m not sure.
When I outline my day, estimating how long I’ll work on the tasks or projects for today, and for the tasks that I don’t do, scratch those out and calculate the time spent on tasks and projects for today. Also categorize these tasks under different areas of my life (personal, work, family, friends, etc.). You’re probably wondering why this is so long. Well it’s long because that is my new GTD system that I’m implementing from now on. With that said, I don’t work with deadlines anymore — I work with goals. I love tracking my daily performances because it actually shows how productive I truly am, compared to this weekly journal. And it keeps me motivated to work even harder the next day, which is my favorite part about this system.
To remain motivated, you need to frequently remember and evaluate why you’re doing a task or a project, and you also need to be fierce about it — so fierce that your tears actually push you. I read an article a week ago, and it mentioned that “you have to have a vision of what you want, and you have to want it fiercely ” And that “you have to throw your whole weight behind getting it.” What does the weight part mean? I’m not sure, but I definitely get the gist of what this author is saying, because prior to me even starting this weekly session about the lessons I’ve learned from last week, I used to wake up every morning ferociously telling myself that I was going to man up and take action on a task I didn’t want to do. Long story short, their are blogs that say never resist change, but I definitely resisted this change, and I was successfully. And I don’t know why, but I’m glad it happened for me, because I probably wouldn’t be here writing this blog post right now if I hadn’t pushed myself to overcome those situations. That’s why I agree with the author, because when you actually go outside of your comfort zone and coldheartedly connect your desires with your emotions, something happens inside of you. And it’s this moment that you either become fully immune or temporarily immune to this type of circumstance — as if you’ve stole the heart of a king and taken advantage of it… I can’t really explain it, but that’s as close as I can get. So what I’m saying is, every 2 weeks, evaluate your projects and ask yourself why you’re doing it. If you don’t feel emotionally connected, then you probably need to become aggressive about it and boost your head up like the NFL football players do. And if it’s something to do with a task, then need to do the same thing.
Use a todo list to keep track of what I need to do, and use a timesheet to track the usage of your todo list.
When simple things take forever, that means it is more of a project than a task, which means the so called “task” (project) needs to be broken down into stages. It took me FOREVER to realize this dude. I am not lying. Every time I made a “task” (project) it was always what I needed to do, instead of how to I could do what I needed to do. But see, I found out that I wasn’t the only one who failed to realize this. Like right now, chances are you’ll say “Duh! Who doesn’t know the difference between a project and task?!”, but can you even begin to define that right now? I bet not, because I’ve done my research and discovered that EVERY blogger has had a problem differentiating a task from a project. This isn’t propaganda right now. In fact, I had to read through a bunch of articles (which there weren’t too many) just to be able to conclude what a task and a project was to me. See, it turns out that a task is a small activity that can be done in less than 30 minutes (and can also be repeated too), and it turns out that a project is a list of medium to large sized activities that are required to complete a big task, which take at least 3 hours to complete. So if you’re working on a task, and it takes more than 3 hours to finish, it’s considered to be more of a project than a task. So stop confusing your tasks with projects and save yourself from feeling like a prolonged slave.
Wit the above lesson mentioned… schedule tasks and develop a routine for projects. It’s that simple.
Work for 3-5 hours and then an extra hour before my bed time. Every since I’ve decided to work with routines instead of just thinking about work as 1-6pm, I’ve been realizing that I haven’t been as flexible with my time as I wished I thought. See, by working from 1-6pm, I still worked a job… And not when I felt like working, which as been making me feel reluctant. So what I’ve decided to do is work 3 hours AFTER waking up, two more hours after my 30 minute break, and another hour before bedtime.
Don’t just make “promises.” Make small promises that you’re confident about. I’m always saying that I’ll go to bed early, and work 2-4 hours without distractions, but I never, ever keep my word. And it seems like replacing my habits aren’t as effective as well (well, I don’t know of any good replacements at the moment). So to keep it as simple and as easy as possible, what I’ve decided to do is make and keep small promises with the rule that there can be no exceptions. In other words, when 11:50 hits the clock, stop doing every thing and pack up for tonight, and when I work, take breaks no longer than 15 minutes and get back to work.
Adapting to A Changing Lifestyle. On the March 9th, I finally walked and got my college degree, but towards the end of the graduation, our guest speaker Jeff Good gave my 2013 class a story about his struggles in becoming successful. Then he shared his wisdom, which was learning to adapt to change in life when all the doors close… That very day, I didn’t even celebrate my graduation. I went home and did research on how to adapt to change, and even went so far that I got other people’s input on how to adapt to difficulties in life. What I learned was that I was actually doing one of the best things that allowed me to adapt to a situation. It was:
- Tracking and analyzing my life with this blog, which I now officially consider a very great investment to my life’s sake.
- Every situation has its pros and cons. Meaning… There is always an advantage to utilize in every situation you face. You just have to identify the opportunities that difficulties bring to you.
- Work at my own pace (not at deadline’s pace), because I don’t have to be an early web designer. I just need to keep myself afloat and build momentum from there, which reminds me what Nipsey Hussle once said: “I live fast, because I took my time with this sh*t.”
- Remember to do things that calm my mind every once in a while. 30 minutes to a hour makes a big difference.
- Continue to exercise and meditate. Exercise is something I’m going to get back into very soon, I just need to complete my 14 day meditation challenge haha.
The Break Down
So to summarize this long post, I went ahead and broke it down into different sections for you:
- A task is considered a project if it takes more than 3 hours to complete. So when I consider a task a project, break that project down. (by the way, I use Astrid to manage my tasks and Trello to manage my projects).
- Re-evaluate tasks that take longer than 1 hour to complete. This most likely means that I have underestimated a task, and that I need to refresh my focus.
- Breaks don’t last longer than 15 minutes. Only lunch breaks do, and those are up to 30 minutes.
- Schedule tasks and develop a routine for tasks.
- Continue to analyze and evaluate my weekly goals and monthly goals. This is keeping me on track.
New Habits to Create
- When someone says they’ll call me at a certain time, tell them to call me 30 minutes to an hour before they call to let me know IF they run into a situation. And when I say I’ll call someone at a certain time, tell them I’ll call 30 minutes to an hour before I let them know IF I’ve ran into a situation.Breaks don’t last longer than 15 minutes. Only lunch breaks do, and those are up to 30 minutes.
- There are no exceptions or excuses for sleeping on time. Go the hell to bed.
- Before I go to sleep, choose the tasks and projects I’ll work on tomorrow and estimate how many minutes or hours I’ll spend on them. Then — when I wake up tomorrow — make a schedule to do those tasks first thing. Then, when I’m done for today, eliminate the tasks and projects that I haven’t spent time on, and re-estimate the time that I spent on my tasks and project. Finally… add up my total time spent doing tasks and working on projects to see how much time I’ve put into today. Also, don’t forget to categorize the tasks/projects and time under Personal, Work, Family, etc.
- Spend 3 hours working on responsibilities and tasks the first thing when I wake up. Then, after my 30 minute break, work two more hours. And finally, work 1 more hour before I go to sleep. (This is 6 hours total, every day.)
- Start my 14 day meditation challenge.
- Figure out how I’m consuming information, because I need to start reading books more and start reading less articles.
- Figure out my time management issue to get back into web design.