4 Ways to Defeat Procrastination

Procrastination is a huge problem in the workplace as well as the college environment. We all know that procrastination is bad, but most of us don’t take the necessary steps to combat it in our everyday lives.

Here are a few changes you can implement that will help you defeat procrastination and get your things done:

1. Prioritize Your Health

A few days ago I woke up with a massive headache. I felt terrible. Because of my headache, I stayed in bed till lunchtime and hardly got any work done that day. After reflecting on my day I realized that I had not slept well and had barely been drinking any water the day before.

Your health has a huge influence on your productivity. If you don’t take care of yourself, you won’t have the energy or cognitive power to focus and get your work done. For this reason, prioritizing your health is super important when wanting to defeat procrastination.

The easiest excuse to make is to say “I’m tired,” or “I don’t feel up to it.” But if you take good care of yourself you can eliminate this excuse. If you get a good night’s sleep, eat right, and exercise you won’t feel tired and won’t be able to use that as an excuse not get things done.

A few habits you can implement to increase your energy levels include:

  • Taking more breaks
  • Sleeping more and sleeping better
  • Exercising daily, even if it’s only for a few minutes

For more information about how health influences productivity and performance in the workplace, check out this article on Business News Daily’s website.

2. Eliminate Distractions

We often run to social media and other websites when trying to feed our procrastination habit. These types of distractions will kill your productivity and send you down rabbit holes of links that will never end. Soon enough you will look at your clock and your whole entire day will be gone for good.

There are several tools you can use to defeat these electronic distractions and in turn increase your productivity.

For example, if your smartphone is a huge distraction for you, consider purchasing Forest. Forest is an app in which you plant a tree and watch it grow. The catch is that you can’t leave the app or your tree will die, and you will not earn any coins.

The app plays on a reward system that is meant to give you a positive incentive when trying to stay away from your device. After using the app for about a year, it has proven extremely useful when trying to minimize distractions during my work time.

Forest is available for iOS, Andriod, and Windows phone along with the web browsers Firefox and Google Chrome.

Another helpful way to remove distractions is to block distracting websites from your laptop. For this, I use an app called StayFocusd which allows you to completely block any sites that you find distracting.

I use this app for sites like Facebook, Twitter, and Youtube. At times, it may even be helpful to block all sites that are not relevant to the project you are currently working on. StayFocusd has helped me stay disciplined when surfing the web, and I’m sure it can do the same for you.

A third major distraction is our own thoughts. We can be sitting down ready to work with our phone in the other room and all social media sites blocked on our computer and still get nothing done. This often happens because our minds are not in the right place.

To have better control over your thoughts, try keeping a notebook next to you while you work. Whenever you have a distracting thought, write it down. This helps you get it out of your brain so that you can put your focus back onto the task at hand.

Another way you can have more discipline in this area is to practice meditation. Meditating has been proven to increase your mind’s ability to focus. It also helps you limit distracting thoughts by keeping your focus in the present.

3. Drop Your Excuses

Very often the best solution to stop procrastinating is to just sit down and do the thing. This actually happened with writing this blog post. I had a ton of things on my plate but I knew this article needed to be written, so I forced myself to sit down and write it.

I had been making so many excuses not to write:

“I don’t feel like it”

“I have too many other things to do”

“I’ll get it done later”

It was only when I dropped these excuses that I finally started to get something done.

When trying to get your tasks done, excuses won’t help you one bit. They will only cause to stall even longer. When you find yourself making excuses, simply drop them and remind yourself how important the work you are doing really is.

4. Forgive Yourself When You Mess Up

There are days that I wish I could get back. The days that I spent a majority of my time on Youtube watching gaming videos or listening to podcasts where people argue endlessly about politics. On these days I am often plagued by guilt and question how I could waste so much precious time.

On those type of days, it is important that we forgive ourselves. We simply cannot get that time back. It is important that we learn to make the most of the present rather than dwelling on the past or worrying about the future. Now is all we have, so we should make the most of it.

There you have it, a few of my best tips for defeating procrastination!

Have any other helpful tips? Let us know about them in the comments!

4 Benefits of Journaling

There is often a sort of negative stigma when people say that they keep a journal. Many will make jokes about how you write in your “dairy” about the girl you like. In truth, most people that journal don’t write about their crush and probably wouldn’t care if you called their journal a diary (because, sadly, they are pretty much the same thing).

In reality, journaling is not just for super sensitive people who write about their feelings. Journaling has been proven to have positive effects that we all should take into account.

Below I have listed a few of those benefits that I think are relevant to this blog and to you, my readers:

1. Helps Improve your Writing and Communication Skills

As a writer, I often write in my journal as a means to practice my craft. Journaling is fun because it is a carefree form of writing, there is no pressure to share or publish the things that I write. It all stays within my journal.

Most writers keep journals and write in them every day. This is a great practice for anyone who wants to improve their skills with words.

Journaling has not only been linked to better writing skills but also to better communication skills in general. According to the Huffington Post , improving your writing has a direct correlation to improving your vocal communication.

So with journaling, you can kill two birds with one stone (or in this case, one notebook).

2. Increases Creativity

When we journal we are writing down our thoughts without a filter, this allows for creativity and new ideas to spring up.

Journaling is extremely helpful when trying to beat writer’s block. As a writer, I often put too much pressure on myself to write well. Journaling allows me the freedom to write exactly what I want the way that I want.

This is freeing and can lead to me feeling inspired and ready to write on my computer. It is also a helpful way for me to generate ideas for blog posts.

3. Reduces Stress

Laying out our emotions on a page can be very therapeutic. Writing about negative experiences can often help us further discover why a certain event hurt us so much. Journaling can help us grasp these negative experiences and turn them around for good.

Expressing yourself is often the best way to let go of negativity. When we let our negative emotions just sit inside of us they often destroy us, but when we share or express them we get relief.

Think of journaling as a type of conversation with yourself. You are explaining to yourself why you feel a certain way. It’s basically a form of therapy without the actual therapist.

4. Helps You Know Yourself Better

By far the biggest benefit of journaling is that it allows you to know yourself better.

Like I alluded to in my previous point, journaling can help us identify negative thought patterns. In short, journaling can teach us about the way we think.

After you journal, look back and read what you wrote. Here you can see exactly what you were thinking at that moment (this is why it is important to journal without a filter).

Journaling can also help you learn about your dreams, ambitions, and desires.

People often say that whatever it is that your mind wonders to when you are alone is the thing you want most in life. This is true and you can figure out what this thing is by writing in your journal.

When we express ourselves through writing, we often like to tell about the things we want. This is helpful because many of us don’t actually know what we want, but we can learn through journaling.

What Should you Write About?

Now that you know that there are several benefits to journaling, the next logical thing to ask is: what should I write about?

The simple answer is anything.

Anything that comes to your mind, whether it’s about a memory, a person you just met, or a movie you want to see.

Most people like to reflect on their day when they journal. This is a helpful way to evaluate your way of living and generate gratitude for the things you have.

When I journal, I just write anything and everything that comes to my mind. Often times I find myself jumping around to several different thoughts. This is not a bad thing because journaling is simply a way for us to express what we are thinking and feeling at that moment.

I have been journaling for about two years and have seen these benefits show themselves in my life. For this reason, I recommend journaling for everyone no matter your age, gender, or occupation.

There you have it, several of the best benefits of journaling.

Have you noticed any other benefits from keeping your own journal?

If so, let me know in the comments!

Chance the Rapper & the Power of Optimism

On May 12 Chicago raised hip-hop artist Chance the Rapper released his newest mixtape Coloring Book. The project has received great reception and peaked at #8 on the United States Billboard charts.

The most noted aspect of the project has been the optimistic and spiritual undertones. The music is fun, positive, and can even make you feel like a kid again. This seems to be one of Chance’s goals with the mixtape, he wants you to “make you remember how to smile good.”

Positive music continues to grow more popular. Whether it’s Kendrick Lamar or J. Cole, songs like “i” and “Love Yourz” are some of my favorites. It is not a surprise that positivity is attractive, especially in the negative world we live in where people complain so much more than they laugh.

If positive music is so popular, why don’t we embrace its message in our daily lives? Why does the positivity need to stay within the music?

The short answer is that positivity is hard to come by. There’s so much to be pessimistic about: the weather, your job, politicians.

But what if we learned how to be more optimistic? What would be the result?

Well, optimism has several benefits. The first being that it makes you extremely likable. Who wants to be around negative people?

Let’s go back to Chance. If his music had a different message do you think it would be as popular?

He’d still have tons of fans due to his talent and raw ability to rap, but I would argue that he wouldn’t be receiving this much mainstream attention without the optimism factor.

The positivity is the main reason I like Chance’s new project as much as I do.

Optimism draws people to you because it is something you can share. If you think and live positively, it has a profound influence on the people around you. Optimism is contagious.

Being optimistic also helps you deal with failure. When faced with a project that falls apart or a plan that doesn’t work out, optimism helps you look at setbacks in a positive light. When you are optimistic you can see failure as a means to learn rather than letting it impede your success.

Optimism is also good for your health because it counteracts negative emotions like stress and anxiety.

According to Psychology Today optimists have lower cortisol levels than pessimist.

They wrote the following after making observations about a study conducted at Concordia University:

pessimists tend to have a higher stress baseline than optimists. Pessimists generally [have] trouble regulating their sympathetic nervous system when they go through stressful experiences. The inability to look on the bright side causes cortisol to stay constantly elevated.”

People who are optimistic are also more likely to exercise and have healthy diets. This does not require much explaining. If you have a positive outlook on life you are more likely to care about your health and overall quality of living.

In conclusion, it is important to remember that optimism is a choice. It is not something that just comes and goes naturally. It is also not based on circumstances.

Optimists don’t ignore negative things, they simply search for the good that is hiding within the bad.

Positive thinking can change your life in so many ways. The more we look at life as a gift rather than something we are entitled to, the more we will enjoy it.

Let’s remember how to smile good.

Don’t be the Cranky Old Lady at Taco Bell

 

A few days ago I went to Taco Bell to pick up something for dinner. While there I witnessed a woman possessed with all the villainy that can possibly be held within a human being.

Upon walking in she seemed normal, just standing near the counter waiting for her order. A few minutes later she began complaining:

Is that my order?

I’ve been here for a half hour waiting for my food!

After she finally received her food I thought she’d shut up. But no this was only the beginning.

She started to argue relentlessly with the cashier.

Where’s my bag of chips?? See the picture I’m supposed to get a bag of chips!

The cashier, a woman probably in her late twenties, was very gracious to her. She kindly tried to explain to the older woman that a bag of chips did not come with the order. The woman ordered a Doritos Locos Taco, and the chip bag in the photo was there to illustrate that the taco shell was made out of potato chips.

After complaining for another 2-3 minutes the woman made her way out the door proclaiming that she’d never be eating there again.

 

I must admit, the food did take longer than I expected. It probably around 6-10 minutes to be done.

But is your order at Taco Bell taking longer than expected really worth getting that pissed off for? So much so that people can almost literally see steam coming off of your scalp? Is anything worth that?

After reflecting on this for a few minutes I came to realize how many people get pissed off about everything. They’re so cynical about society that they can’t even enjoy the simplest and most beautiful things in life (yes, Taco Bell I’m looking at you).

Some people just don’t know how to be happy. They’re so wrapped up in their own misery and misfortune that they treat everyone else like bags of garbage.

My advice for you?

Don’t be that angry old lady at Taco Bell.

Don’t be that dad yelling and screaming at his kid during his basketball game.

Don’t be that professor that makes her students miserable on purpose.

There a several ways you can prevent yourself from becoming this angel slayer coldhearted type of person:

The first way is to have a purpose and a drive. When people have no reason to get up in the morning, it’s a lot easier for them to find ways to make everyone else miserable.

When you aren’t living for something you won’t be happy. When you’re not happy you’re probably going to end up angry. When you end up angry you’re going to ruin people’s days. When you ruin people’s days… congrats you’ve become the cranky old lady at Taco Bell. 

Another way to not be a jerk is to learn to empathize with people. Although I’ve never worked at a restaurant before, I bet it sucks. Waitresses and cashiers are often running around doing 56 things at once. You are not their only priority.

Imagine being in their position. Stressed and tired from working your butt off. You’ve been working tirelessly at your crappy job just trying to get by. Then some lady walks in and starts yelling about how she didn’t get her bag of chips.

How would you react to that?

How would you feel?

How would you respond?

Doesn’t sound like fun to me.

A final way you can stop yourself from becoming the cranky old lady at Taco Bell is to put your ego aside. Most people that spend their time complaining at restaurants have a strong feeling of entitlement. Not a healthy feeling of entitlement either.

A healthy level of entitlement would be something like: I want food that doesn’t kill me and that tastes good.

Unhealthy egotistical entitlement is when you think that everything needs to be perfect because you deserve for it to be perfect. You think that you are so significant and so important that Taco Bell better get your food out to you fast and they better have your bag of chips.

The worst part is: a bag of chips didn’t even come with the meal. This woman felt entitled to something that wasn’t even on the menu.

News flash: Unless you’re a powerful political leader or a renown world-recognized specialist, you’re really not that significant.

There are literally 7 billion other people on the planet. You’re not that important and that’s actually a good thing. 

Because you’re not that significant you can put aside your ego. Don’t worry Netflix can wait, you don’t need to be in such a rush. And you sure don’t need to take out all your life’s frustration out on the cashier at Taco Bell.

You’re not Superman. You shouldn’t want to be Superman. The world is not in dire need of you. You should be okay with waiting a few extra minutes for your meal and you should be okay with not getting your potato chips.