Lately I’ve felt at odds with my ambitions at a daily level due to lacking energy and efficiency. I suspect the primary culprit is a lack of sleep. I’m doing my best to get back on track. You’ll hear more from me once I do!
There are two components to getting things done:
These are the two major categories that I think everything related to getting things done falls under. I did a brief search of the blogosphere and found several interesting pieces on the concept of “getting things done.” There’re even Getting Things Done (GTD) Systems and whole books about this.
The different thoughts and systems all dance around the aforementioned core concepts. The following discussion is not meant to serve as strict rules that you must follow but as inspiration to develop your own mindset and methodology to reaching your goals. Here is my way:
- First, determine what there is to be done. This can be assignments from class, hobbies, or random things that have come up for any reason.
- Now prioritize these tasks. Tasks with deadlines get top priority, obviously. Hobbies and other things are more flexible.
- Finally these tasks are in a position to gain motivation.
- Find the light at the end of the tunnel for everything you want to do. The most important thing is to make the light concrete. For school make sure the goal is a tangible reward such as a higher GPA. For other tasks make sure there is an end product that you can look at and know you’re done. Abstract ideas are troublesome because humans can rationalize away delays or anything else that can set you back.
- Decide why these goals help you get what you want. It helps to make these as tangible as possible (“a great job in the future” is better than simply “success”, for example)
- Start! The most important thing is to actually start whatever task you are currently working on. Don’t tell yourself you’ll start after you check your e-mail or catch up on Facebook updates. Just start!
- Don’t get distracted.
I think the two biggest points to this process is deciding why you want to reach your goals and starting. Once you figure out why you want something your human nature is to reach for it. The next tough thing is to actually start working on it. If you accomplish that the completion does not take as much will power.
As I mentioned earlier these ideas serve more as guidelines so feel free to adapt them into your own process or modify these ideas with other tools. For example, following this process is simplified by Google Tasks. Just make sure you don’t lose yourself in setting yourself up for success and forget to actually succeed (like I said… Start! Just do it!0.
I believe I found this some time ago on Reddit. Pretty interesting (and accurate, I think). Enjoy!
“Nobody trips over mountains. It is the small pebble that causes you to stumble. Pass all the pebbles in your path and you will find you have crossed the mountain.”
I first heard this quote from a high school friend and has no known source as far as I can tell but it has impressive lessons. In my own life this has played out so many times that I wish I’d known this since the day I was born. Even as I write this there are little things that stand to trip me up and derail my quest to succeed in life.
One way this can play out in life can be as simple as e-mail messages piling up. I’ve gotten better about it but there are still times when I will not reply to an e-mail as soon as I can and this piles up over time. As the e-mails pile up eventually I am unable to really respond to it because now there are dozens of messages and the task of replying to them becomes daunting and sometimes impossible for time-sensitive issues.
Another way I think about is that the mountain of completing an assignment and getting a good grade is never an issue but where it falls apart is when a small part of the assignment is ignored for some reason (perhaps, say, if I feel like it’s not worth it). The other level to it is that if I stumble on a pebble early on (such as slacking off on the first problem set in a class) then I can’t pass later pebbles in the quest to climb the mountain and learn the subject material because I’ve fallen down and can’t get up as later pebbles continue to trip me up.
In looking for the exact quote I came across this blog that ultimately does a much better job of talking about the quote. I consider it more evidence for the validity of the quote. Perhaps you can add more evidence to this wise expression?
I’ve had the fortunate opportunity to attend two career fairs in the last two days. On Tuesday there was an event called TechConnect that brought together technology companies (engineering, biomedical, and even business strategy consulting and some finance which really aren’t technology but they’re looking for the engineer’s critical thinking and analytical skills). I talked with several companies and they asked for my resume which I take to be a good thing. It could just be a formality after all but it was exciting nevertheless. I had similar results at the career fair where many more companies were present.
Hopefully this all leads to some great opportunities for careers. I’m really excited about some of the companies!
All the mistakes I’ve made are resurfacing and it’s tough to deal with it all. Hopefully it all goes well. Wish me luck!
I’ve been very busy packing things and making sure I’m not forgetting anything for school. As a result my posting has slowed down a bit. I haven’t decided how often I want to commit to posting during the school year but I think that a conservative once-a-week estimate will be good to make sure I can post regularly and also ensure good academic performance.
Here are things you can expect: band camp shenanigans, schoolwork ramblings, new thoughts from meeting new people, and more. But I really do have to focus on schoolwork so a weekly or biweekly posting cycle would benefit. I think the most interesting thing in the coming school year will be recruitment fairs, job interviews, and other after-graduation issues. Wish me luck!
In the mean time I made a new song parody (this time of Justin Bieber’s “Baby”) so check that out. This’ll be the last time I can post until I’m moved in which should be approximately this coming Sunday or Monday depending on how long it takes exactly.
Withdrawal is generally described as feeling worse and worse until hitting a plateau after which symptoms dissipate.
I don’t think I could physically be dependent on any of my bad habits but it seems plausible that my body adjusted to my sleep cycle and is having a very difficult time adjusting back to a more normal one, for example. What I’ve been facing in the last few days is the culmination of a week of discomfort in which though I went to bed at 11pm, I would either get up at 3am and be unable to sleep only to crash and want to pass out in bed at about 11am or if I slept all night it would not be a restful sleep. I’d still want to pass out at 11am. Clearly I have some issues to work out and part of it is that I’ve gotten myself used to sleeping strangely to the point that my body thinks a more normal sleep schedule is abhorrent and doesn’t want to follow it.
I’ve been having trouble eating well too. Though for about a week I was able to essentially force myself onto a normal eating schedule I can’t seem to keep it up.
Perhaps I’m just losing the discipline that I’m doing my best to develop? That’d be unfortunate. Regardless, since I’m aware that this is happening I should do everything I can to make sure I continue to work hard at my new commitments and hopefully it will get easier with time and practice.
I also hope that going home will provide some respite that will aid in my recuperation and reinvigoration.
Two days ago I was unable to sleep until 7AM. Yesterday I managed to get to bed at 11PM but woke up around 3AM. My sleep cycle is a mess but I’m doing everything I can to rectify it. in the meantime I’ve decided that if I’m going to be up unable to sleep anyway, I may as well make the time useful rather than lay in bed trying futilely trying to sleep or playing games.
On Saturday night (or Sunday morning, if you prefer) I researched the fluid mechanics of draft tubes and as a result I now know how draft tubes work. Early this morning I started to solve systems using Lagrangian mechanics so that I can begin to understand the theory behind the research project I’m working on. In both cases these are things I’ve wanted to do. Instead of taking time when I am sleepless to goof off, I’ve managed to turn sleepless nights into something a bit more productive. If you have a To-Do list, simply follow that and you’ll be immensely productive.
The inevitable exhaustion at random points during the day is troubling but since I had been productive instead of lazy while I was unfortunately awake, I had the luxury to rest during the day.
I didn’t sleep however! I’m going to sleep now and hopefully not wake up until later in the morning tomorrow and have a normal day tomorrow.
Let’s hope it works!!
The most difficult part of creating new habits is actually making them a habit. In the past few days I’ve gotten off my more efficient lifestyle and it’s translated into a loss of productivity and even a lowering of my mood. I’ve still gone to the bookshop and I’ve still gone into lab (and even made some important steps on my project) but I could have done a lot more with little effort.
I actually learned this in two ways because on top of the abstract front of making things a habit I have a cup that I use to drink chocolate milk and orange juice out of. If I’m doing well with returning the cup to its place and rinsing it out, then the next time I’d like a drink it’s very easy to get the drink and pour it out. On the other hand if I’m feeling lazy and just leave it around, I mess up my room which stresses me out and next time I want to get a drink I have to spend time cleaning it out. All-in-all the short-term gain is not worth the extra hassle, so it’s better off if I just return the cup everytime. But while I can see very tangibly the result of not following my cup habit longer term goals that could take weeks or months to see positive or negative results are difficult to track and thus very difficult to actually do consistently. The loss of time or failure as a result of lack of preparation can be exponentially more severe, however, so it’s all the more vital to stay on track with the bigger things that are harder to keep on top of. I suppose that’s understandable enough.
Hopefully in the next few days you’ll see me get my efficiency back and life will be good again.