Romentum

Romentum. WTF?! That is probably what you’re thinking right now and I get it. It will make sense if you stick with me, I promise.

Last week I talked about how sometimes life throws you curveballs and how you just have to get back into the batters box.

Sometimes it’s hard to get back in there. Life is full of surprises. We get sidetracked and we’re slowly led off course. We didn’t mean for it to happen. It just did. Maybe we get too overwhelmed and don’t know where to begin so we just never start.

Rome wasn’t built in a day.

Every day, bricks were laid, stones were carved, and roads were made. It took a lot of hard work, blood, sweat, and tears, and eventually, Rome was built.

Just like Rome, you may have grand visions of the future, but you have to start somewhere. The key to building the grand vision is starting small and building momentum.

You don’t do something once and expect instant results. You need to do it repeatedly; day in and day out. Rome would never have been built if they worked for one day, took two days off, worked for a day, took a week off, and got around to it when they could.

Yet, this is what happens to us all the time. We get sidetracked by secondary activities.

Momentum requires sustained effort and commitment. More importantly, momentum requires change. Big life changes come from small daily changes and change always begins with us.

Embrace the change and make a commitment to yourself that you will make time to achieve your grand vision. Once you start building momentum, you’ll want to keep going. Stopping would almost feel weird.

The only way to build momentum is to start. Do it every day if possible. 5 minutes a day. 10 minutes a day. It doesn’t matter, just get started and eventually, you’ll achieve Romentum.

Life Throws You Curveballs

Once you have clarity and you understand where you are spending your time, you are well on your way to achieving your goals.

The universe doesn’t always see it that way, though.  As you begin to make progress on your goals and you have everything planned out, something will inevitably come along force you to re-prioritize.

These past 2 weeks my dog has been sick. I had my days planned out with what I needed to do, but taking care of him quickly became the #1 priority. Everything else could now wait.

Life is What Happens To You While You’re Busy Making Other Plans

Things happen at inopportune times, and I guess that’s why we have words like emergency and accidents. You do not plan for them to happen, they just do and you must deal with them.

Life throws you curveballs. This is the universes’ way of testing your commitment to your goals.

If you are committed, it is important to step back into the batters box, because as you get better with the curveballs, you’ll be able to knock the fastballs out of the park.

 

Lack of Clarity is Like a Fish Out of Water

A few weeks ago I wrote about how procrastination is caused by a lack of clarity. I’d like to follow that post up with why clarity is so important.

Having clarity is absolutely paramount to achieving your goals. You need to know what it is you want to accomplish and why.

If you are not clear about what it is that you want to do, you flop around like a fish out of the water.

Should I do this? Should I do that? What should I be doing?

The poor fish flops around because it is suffocating, except in our case, it is a lack of clarity that will suffocate you.

Just like without water the fish will die, you will fail without clarity on your goals.

Life is short. Don’t spend the little time you have left flopping around.

Where Are You Spending Your Time

In an effort to end procrastination, a word I am starting to eliminate from my vocabulary, I realized I need to understand where I am spending my time. Where is my time actually going?

I made a spreadsheet, that allows you to track how many hours you spend a week doing a certain activity. There are only 168 hours in a week, so where are you spending your time?

weekly-hourly-planner-spreadsheet

Weekly Hours Planner

The spreadsheet should be pretty self-explanatory, the available hours are on the right (and green), when you run out of hours it will turn red. Fill it in and make it your own. Try to get every hour accounted for. To use it, just go to file > make a copy.

This should be used in conjunction with the weekly planner.

daily-weekly-hourly-planner

After you figure out where you are spending your time, plot it out on the weekly planner. Download it and print a few copies. Fill it in, make it messy, and play with it until you find something that works for you. I understand every week will be different, but if you could make your ideal week, what would it look like?

There are only 168 hours in a week, so where are you spending your time?

Procrastination is Caused by a Lack of Clarity

This was never really intended to be a series (part 1 part 2), but writing about procrastination has been helping me to think bigger. I’ve been reflecting on what I’ve written the last couple of weeks and I kept asking myself, why do I procrastinate. Why is it just so alluring to waste time? I would then ask why again and again.

Below is the type of inner dialogue that played out in my head.

Why do you procrastinate? I’m bored.

Why are you bored? I’m not sure.

That’s not a good answer. Try again. Why are you bored? You know you have stuff you should be working on. I know, but I always end up getting it done when it’s due.

Right, but what about the stuff that doesn’t have a due date, when does that get done? Well, I don’t know. It doesn’t.

Why doesn’t it get done? Why aren’t you working on it? It’s what you want, isn’t it? I guess? My challenge is that I want to work on so many things, that I never actually commit to one.

Why don’t you commit to one? I’m not sure which one I should commit to.

Why? 

Then it finally hit me. I don’t commit because I haven’t fully figured out why I want to do it in the first place. Often, it just seems like the right thing to do or the thing I should be working on.

Sure, goal setting is part of the equation, but even more important is why. Why are you doing it in the first place?

I realize now a mistake I’ve been making, is not thinking things through and taking action without clarity. What I have is a clarity problem.

It’s not enough to just have goals, I need to sell myself on WHY. Clarity is mastery, and when you understand why you’re doing something it helps fill in those spots of boredom. Procrastination is caused by a lack of clarity.

 

The Cost of Procrastination

It’s kind of ironic that my last post, The Procrastination Syndrome: A Terrible Habit, was about how procrastination has plagued me my whole life, and here I am, shipping a blog post past the deadline, only a week later!

Why is this post shipping late? Well, I spilled water all over my desk and my mouse died. I had to clean up a mess and find an extra mouse. I also shouldn’t have waited until the day the blog post was due to write it. Lesson learned. Start keeping a content calendar.

Over the last week, I’ve started to take more of inventory of how I’m spending my time. While I am doing better than last week, there is still plenty of room for improvement.

I heard a quote the other day that really got me thinking about how much procrastination has really cost me, not just financially, but in lost opportunities and, more importantly, time.

Procrastination = giving up one life.

And when you think about it, it’s true. Our time is a limited resource. You can always earn more money, but you can never earn more time.

I am not procrastinating on simple tasks, what I’m procrastinating on, is living my life. I must stop putting off until tomorrow what I can do today.  I don’t want to die having lived an unlived life.

What have you been putting off that you know should be working on? What dream do you keep putting off?

One of my dreams has to always own my own business, but it never seemed like the time was right. I realized it was never the right time because I never made the time. I’m happy to announce my new project, Ruckus Studio.

It’s still a work in progress, and while I may not have completely eliminated procrastination over the course of a week, I’m just aiming to be 5% better than yesterday.

Stop wasting time. Don’t give up.

 

The Procrastination Syndrome: A Terrible Habit

Procrastination seems to be a disease that has plagued me seemingly my whole life. I finished the altMBA in February and told myself that I would continue writing and posting publicly. I told myself, this time, would be different. I made a commitment. Well, two months have gone by, and still no blog posts.

In seemingly ironic fashion, while procrastinating from writing this very blog post, I came across a video on Youtube, “Inside the mind of a master procrastinator, Tim Urban.”

I told myself, and others, that I would have a blog post published by 11:59pm on Tuesday 4/12/16. I had to set a deadline. I knew I would never do it if I didn’t. It’s 10:43 at the time of writing this.

I knew I should have started writing a long time ago,  but I was busy procrastinating. Youtube videos don’t just watch themselves you know. I came across the video, said, only 15 minutes?! I have time for this. I still have almost 2 hours left before the deadline!

So I watched it.

It was actually really good, and worth the 15 minutes.

There was actually a lot of truth to it, especially the end. Tim discusses how as procrastinators, we wait until the deadline to get something done. We always have good intentions to start working on it. Chipping away a little at a time. This time, will be different than the last time, but this time never is. Deja Vu.

There are two forms of procrastination.

  • short term procrastination: a project with a deadline.
  • long-term procrastination: a project with no deadline.

The long-term procrastination is the one that you have to be careful of. With no deadline, there is no urgency. I have come to realize that I need to start creating my own urgency. In an effort to change this bad habit, I am going to start imposing my own deadlines. I will hold myself accountable.

My new goal is to publish a weekly blog post. Due every Tuesday at 11:59pm.

Hopefully, next week I can publish less than an hour before the deadline.

For your procrastinating pleasure…

Recommended Reading List

A list of books I’ve read over the last six months that I would recommend to anyone. Think I will start including summaries and personal comments with these going forward. Also realize viewing an unordered list like this with all these underlines looks terrible.

Personal & Professional Development

Personal Finance

User Experience & Design

Section 7 Project: Create The Visual Design Language for Your Redesign

I got the idea of using style tiles from Samantha Warren.

What are Style Tiles?

Style Tiles are a design deliverable consisting of fonts, colors and interface elements that communicate the essence of a visual brand for the web.

They help form a common visual language between the designers and the stakeholders and provide a catalyst for discussions around the preferences and goals of the client.

Style tiles establish a direct connection with actual interface elements without defining layout.

I find Style Tiles are a great way to really begin thinking about designing the visual identity for the web. You don’t get stuck trying to design the homepage, or pick a font, or even a color. You get to see how everything works at a really high level and adjust it accordingly. Sure you still need to spend time picking out fonts and colors, but I find it a much quicker and smoother process when you can see how everything comes together.

The original Style Tiles can be downloaded as a psd, but I find that when I am trying to design for the web I want to spend more time designing in the browser. You can see how things work in real time, especially hover effects, something that can’t be demonstrated in static document.

For more information on Style Tiles check out Style Tiles – A visual Web Design Process for Clients and the Responsive Web or fork Jerad Gallinger – Style tiles with SCSS.

See the Pen Style tiles with SCSS by Ryan Conway (@conwayeast) on CodePen.

See the full version on CodePen.

My Three Words for 2016

The goal here is to replace resolutions with something a bit more useful. This is an idea was taken from Chris Brogan.

How Do You Do It?

Pick any three words that will guide you in the choices you intend to make for 2016. They should be words that let you challenge yourself as to motives and decisions. They should be words that help you guide your actions.

My 3 Words for 2016:
Grow. Invest. Connect.

Grow

Grow as a person.
Grow my business.
Grow my savings account.
Grow a garden.

Invest

Invest in myself; health, productivity, and personal development.
Invest in my business; learning by implementing.
Invest my time in worthy endeavors and pursuits.
Invest my money.
Invest in others.

Connect

Connect with nature.
Connect with other people.
Connect with influencers.
Re-connect with old friends.
Connect the dots*.

*Steve Jobs talks about this in his famous 2005 Stanford Commencement Address