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It is true, fellow procrastinators: Procrastination can be overcome. It only took me around 25 years to overcome this seemingly insurmountable obstacle once.

I have a presentation due on Tuesday. Since I’m working a full shift on Monday, I decided to try to work ahead a little, and voilà! Here I am, with a beautiful Sunday evening stretching emptily ahead of me.

And I guess I’ll just have to find something else to do on Monday night at 3 am. Maybe something boring and ordinary like sleeping will help me cope with the loss of the adrenaline rush that I usually enjoy at that crucial point of my industrious “preparation.”

Would you like to know how I did it? I guess it was kind of a freak accident. But I also pursued a strategy this time that was different from what I had been practicing the last two years. Over the course of these two years, my procrastination had gotten worse continuously and I kept cutting deadlines closer than the ones before. One of my friends, a psychology student, spoke about “handicapping yourself on purpose”.

Whatever you want to call it, I’ve been trying to do things differently this last month. So, instead of waiting as long as possible and then delving into the job without thinking much, I tried to get more of an overall perspective of the work ahead of me instead:

For articles or essays that were due, I wrote outlines and structured my arguments (basic procedures, I know…). For my presentation, I had to come up with some activities, so I did a little research and then started brainstorming. After that, I structured the job ahead of me into steps. And suddenly, everything fell into place, and everything seemed so simple, and that was when I had my epiphany. My mind is now as serene as the beach on the picture above.

Do you guys have any tipps on how to deal with procrastination?

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When there’s a lot to do, I often have to cut back on my time for hobbies and other leisure activities like reading or hiking. I guess that’s just something you have to live with if you’re not one of the people courageous and risk-loving (and talented) enough to turn your creative hobby into a full-time job. I think doing something for a living often detracts from the pleasure we have in doing something, because it adds a lot of pressure. Deciding not to pursue a career in opera singing was probably one of the wisest choices I ever made. I am reminded of that every time I have a sore throat.

Still, whenever I’m really busy for a long stretch of time, I often feel a little like I’m losing myself (as well as just losing it when it gets really hectic). I guess one of the things I really like about doing creative stuff is that it reminds me of who I am and the little things that make life worth living, like finding a hidden stairway on one of my rambles up the hill where I live.

 

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