What do you do when you have a thought or idea pop into your mind that you want to remember? Before my adventure into the realm of productivity began I was the type of person that would make a “mental note of it”, letting it then float around in my head until it would dissolved into a thousand disparate pieces, or simply obliterated altogether. That thought, that ground-breaking idea was never to be heard from again.
Like you, my time is precious. I remember as a kid always delaying things, putting things off. Basically hoping they would magically get done by themselves. There were many times when my dad would tell me to stop procrastinating. The word “procrastinate” meant little to five-year old me. Nevertheless, my dad would advise me against it and it is a mantra I still try to live by.
We all do it, in fact, you might be doing it right this very moment. So why then is it so attractive to delay the inevitable and what can we do about it?
Today started like any other day. Except that the last day of the year is tomorrow. At the back of my mind a small nuisance nags at me, hounding me to come up with some grand plan. Some “resolution” about something I need to change in the year that follows.
And yet I cannot think of anything other than “get healthier” which seems lame an uncreative. What if I don’t need to change something. Or improve something? This year, for me, it’s about doing something.
Have you ever been faced with a scenario that has really made you stop and think about who you are and the way you live? We go about our everyday lives as though nothing will ever change; as though what is now has always been and will always be.
The pace of daily life is incredibly fast. Often we do whatever we can to keep up, to get by, to be able to pay the bills, life can very quick pass us by. In fact, this has never been more true! With technology in our pockets wherever we go we often have our heads buried in a mobile phone and don’t even look up. There is a whole world flying by that we’re missing out on.
In past posts I’ve shared how to get in control of your money and how to plan your money for the future and hinted at the best system to help you get there is YNAB. Here I will share with you exactly what YNAB is, how it works and why I love it so much. The name YNAB stands for You Need A Budget and unless you’re already living the dream you probably need to manage your money some how. Many people (myself included) look to productivity blogs such as this typically don’t have amazing money handling skills. I’m a spender. I love technology, video games and gadgets, these are normally expensive items so handling my money was always a problem. I had tried budgeting before, but I could never get it to stick. I would spend an evening creating some average looking spreadsheet with expenses and then allocate an amount to each, but three things wouldn’t work for me:
- I would never open the spreadsheet up again
- The spreadsheet was never accurate
- I hate spreadsheets
We all have a mountain of things to do. Some things need to be done right away, some tomorrow and some can be done later, as long as they all get done. But what if they don’t? What happens if the things you were supposed to do today end up slipping through the cracks? Tomorrow’s agenda then grows in size and there’s a bigger chance of even more things slipping out to the next day. After a couple of days, your agenda becomes too big to manage and so it’s discarded. Your life is thrown into chaos as you no longer plan your days and activities.
I’ve always had a thing for maths. The complexity, the simplicity, and the beauty of numbers. They are the key that unlocks so many different doors in this world. Without maths we’d still be drawing with sticks in the dirt. It is the only language that spans all humanity and units us. So when I first laid my eyes on fractals I was blown away. How could some simple math result in images with so much depth and detail and that never ended? It was truly a boggling moment. There is a lot we can learn from fractals that applies to every aspect of our lives.
Fractals are defined, in a sentence, as a curve or geometric figure, each part of which has the same statistical character as the whole. What this means is that when you look at a fractal, then zoom in, it becomes impossible to tell how far zoomed in you are since what you end up looking at is the same as the original. I know, mind crunching stuff.
A few days ago I was at the train station near the city. It was peak hour in the morning. As my train arrived at the platform I stepped in (along with hundreds of other people). As the doors began to close I noticed someone running as fast as they could down the stairs to the platform and when they realised that the doors had closed, I could see them curse through the windows.
It got me thinking… what’s the rush? What’s so important?
It was peak hour at a busy train station. 99% of the people there were going into the city. The next train, as indicated on the platform signs, was due in two minutes. Was it really worth that person rushing to get to the train or getting so upset when the doors closed in front them when, if they had casually walked down the stairs, they would have been able to wait comfortably for about thirty-seconds for the next train?
Today more than ever we are constantly tethered to technology and communication. When we think about how we communicate with each other, often the first thing that comes to mind isn’t the phone, it’s email. However, social media platforms such as facebook, twitter, LinkedIn, Google+ and others are rapidly competing to become the communication channel of choice with advanced in online voice and video technology. As we sit at our desks, we usually have a number of these communication platforms open, either as an application or as a web page and they each have sneaky methods to get our attention when something happens – popups, sound alerts etc.
With so much information streaming right into our eyeballs it’s no wonder people are suffering from stress. Our brains are simply not equipped (or we have not yet evolved enough) to cope with information in such enormous volumes.