How to change your life: Challenge 3/5

Do you suffer from that pesky little nagging 5-year old voice in your head that says; “But I don’t feel like it” Buy these pills to shut that little brat up….

Well not quite. But let’s try get some perspective shall we. Why is that voice even bad to have?

Let us go way way back. If our ancestors would have lived their lives with the “I don’t feel like it” mentality we would literally be instinct. Imagine how that would work with a wolf running after you and your family or with needing to harvest the crop but “I can totally do it tomorrow” And then tomorrow comes and you realize that the frost killed off the crop… Well, that went well…

And I know that this idea doesn’t work in today’s society because you can literally ask food to be sent to you by uber… but is that really the life you want to live. The issue that I noticed with this idea for myself was that my life was so so so boring. Go to class, check the phone for most of that class, get home be on the computer for most of that time, eat and go to sleep. If you have a due date then just work for 1h like crazy and send a meh text to the teacher… And then the same next day and next week and so on.

But what if you don’t do it that way? What if you actually do everything on time and when you do things you do them with energy?  I haven’t mastered this. BUT I did start doing more things this fall. I seriously worked on forcing myself to participate in things and got to meet new people and gained some serious opportunities. It didn’t really take that much. I mean sure we had to work for example with the volunteer project we had making the event and all but what I gained out of it was so much more valuable than the work I put in.

If you want to check more about this idea of just killing of the phrase “I don’t feel like it” you should check Mel Robbins. She also has a great TED talk on how to stop screwing yourself over:

The thing is also that even if you just decide to not do something, you will have it on your mind all the time. Even if just a little. You can’t relax properly. And sometimes you can get away with it. Like if you are sick or if you really have so much to do but if you don’t have that 30 min bath for yourself then you’ll literally hang yourself (Please never let yourself get that far into a burnout)  then you can actually justify having a pause. But if the pause 24/7 just because you don’t feel like doing something, it won’t do you any good.

Let’s see if this way of thinking about it helps;  If you would give yourself a stress grade of 50 on writing that essay right? That would be if you’d just do it right now. This is without waiting at all.

  • Let’s give each day that you don’t do it, but it’s on your mind a stress grade of 5.
  • After ten days that ends up already being 50.
  • Then if you write that essay under time pressure because you have to give it in tomorrow as you waited way too long. That means you have a stress level of 90 because you have to write it NOW. So 50 + 90= 140. That is 90 stress levels more than necessary.
  • Add into that the stress of after because you know you didn’t do a good job so each day you wait if you failed the essay you have a stress level of 20. Waiting for a week would give you 140 extra stress points.
  • All together 280…. instead of the 50 that you would have otherwise had. That is a LOT of stress, that you just don’t need.

So write into your calendar a block of time when you will do it. I will talk about calendar blocking more in the future. But in short, the idea is this. You choose a block of time. Say, from 10 to 12 you do a task. Let’s keep the essay as an example. One block could be research then the next day the block could be making an essay plan and then the day after that actually writing the essay. If you cut the process of writing an essay into manageable pieces you might even lower the stress grade of 50 to way less because you realize the task isn’t as daunting and horrible as you thought.

One last thing, (I swear I will stop bothering you with this soon) if you keep just postponing it and then do it all under pressure and stress, you will be able to tell yourself “See I knew it this would be horrible, I never want to do it again. I will always leave it for the last second so I don’t have to think about it”. That idea is stupid of course because you just made it horrible for yourself because you left it for the last minute. But that doesn’t register and then you are in a vicious cycle.

So just go and do it!  Whatever it is you have right now.

Leave a comment to let me know if I made any sense and like if you like. Don’t forget to follow and see you in my next post 🙂

xoxo, Alisa

The 15 minute Rule, Caroline Buchanan Book Review+extra


You can do almost anything for 15 minutes at a time

I have started reading this book: The 15-minute rule- How to stop procrastinating and take control of your life book, by Caroline Buchanan. I must say that this book is amazing at least thus far. This is a very technical book, not in how it is written but due to the subject of the book, so If you are looking for a book that is written with poetic mastery, this is not for you. But if you realize that there are some aspects of your life that you aren’t mastering to the best of your potential, I urge you to grab this book and read it. Not all of it is for everyone, and that is the beauty of this book, that I think you can find the parts that apply mostly to you and concentrate on those.

So, what is the 15-minute rule? The idea behind this rule is that no matter what your task is you can do it for 15 minutes. Just fifteen minutes, that isn’t so long, right? After you get started you find momentum and then you can continue for another 15 min and so on. The catch here is that a huge reason for procrastinating is that we over think every task and make everything seem more daunting than it is, and 15 minutes gets us started. 15-minutes is enough to properly get the wheels turning and still not so much time that you would really have time to over think the task. Some ways to make the 15-minute rule even more effective were these:

Divide your 15 minutes into 3 parts:

1st 5 min: What is bothering your productivity the most right now? A messy desk? Clean it for 5 minutes.

2nd 5 min: Brain dump, everything you should be doing/have done (make sure to be able to find this paper/note later on)

3rd 5 min: Prepare for the next 15-minute session, take some snack with you, some tea and get started again.

Divide your 15-minutes into 3’s as well:

1st 15 min is about brainstorming and preparing for the work you are about to achieve.

2nd 15 min is about prioritizing what is essential in your project. If you have 15 calls to make, which ones are urgent?

3rd 15 min Start making the calls, or planning what you need to discuss in said calls.

Once you get started you will find it hard to stop. But you should stop. If you do not give yourself a pause after 15 minutes your brain will start to think of the 15-minute rule as a fake one, and you will have another reason to postpone your to-do’s. “It won’t actually be just 15 minutes, I’ll get stuck and I will do it for an hour, I don’t have an hour right now.”

One of the most important things is to also get to know yourself. Why do you procrastinate? For me the biggest reasons are these:

  1. I do not know where to start, and I am afraid that I am doing the wrong task. “Hey psst, you; brain, maybe you should actually be studying Spanish, not French.”
  2. “You won’t be able to do a good enough post anyway, never mind, maybe one day, when you know how to write better you can make a good blog post.” That would be me trying to reach perfection or being scared of failure.
  3. “What if you do become something, and then you become this snob, or the people who don’t like you will spread lies about you or something”: That would be the fear of success.
  • Done is better than perfect and the only failure is not trying.

What are some of your fears?

One of the most amazing points in this book is that to act on something you do not have to be motivated. For example; if you feel like going to the loo, no matter how lazy; uninspired you feel. At some point, you get up and go, because you must. So why not with the small, or big tasks in your life? Setting a timer for 15-minutes isn’t hard. And sitting on your butt for 15-minutes isn’t that bad either.

Procrastination is a habit. It is something that we have taught our brain to do, to achieve instant gratification. The 5 minutes we scroll Instagram instead of writing a blog post, doing school work, calling that client; is instant gratification. We get to do something “fun” and forget our responsibilities. This is something that Charles Duhigg talks about in the Tony Robbins podcast the #1 secret to productivity. You should really listen to the podcast if you are interested in the psychology behind habits and changing them.

“If you keep doing what you keep doing, you keep getting what you keep getting.”

The sad fact of today’s society is that we are trying to achieve goals right away and we want to see results right now. That is why social media appeals to us, because we get new interesting stimuli all the time. Just scroll down the Instagram feed and you will see something pretty and flashy every 3 seconds. But this has led to the fact that procrastination is now more common that ever up to 85% of us procrastinate daily (according to the research company: ICD). This is a humongous issue, because procrastination is proven to cause health issues; unhappiness, weight gain and causes us to become poorer. Is that really the way we want to live our lives?

So I urge you, if you notice the signs of procrastination in you, read this book, and apply the 15 minute rule into your life.

“It is our attitude at eh beginning of a difficult task, which, more than anything else, will affect its successful outcome.” – William James, psychologist.

If you are interested in the podcast with Charles Duhigg it is to be found on Spotify:

Thanks for reading!


The Writer