EVEN MORE Things I Learned in my 20’s

Yet another edition of my series "Things I Learned in my 20's" you can find PART ONE HERE, and PART TWO HERE.

Be There

A major part in any relationship is simply showing up and being counted. Sometimes bad friends linger in the social circle because they will show up, even though people may wonder why they were invited in the first place! How 'bout that!

Fellas, fellas.. no need to fight!
We can agree that it's a big part of doing anything, can't we?
Big events - graduation, birthdays, deaths in the family - should be attended. And I don’t mean this bullshit “I’m physically here, but mentally checked out in a virtual world” attending, either. Put your phone away when in front of people, and - if you must - do it discreetly by going to the bathroom or when people around you are busy.  Better still, offer value in as many ways as you can by telling stories, jokes, listening, asking questions, and pitching in on the work they’re doing. If they’re cooking, offer to chop something; if they’re putting up decorations, offer to help. Laziness isn’t as enjoyable or rewarding as it appears.

In other words, Be there! Participate in your life and the lives of those you care about!

I feel this needs to be said because the other points I’ve made so far may seem to say “sacrifice everything for the job!”

Not so.

In fact, I promote working really hard so that you can afford the freedom to slack when you deem it necessary. 

Which leads us to...

Kill Procrastination

How many times have you had projects due but you decided it was better to put it off? If you’re anything like me, the answer is probably more times than you can count. You’ll also notice that you don’t truly enjoy that time, you sit there, feeling guilty and anxious about the project, but can’t the bothered to sit down and start because it seems too big, too difficult, too much work. General rule: the more you think about a project, the bigger, more important, and insurmountable it will appear.

It’s your birthday. Your best friend would love to come to your party, but they “can’t” because they have this huge assignment due. You know, though, that they’ve had months to do this assignment and just kept putting it off until it was too late for them to be there for you. How would you feel?

Worse yet, imagine they said they’d show up, but then didn’t. They were tired, they were too invested in some form of entertainment, or they just simply ghosted without excuse. How angry would you be?

If you truly want to be there, you need to kill your procrastination tendency. “Procrastination is the habit of resting before you get tired” or, as my Dad used to always say “Never put off to tomorrow what you can do today.

Here are a few tips that might help in overcoming Procrastination:
  • Build the habit of doing it as soon as you can
  • Reduce barriers to starting - leave your necessary tools out and ready to use. This will both act as a reminder, and allow you start immediately.
  • Aim for the smallest amount of work as your starting goal. 
    • Example: Want to start flossing? Set the goal of having to floss just one tooth. Once you get started, you’ll likely continue.
  • Pomodoro Technique
    • Set a 25 minute timer where you can’t answer your phone or any messages. Airplane mode and programs like “selfcontrol” or "selfrestraint" will help with this.
  • The Nothing Alternative
    • You set an amount of time where you don’t have to work, but you can’t do anything else. It’s either work or staring at the wall.


Use the Eisenhower Decision Matrix. Sit down and categorize what you’re planning on doing in the near future: does it have to be done now? If so, then it’s urgent. Is it vital that this gets done? Will terrible things happen if you don’t do this? Then it’s important.

People often get stuck with the unimportant-urgent quadrant. If you find yourself scrambling constantly with the important-urgent section, then it might be time to pay a little more attention to the nonurgent-important section. Nonurgent-important can become incredibly urgent (i.e. neglecting your health becomes heart attack) because you didn’t spend enough time prioritizing.

Sit down, write out what sort of things you want to achieve in your life. Figure out what is a “nice to have” and what is a “must achieve.” Break them down into what you need to do in the next month, 6 months, year, 5 years, or whatever chunks work best for you. Make SMART goals:
  • Specific
    • “1 Million in Assets by 35 Years Old,” “Run a marathon by the end of 2016,” “I will lose 10 pounds by the end of August.” Be as specific as possible.
  • Measurable
    • Alternative Acronym SMART Goals
    • Quantify your work in whatever way you can. Pages per day? Dollars in the bank? Events attended? Some are easier to measure than others - do your best.
  • Attainable
    • Aim high, but not so high that it seems impossible. Even if you don’t reach the originally planned goal, you’ll at least have made large strides to get there - bigger than you would have without any plan.
  • Realistic
    • Given your time frame, make sure it’s doable. Don’t plan to finish a marathon in 10 minutes. 
  • Time-Bound
    • Pick a date, give a deadline. Doing so will get you to start working backwards of the steps you need to take to get there.
Remember: A goal without a date is just a dream. Dreams rarely become reality, but plans will land you closer to the mark.

In Closing

It’s important to work hard when you have the time to do so, otherwise you might miss important dates and events in the lives of people you care about. Don’t put things off or you’ll end up missing out.

Inaction is still an action. Not choosing is still a choice.

Now ask yourself: what’s important to you, and how can you start moving on it today?

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