I like to ask myself: “If I were an employer, would I hire ME amongst 100 other students applying for the same position/internship?”
“If I were a professor, would I budge MY grade 0.5 percentage points because I felt the student really cared by coming to my office hours and showing an exceptional enthusiasm in my lecture?”
“If I were a chick, would I date ME? Do I have my shit together?”
I’ve realized that a LOT of what I would have called procrastination a few years ago is a combination of anxiety and obsessive compulsiveness.
For instance, if I refresh this web site 97 mother fucking times because I DON’T want to write a paper, my anxiety has kicked in because the paper is due the next morning (and is 15 pages and I am kidding myself by thinking I’m some badass novelist who’ll churn out a polished paper in 6 hours) and my obsessive compulsiveness has found a new “outlet” for my anxiety: this web site.
That’s what I think procrastination is, a combination of anxiety and obsessive compulsiveness AND a severe underestimation of the time required to deliver a QUALITY product. Think about that: say you need one night to churn out a 15 page paper but is it quality? You are not awarded on effort, you are awarded on QUALITY of finished product. Nobody says, “Waylander! You wrote 15 pages in 3 hours? You deserve an A+”
A paper might take a few days to research the topic, another day or two to really get the juices flowing, then a day to do an outline and edit it, another day or two to write it, then another 2-3 days to edit, re-read and edit again. THAT is a quality product, something that has gone through honest QUALITY CONTROL and not bullshit control.
I’ll take a due date for a future project/paper/quiz, estimate how much time I need for each phase, block off each phase on my Google Calendar and keep track of it. So long as I have completed work that is relevant to the current phase according to the calendar, then I am on track and I will NOT have regrets about abusing my time.
Really, what you need to understand is that your TIME is a resource that is forever fleeting and that YOU are the only person in charge of that resource. Do you hate when people waste your time? If so, why do YOU waste your own time?
If people find out how much time you waste, how will you ever convince them that your time is valuable? How will you EARN their respect FOR your time? You won’t unless you take your own time seriously.
Just about everything you do should have a return on investment. Do you want to be 28 years old and still hitting clubs, waiting in some stupid ass line with a bunch of idiots, or do you want to at least have your own place where you and friends can chill until ANY hour you want (because fuck that “last call” bullshit) and you can always retreat to?
If you dated a chick at 28 (arbitrary) that still lived with her parents and worked at the front desk somewhere instead of having a true career path, would you take her seriously, as a potential long term mate? Or would you worry about having to support her and paying her student loans and shopping habits?
Do you want to afford healthcare one day for yourself, like a good PPO plan so that you can see a specialist that YOU researched (say, an endocrinologist or a good ART practitioner you learned about here), or do you want to be stuck with a crappy HMO and be at the mercy of imbecile doctors?
Do you want to set aside money every month for a trip fund, emergency fund and retirement fund? Do you think you will never be unemployed and stuck with the SAME bills as before (i.e., bill you can’t afford on unemployment, requiring you to pay them down from another source of income - savings).
Anecdotally, you can fuck up and goof off until just before 30 years of age, and society will GENERALLY forgive you for it as part of the “ignorance of youth.” Once you get up there in age, you need to have your shit together, if not for others to take you seriously than to at least be able to feed yourself.
Definitely pursue something quickly; people will care more (and respect you more) if you had an idea and pursued it than if you have 1000 ideas that sound grand but never get any of them off the ground. You see a ton of these folks in business school, folks that think throwing out famous names and strategies and vernacular make them SOUND busy when they are really just spinning their gears getting nowhere.
People care that you shoot to kill. Have a great idea that is honestly legit? Run with it, then talk about your success/failure and people will listen, even people with equal or more experience, which will end up facilitating an exchange of wisdom and possibly some quality NETWORKING that may hook you up with a job or someone important.
I love when people talk about NOT caring about money. Money should NOT be a motivating factor but money IS important; you want the decent neighborhood for you and your girlfriend or eventual family to live in, so your kids can go to a decent school or so you are close enough to everything that commuting to work/entertainment/daily necessities won’t drive you nuts (like far away in the suburbs if that’s not your thing). You want to pay off those student loans while still affording rent, gas, and a vacation here and there. Just examples but all realistic and common scenarios.
Translation: if you START something, make sure it is worthwhile but for God’s sake, FINISH.
And don’t forget that the more money you have, the easier it is to make money, generally speaking.
The above was not meant to be absolutely cohesive but just any piece of advice I could think of. The most important thing about serious “life” decisions:
It is easier than you think. The fact that most people don’t make the right choices or never follow through does NOT mean making something of yourself is DIFFICULT, it just means that that many people seriously overcomplicate it, psyche themselves out and end up blaming some arbitrary emotional ailment like ADD or procrastination.
You’re not very T if you’re still renting a room into your late 30s, don’t have a career and never finished your education but bench 500 lbs, squat 600 and DL 800 and have 8% bodyfat and never miss a meal…