Anxiety: Managing Procrastination When Feeling Overwhelmed Pt. 1
Overcoming Procrastination is a huge roadblock for many. Because being able to complete an important task is simply not taught. Especially in school curriculums.
Rather than trying to find the time outwork your procrastination. Distractions like Facebook and Twitter. Why not learn how to overcome your procrastination?
The objective of this article is to help those that are overwhelmed with procrastination.
When a whole bunch of work comes flowing in, it’s hard not to feel like you’re swimming in a pile of problems.
Heck, there’s 99 problems and only one of you, right?
People that always seem to be on top of things seem to be the hardest workers. On the contrary, they’re not. The productive get the most work done, in the least amount of time. Because, they know how to stay focused.
Does this sound like a scam? Great, means you’re paying attention.
Why do we get Overwhelmed?
The first step to fixing a recurring problem is to learn why it happens. To learn how to solve a problem we always need to ask ourselves why it happens.
We overwhelmed when we are exhausted and lose faith.
When there are so many things on our plate it is easy to become intimidated
How to “Calm Down”
This is the last thing most people want to hear, but it’s necessary. Our best work isn’t done in fight or flight, freeze mode. Unless you’re in a street fight, running away from somebody or playing freeze tag.
Catch yourself breathing shallow breaths, and pacing around, feeling sweaty? Most likely having a panic attack. This means it is time to calm down
Watch your posture. During anxiety attacks, we tilt our pelvis forwards and raise our shoulders.
Sit up straight and take a deep breath.
You should spend approximately 30 minutes – 2 hours cooling down depending on, stress levels and time available.
Leave your environment:
- Go for a walk
- Grab a pastry from a nearby café
- Leave your desk/study (if applicable)
- Go to a friend’s house
- Chill on the balcony or patio
Get physically active
- Hit the gym
- Go for a run
- Play some basketball
- Dance to some music
- Watch a quick YouTube video
- Shoot some hoops
- Go swimming
- Take a warm Shower: Suggested to patients feeling anxious from drug withdrawal.
- Listen to music that is not intense
Now, that you’re in a better mind frame, let’s start accomplishing your goals.
Get Your Affairs in Order “Prioritize”
What does prioritize look like? That’s completely up to you. Some prefer to do the hardest tasks first, I disagree. Do the shortest/easiest tasks first. Under 30 minutes.
You’ll have to do them anyways, better to get something done vs stressing and getting nothing done at all.
Focusing on many different things is known as multi-tasking. Which is known to negatively affect productivity?
The more things you need to focus on, the more stress builds up. That’s why many business owners have adopted the habit of answering emails first thing in the morning, to help get the ball rolling. Stopping us from focusing on multiple things at once.
Make a to-do List
Anything that needs to be done, is on your to-do list. This stops you from forgetting. Look at it every day you wake up, and before you go to bed.
There should always be something on this list for you to do.
How to Clear Your Plate
Looking at things from a practical point of view makes them digestible. The less you have on your plate, the better quality is output.
Have you realized that when you have an easy day at work, you have more positive interactions with those around you, and/or put more effort into the little things?
Why do the most expensive restaurants serve some of the smallest portion sizes?
I call this the 3 burgers vs 1 steak rule. What’s better? 3 burgers would do a better job filling you up. No doubt about it, but we favor the seasoned, medium rare😉steak, sizzling off the grill.
There’s more attention paid to it, more love and care. We go out of our way to get a steak. We don’t love burgers the same way.
When I was 18, I wanted to go off into the world, I wanted to make a difference.
What did this mean?
I was going to college, practicing stand-up, freelance work, hanging out with friends, working part-time to make money, volunteering my time.
You might think, woah. I was doing so much in life, which I was. Yet I wasn’t accomplishing anything. To be productive you need to think backward. The less you do the more productive you become.
Life was difficult. I would be so caught up in my work, that I might forget about a large assignment that is due the next day. Or get lost in writing an article for a client, forgetting that there was a show I needed to do.
I ended up failing out of school, quitting my job, and bombing off stage. I still got a couple writing gigs here and there, yet I couldn’t retain a loyal client.
I worked so hard but had nothing to show for it, I allowed myself to get overwhelmed.
Art of Extending
Many assignments due in a short period of time or close to each other, extensions are your friend.:
Class Presentation due, the boyfriend/girlfriend is going shopping this weekend, Grandma has a doctor appointment, a client expects a project in one week, a 5,000-page essay is due, 12-hour work shift.
An overwhelming amount of work. Heart’s racing faster than a Ferrari with no brakes, forehead sweating, legs shaking. Most importantly, you keep telling yourself that you can do it.
Sometimes being optimistic just doesn’t work. Even if everything is completed. Do you think that you’d be a pleasure to be around? Would the quality of your work meet high standards?
So, how do I extend?
1.) Giving time in advance
If there is a small chance you need to extend, just do it. Nobody gets mad at the doctor that cancels an appointment a month in advance.
On your way to pick up your friend’s house to go to a concert, and 5 minutes before you arrive he says, “Sorry I can’t go, I have work/family event/ appointment, etc.”.
This kind of behavior bothers people, especially when it happens multiple times.
“Time is Money”
In this scenario, your time isn’t being respected. When somebody gives you their time, it does not mean that they were free. It means that they made you a priority over other things: work, relaxation, time with family, etc.
When an excuse is something serious and unexpected. People are more empathetic. On the contrary, each time a catastrophe happens, the next one loses value. Usually better to be honest.
Reasons why extending earlier is better than never
1.) In the scenario above, it seems like the friend could’ve new in advance and given an earlier head up, saving time and money.
2.) You were excited about this event and thinking about it all day, now its ripped from your arms. When you’re given a week in advance, it still sucks but you get over it. Nobody looks forward to an event more than the day of /n night before.
3.) Now it’s too late to make other plans. This might’ve been your only day off in weeks. Instead of doing something fun, since your plan was canceled, you’re staying in and watching Netflix.
4.) Sometimes people like extensions. They were busy or tired but decide to follow through because they did not want to disappoint you. We all had a friend cancel a plan early and feel relieved because we were tired/busy.
2.) Rescheduling an event/meeting
Why do we get upset when our pizza delivery driver shows up 10 minutes later than expected? Is it because we were dying from a rare disease called “Pizzatosis”, and the only way to survive is 8 slices of a well done, shawarma chicken pizza, topped with extra cheese?
Or, is it because we expected him to come at a certain time: Instead of running late without telling us?
Whether its client based, work-based or relationship based, it is your responsibility to reschedule an alternative date.
Give multiple time ranges when you are 100% sure you’re available. You’ll most likely not get a third chance, and if you do, they might resent you.
Rescheduling appointment; Formal Example:
It appears I would like to reschedule given the following reason, [Insert reason]
I’ll be available during these times, let me know which works best for you:
February 12-14 from 11:00am – 5:00pm
February 16- 19: 1:00pm – 4:00pm
This makes it easier for them to give you a second chance when you set the
3.) Give a positive reason. Not an Excuse
What sounds better?
|I have a lot of work to do||We’ll have more time to spend together|
|It’s too late in the day||It will be more fun in the day time|
|I need time to fix the project.||I want more time to add improvements to the project.|
Personal Reschedule Template:
[Show Interest] [Give Positive reason] [Reschedule]
Don’t bother picking me up. I can’t make shopping today,
[Give Positive reason]
I have a lot of school and work. I’m going to be super tired and busy.
I’ll call you when I’m free.
Hey “girlfriend/boyfriend”, I really wanted to go shopping with you today.
[Give Positive reason]
I want to finish my work first so we can spend more time together without me rushing.
Are you free next Saturday or Friday after 5pm?
People from both examples could both feel the same way about their significant other, yet I’d rather be on the receiving end of example 2.
Example 2 looks interested in meeting. I feel like they’re rescheduling not just for their sake, but for my sake as well, using the positive reason.
Example 1 would make me feel brushed off. Like being with me is just a chore.
Don’t give excuses instead of reasons for extensions unless necessary. Only use this for an opportunity that has a hard deadline, and extending it is the only way you’ll get another chance.
The only time excuses work is if the reason you’re extending is preventable:
Safe Excuses: Fatal Sickness, car crash, death/sickness in the family, natural disaster
What are bad excuses?
When your excuse could be solved by waking up earlier or having a backup plan. Then it turns from a safe excuse to a bad excuse.
Bad excuses: Slept in, the car wouldn’t start, lost my wallet.
Cancel your plans
What’s the quickest way to finish a meal? Throw the rest in the trash. Especially if it’s my mom’s macaroni salad, yuck!
Canceling is the best way to clear food off your plate.
Always cancel way ahead of time. Especially for a more important task.
It’s better to cancel, and then end up being free vs not canceling and then being a no-show.
Offer an alternative
If you cancel on a client, for example, that doesn’t mean that you can’t help them.
For example, John’s web develops. His client wants a web site by next week. John is burned out, instead of canceling on the client. He refers them to another web developer he used to work with.
Get Advice / Help
Never be afraid to ask for help from a friend that is reliable, trustworthy and calm.
Try talking to a friend that is in that field. No matter what you’re going through, there is always a decent chance you know at least one person that can help.
I am aware that I have trouble managing my stress levels when in the middle of something it’s easy to over think. Getting an outside source, that feels much calmer relating to your situation helps put in perspective how solvable our problems are.
When you’re alone with your thoughts is when each obstacle seems impossible to overcome. In this case, you need to choose a trusted person: friend, co-worker, parent, that can coach you.
What makes a good coach?
Coaches in sports are like coaches in real life. They need to be somebody that keep you motivated. A person that you admire and respect.
My older brother is my personal coach. His work ethic inspires me to achieve my goals so I can impress him. I don’t want to let him down.
A coach is a positive influence. If you’re playing a game of basketball and you’re down by 15 points, in the 4th quarter. A good coach will help devise a plan based off you and your team’s strengths. They’ll help you do whatever it takes to give you a chance to come back from a deficit.
What makes a Bad Coach?
Incompetent coaches bring out the worst in you. Better to Not have a coach at all and find a local councilor or mental health professional.
Most people don’t know what a good coach looks like. People would rather get advice from a bad coach then following their own instinct.
How do I tell the difference between a good coach and a bad one?
Have you ever gone to someone with a problem, then they leave you feeling worse off and more helpless after you spoke to them?
Bad coaches are dangerous because they hurt your self-esteem; A key ingredient to help you persevere when things get tough.
Verbal abuse is a huge sign. Do they yell at you when you don’t meet a certain standard? Verbal abuse can leave long-lasting emotional scars that make it difficult to concentrate over time.
What are the effects of a bad coach?
The way coaches and other people speak to you is the self-talk you have in your head when you face a challenge or fail.
A sign of this is how you react to a failure; especially a small one. Calling yourself stupid and a loser will leave you mentally exhausted. Failure is a key component to success. Bad self-talk puts you in your own way.
One tip is, whenever you say a negative thought, say 2 positive ones.
Treat failures and challenges with positive self-talk: “I know what to improve on next time”, “Let’s try again”, “Can’t wait until I master this”.
Are they solution oriented?
Solution oriented people don’t dwell on why something won’t work out. Matter of fact, they don’t complain. Great coaches offer solutions. If you have an issue
Son: I am struggling financially.
Coach: Well maybe if you didn’t spend so much money on clothes you’d have some leftover. Maybe if you spent as much time working, as you do play your stupid XBOX, you wouldn’t have this problem
Son: … ☹
Son: I’m struggling financially.
Coach: Okay, do you have a monthly budget? I use “app123” on my phone that tracks how much money I have for entertainment, groceries, bills, etc. I notice you’re interested in console video games. Check if “Games store” is hiring, you’d be a good fit because you know a lot about video games. They also hire part-time, so you’ll still have time to play video games.
Son: Gee thanks, never thought of that.
Both coaches gave advice that would be helpful in this situation. Only if the advice is used.
Lessons from Example 1
In example 1 the coach brings up what should have been done. Unless the coach has the TARDIS (Time machine) from Doctor Who. There is nothing that can be changed about the past.
Example 1 tells the son to get a job to get more money. How is that helpful? I’m sure everybody knows that a job equals to money. He also goes further and berates the son saying he plays stupid games.
This is not only hurtful. Mocking another person’s hobby that they spend time on basically says that they do stupid things. What we do(hobbies), are a part of our core personality. This is indirectly calling somebody stupid.
How can we expect somebody to muster up the courage to find work and change their life when we cause them to feel stupid and inadequate?
Lessons from Example 2?
Obviously, example 2 would inspire more change, but why? Example 2 gives a positive solution. The coach is giving a solution to the problem of “financial trouble”.
Example 2 gives a specific job suggestion. He relates to the interests of the son, sending him in the right direction. He also suggests an alternative option of budgeting income using a phone app.
Try to keep tunnel vision. When you’re only focusing on one task, you make more gains, then spreading yourself thin. This concept is called, digging the same hole.
Think about it. Four-time NBA MVP Lebron James is a basketball player. That Is all he does. Day in, day out. Would you say he is unproductive? He does one thing, and that’s it, play basketball.
People we look up to decided to choose one field and just get great at that. Then if they would like, move on to the next skill after they mastered the previous one.
Learning one thing doesn’t mean you will be stuck in that craft forever. If you want to learn how to: Sing, Dance, Act. You will get much further spending 1 year dedicated to singing, then dancing, and then acting.
Compared to practicing singing, dancing, and acting, every day.
How/Why does Tunnel vision work?
Emily wants to focus mainly on dancing. She decides to dance for 4 hours every day. Sometimes, she gets lazy and dances for an hour.
Since she only practiced dancing; on Emily’s lazy days, she still got a full hours-worth of practice.
Even practicing 1 hour a day takes you a long way. This means that the worst-case scenario for Emily is becoming a great dancer vs an exceptional dancer.
What if she did not have tunnel vision?
If Emily focused on dancing, acting, and singing for an hour each, 3 hours total. Then one week she gets lazy and practices dancing and acting for 1 hour.
She goes a whole week falling behind in her other skills, and even has to spend time remembering the skills she forgot. Going back after a long time destroys momentum.
Maintenance is easier than development. For example, getting that gym body takes about 3-4 days a week for about a year. After that, going 1 time a week is more than enough to maintain your results.
The 5 Step Process: Breaking Down Any Task
Whenever you are stuck on a task, this is your reference. Learn it, save it, practice it, Memorize it.
This is an important skill, problem-solving is related to cognitive ability, the most important factor in terms of monetary success. – Jordan Peterson Canadian clinical psychologist.
When trapped in a circle of avoiding a project/task your anxious about, you need to break them down.
I’ll go through each step, then show 3 in-depth real-life examples.
1.) Initial Setup
The initial setup includes the tools needed to get the job done. Don’t think too hard.
This could be as simple as
- Quiet room
Try to keep tools in close proximity.
Going back and forth between steps slows momentum and wastes time. Especially the initial setup.
Sort of like going to the gym, taking your pre-workout, and then realizing that you forgot your shorts, then needing to go back home. (sigh)
Sounds super simple right? That’s because it is. No matter how anxious you are, the setup is supposed to be easy. The most important step is starting.
After writing down all the resources you need to complete a task, your anxiety regarding the task will begin to decrease. Knowing you have the tools needed gives you the confidence to lean on.
Now that the initial setup is done. The next steps:
The beginning is putting yourself in the right direction. Starting a task is difficult when you skip the planning stage.
To stop getting stuck at the beginning. Change your mindset from: “How can I do this?” To, “what do I need to know, to be able to do this.”
Figuring out what questions you’re answering and/or what topics/actions you need to learn before continuing.
Doing a sales pitch to a client? The beginning would be finding out the product you’re selling. The things you need to know about the product. The company/demographic you are selling to.
The beginning is usually the quickest process, unless the initial setup is longer, then the beginning becomes relatively quick.
See the beginning, as choosing a brochure, and the next step(objective) as choosing where things go.
Stuck on this step?
The quickest solution is to ask.
Who do I ask?
This could be an online forum, your boss, client, colleague. People appreciate a person who asks, vs going in the wrong direction and wasting time and/or money.
How do I ask?
The best way to ask is being specific.
[ 1 Sentence on What you need help with?]
-Important, because it saves time if the person can’t right off the bat.
Asking for help template:
Step 1: [What are you trying to do?]
Step 2: [Part you are stuck on?]
Step 3: [Say what you’ve done]
These 2 examples featuring Bill and John is a quick reason why the first step, “[What are you trying to do?]” is so helpful
It saves time and frustration for both parties.
Bill: I need help moving
John: Sure, what time do you want me there, and how long?
Bill: umm what time works well for you?
John: blah blah blah
*20 minutes into conversation*
Bill: Yeah, the main reason I called you for help moving, is that I need to use your pick-up truck
John: Oh, well I sold it. A week ago.
Bill: Oh, well thanks anyways. I guess I’ll just rent a truck then.
Bill: Hey man, Could I borrow your pickup truck to help me move?
John: No can do, sold it a week ago.
That’s why the first step is important. Giving a brief one sentence explanation on the problem and/or the desired solution: saves time, and less annoying
Asking for help examples
Example 1 Good:
Introduction: Working as an office assistant
Step 1: [What are you trying to do?]
Step 3: [Say what you’ve done]
Employee: I’m having trouble sending emails
Boss: What’s up?
Step 2: [Part you are stuck on?]
Employee: I’m trying to send an email to “Worker101”. When I hit send it says email not found in the directory.
Step 3: [Say what you’ve done]
- I tried restarting
- I turned off the firewall
- I configured the server settings
Boss: Text me the email you’re sending it to
Boss: I see your problem. It’s actually, “Typo@dummy.com” You forgot to put 1 m instead of 2… dummy
Example 2 Bad:
Employee My emails not working?
Boss: What’s up?
Employee: I can’t use it
Boss: Can you login to your account?
Boss: Alright, let me send you an email
Boss: Did you get it?
Boss: Is your email is working now?
Employee: No, I can’t send emails
Boss: Have you tried restarting it?
Boss: Have you looked at the server settings?
Boss: Do you get an error message
Employee: Yeah, it says: email not found in the directory.
Boss: Text me the email you’re trying to send too
Boss: Oh, there’s a typo it’s supposed to be “.com” instead of “.ca”
We’ve all met an example 2
What if I haven’t met an example 2?
Then you are example 2. Just kidding.
But seriously, asking questions and showing that you at least tried to solve the problem, goes a long way. Which both examples have done?
However, the employee from example 2 makes the boss work too hard to give the boss/IT support to find the problem.
The person(employee) asking for help, is responsible for explaining the problem as clearly as possible.
The Boss(helper) is responsible for giving a clear solution.
Think of an Objective as a mission in a video game. How terrible would it be, if you bought a game with only one objective? “Destroy the final boss”.
That game would be returned in a heartbeat. The lack of direction would leave you running around in circles all day
Realize how this article is broken into headings? Then each heading is broken down into subheadings?
If this was one huge block of text it would be impossible to skim through. This method helps the author the most(me).
I write the Headings first, then the subheadings, then the example scenarios (What my example will be about). This helps me to write much faster.
Each heading, subheading, example scenario is an objective.
The tasks/steps are filling them up with words that fall under the category. Take this heading for example “Objective”. The objective of this subheading is to explain how to work through objectives.
Congratulations, We’re at the follow through. At this point, you should have a solid understanding of what to do next.
*If you do not know what you’re doing, then break down the objectives into even smaller tasks, or take a larger task and turn that into an objective*
This is where you make the most visible progress. Follow-Through requires
You can finish the previous steps (Initial setup, beginning, concentration etc.) Then take a break.
The follow-through is given this name for a reason. Any hesitation can set you back, leaving you confused.
Follow-through is why math teachers always say, never stop in the middle of an equation, and English teachers say, never stop in the middle of a sentence/paragraph.
Once you leave and come back, you’ll feel confused and/or disoriented and forget the plan you had in mind.
Take your breaks at the end of an objective, not during.
Not possible? Then wait until you at least complete the task you are doing.
Has this ever happened to you? Coming back to a checkpoint, for a game you have not played in a while. Then realizing you have no idea where to go? Or what to do?
How do I Stop Losing Focus?
I know this isn’t an AA meeting; The first step to stay concentrated is admitting you have a problem.
Track down where most of your time is wasted. Some, smoke weed, others play video games or watch sports.
Keep your addictions out of the house. Because these are your weaknesses. Get carried away with smoking too much weed. Make it a rule that you will not bring weed in your house.
The same way the greats did. Destroy and remove all distractions.
Charles Darwin: responsible for the key concepts of evolution; was known for his ability to make groundbreaking discoveries and projects in a short period of time.
How? He would lock himself in his room for long hours, with no distractions. That’s what you need to do.
When it is time to study, at least zero distractions should be in the same room as you.
Imagine how much work you’d accomplish if you left your phone at home before going to the library.
Your study area should be free of distractions. No phone, no video games, etc. If you’re not using the internet for something productive, turn it off.
Use your phone too much?
Charge it once a day. If 100% battery isn’t enough, either your phone battery is broken or overused; most likely the latter.
*Lenience for phone related jobs: traveling, entrepreneurs, Uber drivers, etc.*
One of the most common distractions is the smartphone. Especially social media’s: Facebook, Twitter
How do I Cut Back?
Try deleting all the social media applications and games on your phone. This way, if you really want to check your feed, you can do it on your computer.
I realized that having a phone makes it too easy to access social media.
“Can’t” Delete social media?
1.) Use your phone web browser
Just because you delete Facebook/Instagram off your phone does not mean you need to stay away from cat videos, and memes forever.
Just access social media through browsers. Accessing your social media account in an instant is dangerous.
When you can open your feed in from the click of a button, it becomes less of a choice and more of an automatic habit. Now people check up on their feeds more than they check up on their kids.
- Get rid of Auto-logins and/or Delete the app of your phone
- Access social media through web browsers
See? This takes way more time, you really second guess if going on Instagram is worth it if it takes you 2 minutes to log in, instead of 2 seconds.
2.) Set a Tracker on your Phone
If you have an iPhone you’re in luck. Apple has a built-in feature setting called “screen time”. Learn how to limit social media use on your phone. I set mine to 15 minutes a day.
A study from Statista shows the average global internet user is on social media 135 minutes a day.
Drop that to 15 minutes and you just saved 2 hours (120 minutes). That’s 60 hours a week 3120 hours a year. Spend half of that time reading, and that’s approximately 156 books (300 pages) a year.
Check the amount of time spent on social media at the end of every day. You’ll be surprised.
Make social media Work for you. Follow people that post informational content, and/or people that motivate you. Especially those in your field.
*By motivate, I mean people that do things that inspire you, not pages that post motivational quotes*
View the follow through as fluid motion. Working from front to back. Once you execute there is no backtracking.
What if I made the wrong decision?
There is no such thing as making the wrong decision. It is more about making the decision you choose the correct one. Going back will only push you behind.
Once you’re in the execution phase there is momentum pushing you forward. Going back will only sabotage the previous work put in.
What if keep getting stuck?
Different people struggle with different parts of the 5-step process. I struggle with the execution and follow through.
This just means you need to pay extra detail to the previous step the next time around. In my case the objective.
Other Distraction Tips:
- Work with an acquaintance: The best work partners are people you get along with but are not your go-to person to hang out with.
- Give yourself an ultimatum:g. Go to a library, and say you won’t leave until you do “XY and Z task”
- Take a shower: Our greatest thoughts come, when surrounded by the least distractions.
Congratulations, you are in the home stretch. This is known as the closer. Nobody remembers the film that didn’t get released or the rapper that never dropped a mixtape.
This is the simplest, yet most important part. Most people never make it past this stage, it’s the easiest, but most important.
Stop Being a Perfectionist
Perfectionists never have a specific end goal(bad), so they never complete this process. Don’t make your end goal based off things you cannot measure.
End goal Examples:
|End Goal Example||Good||Bad|
|Working out||Complete daily workout plan||Sweat a lot.|
|Making a Presentation||Covers Key points listed, stay within the time limit. Includes proposal.||Standing Ovation. Funny. Motivational.|
|Creating a Song||The sound quality is clear. I put my emotions in it||Everybody likes it|
|Moving Somewhere new||Join a Club||Make a Friend|
|Essay||Key points. 3 primary sources. 1000 words||Get 95%, Best in class.|
Your end goal has to be something you cross off a checklist.
Most importantly, once your checklist is done, hand the project in and keep moving.
Do you know why perfectionism is so dangerous? Because it lowers work quality. Sounds backward right? Just look at the math. Spending 1 hour on a drawing vs 3 will make a huge difference in quality. But 3 vs 5 will make a much smaller difference.
Why does spending extra time “perfecting” a project/task bad?
Because this means that, the 2 hours you wasted perfecting something, could have been used to make a larger difference on another project, or could have helped you complete another assignment.
This leads to you running out of time for the next project, making it far worse. What would give you a higher average quality?
John spends 5 hours on essay 1. Gets 90 %. This leaves him with 1 hour to work on his other essay, which gives him a 50%.
Average = (90+50)/2 * 100% avg = 70%
Bill: Spends 2 hours on essay 1 gets a 70% Then Spends 2 hours on essay 2.5 and gets a 70%
Bill’s Average = (70+70)/2 * 100% avg = 70%
Life does not always work out like this, but this is ridiculous. The more hours you spend on a project the less improvement you can make.
Bill and John have the same average, but Bill spent less time working.
5 Step Process Examples
Here are three examples of the 5-step process to break down a problem into bite-sized solutions.
Some steps are more complex than others depending on the scenario, and the personality of the user. Don’t be surprised if some examples gloss over a step or skip a step.
Example 1: Doing a Math Assignment
There’s an assignment due in 48 hours. It’s not that long of an assignment. Realizing more time is being spent stressing over an assignment than working through it can prove frustrating.
Example 1: Initial Setup
What’s the first thing you do before jumping? Bend your knees and keep your arms at your side, ready to go.
Let’s say there is a math assignment, what would be the initial setup? What you need beforehand to begin the assignment. Not what you need to know, but the materials.
- Clear work Space
- Headphones to study
- Assignment guide
- Course Outline: Tells you what topics the assignment is based off. All classes should have this somewhere on their page
- Rubric: A list of the marking scheme the teacher will be using. if you don’t have this. Message the teacher for the marking scheme. Don’t be shy, it’s their job, and they will be happy you care about learning and producing high-quality work.
- Cup of coffee
- Piece of Paper
Example 1: Beginning
Now that you have the resources, it is time to decide how you will use them.
For example, if there is a math question you’re stuck on. Figure out what textbook pages you need to read, or specific YouTube video to watch: in order to learn the material for that question.
Math Question 1: Integral Calculus;
- Read pg. 143-147: Chapter about integral calculus
- Watch Khan Academy Integral Calculus videos
Math Question 2: Exponent question;
- Review notes from lecture 5-6(exponential functions)
Math Question 3: Factoring Question;
- Learn Factoring on Mathlab.com
- Learn how to use a graphing calculator on YouTube Etc.
Narrowing down the exact tasks needed to learn each project benefits you.
Instead of looking at an assignment as one huge project. See it as a mixture of problems thrown into one basket, then break down those problems.
Example 1: Objective
I never said this was a Harvard math lecture so please take it easy on me.
Example Objective 1:
John buys computers for 50$. He pays 1$ for shipping per each computer and sells them for 75$.
Gary purchases 20 computers for 800$ and pays 40$ to ship all of them. He also sells them for 75$ each
Who makes more profit after 100 computers?
How would you break this down into steps?
Step 1: Find the Company profit
- Search textbook
- Google “how to find profit”
Step 2: Figure out how to find revenue
Google it “How to find revenue”
Step 3: Figure how to find expenses
Google it “how to find expenses”
Step 4: Calculate Profit per computer
Input numbers in formula using calculator
Step 5: How to calculate Profit for 100 computers
- Multiply profit by 100
Step 6: Who makes more after selling 100 computers, John or Gary?
- Subtract John’s profit from Gary’s. If the answer is greater than zero, Gary makes more after selling 100 computers
Example 1: Execution
For logical based, straightforward work, the
In this case try working with a classmate, in case you get stuck.
Different steps are smaller than others depending on the problem.
Only use the internet for help if necessary
Example 1: End Goal
In this case, you know you’re done when
Did I complete all the steps?
Do I have a final answer?
Example 2: Sending sales pitch(email)
You’re a graphic designer, and you’re sending a sales proposal to another company.
Example 2: Initial Setup:
- Portfolio: Examples of projects you have completed; to send/reference to yourself and other clients.
- Contact Information: The type of clients you want to send proposals too
- Excel Template: Used to log information of company/s that are pitched to
- Work Email: Access to email you’re sending proposal from
- Email Proposal template/s: Where you’re going to find a specific email template to send to clients if you have one.
Example 2: Beginning
The beginning of this phase would be finding out what exact services you want to offer.
Deciding which type of companies, you want to include:
- In your niche
- Local or International
- The non-profit and/or religious organization
- Estimated Budget
Example 2: Objectives:
Decide a price range
Step 1: Estimate company budget based on popularity
Step 2: Google price range for competitors in your area
Step 3: Decide your bare-minimum for price
Step 4: Examine the value you’ll give
Tailor pitch to each company:
Step 1: Look at company/client designs
Step 2: Read companies about section: This is an important step for any communication. A personal tailor really stands out and shows that you’re willing to put in the extra effort to help a company.
Step 3: Read the contact page
Step 1: Thank company
Step 2: Leave your contact information
Step 3: Call to action
Find out the company marketing manager.
Example 2: Execution
- Send 20 Emails/Pitches per Day: Having a task to do everyday gives you momentum, and you from falling behind(procrastinating).
- Once you start an email: You need to finish it!
- Answer 10 email/replies First thing when waking up. After brushing your teeth and showering, of course, *just kidding, kind of.*.d
Example 2: End Goal
Having the desired sales rate is helpful and important in business; However, in this case, we want to be solution-oriented.
What do you mean by solution oriented?
If the company agrees to your pitch are you going to be excited at the opportunity? Or dread the work. Working for pennies on the dollars is always worse than working for yourself.
Send 100 pitches to 100 companies I wasn’t to work for per week. This is a good end goal, because, at the end of the week, you can count the exact number of emails you sent.
- Documented 100 Company emails in excel
- Followed up with every lead: possible future clients.
Example 3: Creating a Presentation for Company Meeting
Side note: Presentation Nerves
The most nerve-wracking experience for many people. Which is illogical. Giving presentations is basically having a conversation, but with many people watching.
Nervous about your presentation. Check out my guide on public speaking with anxiety.
If you’re going to be given a screen. I suggest you have stuff ready
Outfit: well fitting, dress-code *if applicable*
- PowerPoint/Prezi (Presentation software)
- Laser pointer
Access to the room you’re performing in: soundcheck, practice *if applicable*
Why are you presenting?
- Presenting about my company
In this example, I am presenting a Search Engine marketing service: ranking high on search engines (Google, Bing, etc.)
What will this lead to?
Why should they choose you?
Increased page ranking > Organic(natural) online visitor traffic, that you don’t need to constantly advertise> More visitors > More Customers > increase revenue/profit >
How Do I prove that I will increase their page ranking?
Step 1: Show them my previous results
Step 2: Explain to them what I do!
Step 3: Explain The science behind SEO ranking
Step 1: Give reason 1,2,3 etc.
Step 1:Use background music
Step 2: Make the presentation interactive: questions, games, a survey at the end. Divide people into teams and add a little bit of competition.
Don’t be afraid to have fun. Always remember, you are talking to people
Step 3: Dress formally
Step 4: Think Big
Step 1: Conclude Key Points
Step 2: Talk about Next Step
Step 3: Display pricing plan.
Step 4: Ask if there are any questions
Step 5: Give contact Info
Middle of the presentation. Your mouth is dry. Not completely sure if the proposal is being taken seriously. All of a sudden you start stuttering.
For presentations, the follow-through is more about the actions you avoid doing, compared to what you actually do. I see this all the time, people stutter, mispronounce a couple of words, then it goes downhill.
Not because the mistake is fatal, but because they refused to push through the discomfort.
When it comes to presentations, especially formal ones; People do much better than they think. Partly because the audience may not seem entertained when on the contrary, they are engaged by what you’re saying.
On top of that, waking up to go to a meeting is exhausting.
Letting your emotions get the best of you leads to the seven deadly sins of public speaking:
- Don’t self-deprecate: “Well, that was dumb”. “Yeah, I didn’t get much sleep last night” “I’ll try to make this as quick as possible”
- Changing voice pitch (squeaky, or too deep)
- Moving quickly over key points due to lack
- Avoiding eye contact
- Loses energy and enthusiasm
Did you say the key benefits of your proposal?
Did you make a closing offer?
After that, the ball is in their court. Even though we can always improve. When somebody rejects a high-value opportunity they can be wrong.
I pitched to many companies to become their content creator, then they went with somebody else that produced lower quality content then I would have provided.
Businesses and boss’ make easily avoidable mistakes, all the time: the reason many most businesses fail.
Impactful presentations alienate(separate) themselves, from the majority.
Every presenter with die-hard supporters/fans has a group that equally disagrees with what he says. When playing your presentation safe, you blend in with the average competitor.
The only way being average works out is if you’re picked as a lottery ticket/client.
We want to please everybody but forget the power of one. Just one high profile client/executive taking interest in your business can change your trajectory.
Controversial Presenters: Malcolm X, Ben Shapiro, Patrice O’Neal. You should watch if you need inspiration
Mission accomplished. Here are some key points
- Extend: Extend/Cancel tasks and events as soon as possible
- Remove Distractions: Keep them out of your home or stay out of your home when working/busy.
- Calm Down: Don’t be afraid to take a cool down time. Goes a long way.
- Always offer an alternative solution when canceling.
- Decide what you need before starting a task
- Break down tasks into smaller steps
- Surround yourself with positive coaches(mentors): No verbal/emotional abuse e.g. yelling and put-downs.
Any tips you’ve used when overwhelmed? Any tips or sections you want me to expand on? Meet me in the comments.
Part 2 of this article.
“Prevention is always better than the cure”
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