Posts tagged: Most Popular

Diary of a procrastinator

diary of a procrastinator

Productivity has never been a problem for me. I know the glowing feeling of accomplishment that comes from a daily to-do list stricken with check mark after check mark. I know what it feels like to be the good kind of tired — the kind that comes from spending hours in the zone getting stuff done. And I know these things because I have a top-secret productivity weapon.

I’m always, always avoiding doing something else.

No surprise, then, that when I recently used the Unstuck app, it told me I was acting like an Avoider.


Procrastination and I go way back. Back to college, when I worked my butt off at internships and jobs, then wrote term papers just hours before they were due. Back to my days as a news reporter, when I produced multiple headlines a day, but left
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6 steps to defuse a drama queen and get your life back

"Difficulty is inevitable. Drama is a choice." —Anita Renfroe

Stuck moment: Oh no. She’s calling AGAIN. At midnight! I wonder what her freak-out is this time… More boyfriend drama? Her boss has a concern about her project proposal? That “weird” headache she had last week is back? I guess I better answer, or I’m in for a guilt-trip next time I see her.

* * *

Like many things in life, our relationship with drama is a cultural paradox.

When we’re safely on the sidelines, drama queens can be funny or fascinating. We breathlessly track the on-screen exploits of the Real Housewives. Look for outrage in sensationalized headlines. Eagerly tune into the weatherman’s promise of a storm of a lifetime. We’ve got no problem with hyperbole and hysteria — as long as it’s not in our backyard.

But plant these tribulations in our own lives, and it’s not nearly so much
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15 ways to zap your annoyance before it ruins your day


Stuck moment: Hey, did you see that waiter just bump into me and not apologize? How rude! That loud group over there is making me crazy… And that woman — can’t she control her kids? I’ve been looking forward to this party so much, but now I’m so irritated that I can’t even enjoy being here.

* * *

It’s an awful feeling when self-control slips through your fingers. Your body floods with stress and irritation, and you feel like a smaller, pettier version of yourself — clouded by emotion and unpleasant to be around. And that unpleasantness can ripple outward, undermining relationships and affecting everyone’s mood.

Employing simple, mood-saving tactics to help you maintain your balance can make all the difference when dealing with everyday annoyances. Because, face it, annoying people are here to stay. (And sometimes, without intending to be, we can be annoying, too.) While you may not always be
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6 ways getting organized can transform your life

Stuck moment: Who took my freaking keys? I found one clean shirt, but where’s the iron? Weren’t my files right under that pile of magazines? I guess it’s just going to be one of those mornings — again.

* * *

When our homes are cluttered, it’s hard to think straight. We get cranky and exhausted, and we might not even know why. But if chaos is what you come home to each night, and what you launch yourself into the world from each morning, it’s going to take a toll. You end up feeling like a smaller, less authentic version of yourself.

An easy antidote is to stop thinking about getting organized as a drain on our time and energy, and instead look at it as a way to maximize the time and energy we do have.

Ask yourself, What can an organized home environment do for me?

Some pretty amazing things, it turns
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How to stop being a reluctant confronter

Stuck moment: I’m kind of fed up. My boss takes the credit for my ideas. My coworker goes on and on about her boyfriend drama. My friend never returns anything she borrows… I want to say something, but I just can’t! 

* * *

When people behave in ways that bother us — a callous comment, an interruption, a self-appointed license to take what’s ours without giving back — why do so many of us find it easier just to let it go? We make excuses for the other person. Or we pretend to shrug it off, though the behavior continues to niggle us, deep in our thoughts. Worse, we start avoiding the other person. Complaining behind her back, resenting her. But we never speak up.

Those negative feelings don’t go away because we suppress them. Sometimes they poison a once-wonderful relationship. Or, our mind starts to run on a victim script: I’m
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How to deal with disrespect: 9 true stories

Stuck moment: How dare she! That was such a rude thing to do. And now I can’t stop thinking about it. Is this really how she thinks about me?

When we feel disrespected, in our heart of hearts, it’s always about feeling undervalued. Someone doesn’t get us. Someone who matters treats us in a way we don’t deserve. Whatever its form — whether a deliberate word or action, or a careless one — disrespect surprises us, and makes us question important things: our sense of self and our relationship with the other person. Often to the point of distraction.

There’s no vaccine against disrespect, but there are measures we can take to make sure that hurt feelings don’t spiral into something bigger. Sometimes, for example, dealing with disrespect creates an opportunity to engage in empathy or to clarify our personal expectations. Sometimes an open and direct conversation provides a necessary reset in
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How to find your missing motivation

Motivation Boosters

The biggest sign that we’re acting like a Deflated Doer is when we stop caring as much about doing our best. It feels pretty rotten. What used to inspire us can’t compete with an overwhelming sense of futility. We’re unmotivated. Just going through the motions.

But for every stuck moment, there is a way to move forward — guaranteed. For Deflated Doers, it’s about seeing the situation in a new way. What way? you ask. That depends, we answer.

There are four kinds of Deflated Doers (take our mini-quiz to discover your tendency).

Discouraged Doers are puzzled that their driving enthusiasm has landed them on the sideline instead of the finish line. They need to take stock of the reality of the situation.

Detached Doers have distanced themselves from others, and that outsider feeling leaves them less inclined to give their all. They need to figure out a more engaging role
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How a lifelong procrastinator cracked the productivity riddle

“My brain isn’t lazy,” says Tim Urban, Harvard grad, musician, blogger at Wait But Why, cofounder of two successful tutoring companies, and expert procrastinator. “It’s dying to work hard because it knows that’s the way to be happy.”

But Tim’s brain has a tendency to get busy with everything other than what’s at the top of his to-do list. He’s always been productive — playing hours of piano, for example, while procrastinating a writing assignment — but his busyness wasn’t moving him any closer to his goals. And, on occasion, it caused misery-inducing side effects: His 90-page thesis was produced in a panicked 72-hour work session before deadline. He got it done, but it wasn’t work he was proud of.

After that low point, Tim told himself it was the kind of work he was being asked to do, not his work habits. Then he promptly moved to L.A. to compose
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How the right routine can save the day

Oh, holy routine! Every day, it seems, brings fresh tribute to the early morning habits of Benjamin Franklin or the five things that any successful person must do before breakfast. Success begins to sound like 1% inspiration and 99% perfect routine.

But you can’t punch out the perfect routine with a cookie cutter. We’re all different. Special snowflakes, like our mothers always said. And, while there are some truths universal to human biology (we’ve never met a successful person who could go a straight 48 hours without sleep), our bodies and brains all work just a bit uniquely. When you factor in each person’s different jumble of workday tasks and projects — plus social demands and other commitments — it’s clear that one-size-fits-all time management formulas don’t work.

A truly effective routine begins with self-knowledge. Highly productive people, whether creative, corporate, or domestic, hone their routines to take advantage of their body’s
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How to power up your productivity

We live in the age of the superhuman. We’re supercharged supercomputing superbeings supertasking. We do more than any single human being in any previous era ever imagined possible. Watch us juggle between jobs and hobbies, family and friends, home stuff and travel, professional networks and personal lives. You name it — it’s already on the calendar.

No wonder we’re overwhelmed.

You know that feeling. When one task or one demand too many shifts us from all systems go to overload. That surrendering realization of, “Ugh. I. Just. Can’t. Anymore.” That’s when productivity stalls and we get stuck.

Counter to the advice of every sports coach we ever had, the answer isn’t to try harder. It’s to work smarter, to work in tune with our bodies, our brains, and our metabolic needs. In his book Your Brain at Work, David Rock explains why the burden we place on ourselves these days wears us
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