Become Consistent Learner with The Mike Boyd Effect: Procrastinator to Productive

In my first post, I talked about my first inspiration that kick started my journey to productivity. As I become more productive, you become time efficient with your day. The availability of time has lead me to explore new interests. I have since become obsessed in technology, and as a result of the daily consumption of TechCrunch, my free time turned into brainstorming sessions. But having no idea where to find a developer, I decided that I will try to learn how to code myself. Through the quick research I ended up in Codecademy and I start taking their free online course. Their interactive learning made it extremely enjoyable, and I felt that I was progressing fast. I thought in 6 months, I will be creating my own app! Then as soon as I tried to build something from scratch, I was thrown into cluelessness. I thought I was just not born with the brains to code. So as a typical procrastinator, I gave up.

Then similar to my first inspiration, while lost in the algorithm of youtube, I came across Mike Boyd’s channel. The basic format of his youtube video is that he chooses a relatively niche skill he wants to learn (solving a rubik’s cube, learning how to pull a wheelie) and he records the entire process of learning the skill. I recommend you go watch his videos asap. He usually does not watch any tutorials and basically wings it. The videos chronicles his struggles and how he slowly determines what works and what doesn’t. It is weirdly personal experience watching him and once he is able to achieve a goal he set, you can’t help but celebrate with him.

Consistency Wins the Race

From watching his video i came to a sudden realisation. Maybe because the struggles are visualised it easier to understand a seemingly obvious concept. To be good at any any thing, you got to put in the work. What was interesting was that he usually only practices around 30 minute to 40 minutes a day. He breaks down the skill into small chunks, when he was learning how to stack dice,  he started with one dice until he got used to the movement.

This concept of building consistency through using short sessions and setting trackable goals is surprisingly effective for procrastinators. I have applied this concept for my modified pomodoro method. As explained in my previous posts, it had great positive impact in my journey to productivity. Mike Boyd has influence on how I structure learning in general, and I am grateful that he continues to create videos which motivates myself to learn.

The Dip

However even after implementing this to my second go at learning programming, I found myself in stagnation. I was able to reach a early intermediate level, then the learning process became harder and frustrating. This experience is what Seth Godin describe as “The Dip”. In any progression of learning there is a initial stage where learning is fun as you start to improve rapidly and be able to apply these skills in practice. But then you hit this zero rate of progress. You can’t seem grasp the higher level concepts and this dip period is where most leaners get derailed.

Mike Boyd shows a how in the initial stages of learning you can achieve great satisfaction in a relatively short time. But skills that has a steeper learning curve like programming requires prolonged periods of dissatisfaction. I’m am exactly in that period now. I can now build very simple website with html and css, but it is demotivating when you can draw up great UIs in your head, only to be smacked with reality and I fail to built anything close to the vision. The only reason I am still staying with it is because I know that after the dip, enjoyment will return when your skills and higher level practicality aligns. Understanding this process has help me maintain the motivation to learn how to code.

learning-graph

If your in the middle of the dip, or you are like me and has a history of giving up, try to visualise this graph and know that the frustration is building momentum to reach the peaks of mastery. Be patient, you will reach the velocity to exit the dip soon.

Simplify Being Productive: Become a Serial Mini Achiever

The most difficult part about being a procrastinator is that moment see the amount of work you need to do, you get overwhelmed. I tried various methods on planning my work to meet the deadline. But the act of planning makes the enormity of the task even more visible, which further worsened my procrastination.

What helped me was stop looking at the big picture and only focus on what I need to get done “today”. Therefore I started setting daily task of my notes app, but it got annoying having to delete each task I noted down. After trying few apps to organise my daily tasks, I came across an app called “Clear Todos”.

This app is super easy to use, you can tap to create a task, then swipe right once you complete it.

Every morning when I wake up I will create my daily tasks including small tasks like “walk to get a coffee”. By completing these small tasks first, it starts rolling the ball for the day and you will build momentum. This drive will push you to start on more larger tasks that you might procrastinate otherwise.

It is crucial that for more larger tasks such as school essays, you should set a minimum goal such as “Work on essay for 30 minutes”. If you can work for 30 minutes you can swipe and stop working. But if your feeling it, continue working. The key is to work for short periods, but be consistent on working 30 minutes everyday. Eventually you will have a day that you get in the groove and make major progress.

If your still new to the “procrastinator to productive” journey, keep your tasks super simple like “make bed” or “walk on the treadmill for 30 minutes”. Get used to achieving the goals you set by starting at a micro level. Be patient, be consistent and you will see the results.

If you reached this part of the blog this is your micro task of the day, go to the app store and download “Clear Todos”, then create three simple tasks that you will do tomorrow.

Do it.

How to Make House Chores Fun: Quick Tips

Last post I talked about how making my bed helped me start building physical habits that lead to me doing laundry and cleaning my room consistently. But no matter how motivated you are, these tasks are boring. As procrastinators we have to make boring yet important task as fun as possible. The best method that helped me the most is to listen to podcasts while doing these chores. I’ll introduce you to 5 podcasts that I listen to everyday which diversified my knowledge and get shit done at the same time.

1. Radiolab

Produced out of WNYC public radio station, Radiolab tells obscure stories in a well choreographed structure that make it a pleasure to listen to. They go in deep on topics such as Speed where they look into how human mastered the world of microseconds and utilising it in places such finance, Alpha Gal a story of a woman who suddenly turned allergic to meat and Breaking News looking into how technology is bending reality of media.

2. How I Built This with Guy Raz

Anyone who are interested in startups or building a business in general, Guy Raz interviews the founders of tech unicorns such as Airbnb and iconic brand such as Ben & Jerry’s. You get to hear the birth of their business, the failures and their vision. Guy Raz has the skill to pull out personal stories out of the guests, which makes a immersive listening experience.

3. 99% Invisible

This podcast focuses on the world of design, not in fashion kind of way, but the design of thing that make our world. The Pool and the Stream pursue the origin of the kidney shaped pools which became pop culture, and Unpleasant Design examines the design of uncomfortable park benches. 99% Invisible changes your perceptive of the world as you start seeing everyday object differently.

4. Planet Money

From the NPR radio station, Planet Money focuses on stories in the world of economics. Not only it clarifies confusing economic news in a much digestible form, it also looks to find answers by actually doing it. The recent episode SPACE 1: We’re Going To Space the team attempts to send a miniature satellite into the space, like really send a satellite using rockets. The Free Food Market look at the economics of the food banks and how ironically the free market system helps in running charitable organisation efficiently. If you are looking for a quick interesting stories, I highly recommend this.

5. The Joe Rogan Experience

Hands down my favorite podcast. Comedian, UFC commentator, former Fear Factor host Joe Rogan invites a broad spectrum of guests and have a long conversation with them. This podcast has personally diversified my knowledge most. The episode with Jordan Peterson & Bret Weinstein was a true workout of my brain. Or the talk with Courtney Dauwalter who won the MOAB 240 race, running 240 miles in under 58 hours. If your not into serious topics, he often invites he’s comedian friends which is a much more casual (often times inappropriate) conversation.

Give this podcast a try and start working on those laundry you have stocked up or the toilet bowl you haven’t cleaned in months!

My first step: Procrastinator to Productive

For my first post of the blog, I thought it will be fitting to tell you the story of what inspired my journey of micro self development. The first thing you need to know about me is that I’m a Youtube addict. Youtube has always been my drug of choice. It is a buffet for procrastinators, every time you tell yourself; “this is the last one!” then you see something mildly interesting then you immediately give in; “just one more clip”. I am Alice and Youtube is the Wonder Land. I have fallen into countless rabbit holes and 99% of the time it’s cat videos, but sometimes, you find a gem.

In the suggestion feed, there was man in the thumbnail dressed in a white military uniform. It was titled: If You Want to Change the World, Start Off by Making Your Bed – William McRaven, US Navy Admiral. Now I encourage you to watch this video, as it touches multiple topics that had been valuable for me, but lets focus his main case: “start of your day by making your bed”. He claims that by making your bed every morning, you have accomplished a task. And by doing so, you will be able to accomplish other tasks as it has a domino effect. Initially the make-your-bed part wasn’t particularly life changing, but I was mesmerised by McRaven and drunk from motivation. So I made my bed purely because McRaven told me to do so.

And that was it.

Honestly I did not know what I was hoping to feel. But the clouds did not open up or my consciousness did not reach enlightenment. It felt like nothing has changed. I was still me. Once the high had worn off, I went about my normal unproductive day and fell asleep. I woke up next morning as usual and went straight into the shower. Once I got out of the shower, I saw my bed, unmade. It was a weird feeling because I noticed that the bed was “unmade”. I never made my bed before and that “unmade” state was normal. Now it was …. not normal. So I made my bed for the second time. And the third time. And I continued to make my bed. McRaven talks about how making your bed is a visual representation of completing a task. Every time you come back home you see that you have accomplished something and that drives a positive reinforcement. And I believe it did jump start my productivity. After making the bed became my habit I moved on to laundry, then to cleaning the floor every 2 days and so on. It cascaded into series of habits that became essential tools for my productivity.

Im sure most of you guys have messy rooms, and you don’t give a shit if you room is clean or not. But when you are welcomed to a clean room after a long day there is something incredibly satisfying and rewarding. Even more so as you know that it was you that made the bed, did the laundry and cleaned the floors.

As procrastinators (PCTs) we try so hard to better ourselves, but we fail because we try to prove ourselves by aiming big. To write 5000 words on our essay, to go to the gym everyday for 1 month, learn how to code a website in 1 week. These goals if you achieve them will give you great sense of pride. But like mountain climbing, if you never climbed a mountain before and you see mount Everest in front of you, your not leaving base camp where theres warm food and a comfy bed. As any endeavour we have to progressive build our strength, endurance and technique to take on these big climbs.  And unfortunately for us PCTs, we lack all of it. So let start from treadmills out from other people’s sight. Making your bed is your first 10 minutes on the treadmill.

So go make your bed now.