Save the Best For Last

Deliberately procrastinating the bad may hamper your ability to completely enjoy the good by the thought of the less favorable ahead. You risk spoiling the good for no reason (or at least enjoying it less than you could otherwise). Get the chores out of the way first (homework or Brussels sprouts), and save something to look forward to. Convince yourself that you are earning the dessert at the end of the meal. You’ll appreciate the victory even more.

Down To The Wire

Deadlines exist for a reason. In spite of procrastination and poor time management, they make sure things get done. Sometimes, all it takes is a looming deadline to help you cross the finish line. If it wasn’t for a daily deadline, this blog probably would not exist. I would not have written this post.

If you want to get something done, impose a deadline and have others hold you accountable. Simple.

A Healthier Recipe for All-Nighters

Staying awake all night is never healthy, and I do not endorse it. I may have permanently impaired my memory and shaved 15 years off of my life by sleeping so little through high school and college. Sometimes, however, all-nighters need to happen. Beyond pure determination, optimism, and focus, most people need a little outside help to get the job done.

Everyone uses a different method. Most people go straight for caffeine. The issue? Short-term punchy solutions like caffeine, sugar, cocaine, or other psychostimulants can really shake the body and falter the mind. Coming down from these substances will surely game you over. If you can continue to pace them out to keep the buzz alive, more power to you. In extreme circumstances, I’ve taken a small sip of coffee or an energy drink every 20 minutes to keep fueling the fire. Keeping pace takes a lot of calculated effort; too fast or too slow may fail you completely or spin your system in the wrong direction. I suggest you avoid uppers altogether.

Over the years, I discovered a few natural solutions far more effective and less destructive than stimulants. A generous helping of vitamins B and C through supplements, juice, or fruit can boost your energy, antioxidize your body, and keep your immune system on its feet. Apples and orange juice got me through college. Moreover, you can leave lights on, fight yawns, and move your body as much as possible. Keep the body and mind active.

The real secret weapon? Drink water. A lot of water. Water keeps you cool, hydrated, and toxin-free. A large volume of water will keep your organs working overtime for you. Yes, that means frequent urination. Annoying? How many times have you had to wake to go to the bathroom? When it comes to sleep, your bladder is boss. Fill that thing nonstop, and it will keep you awake. I consumed 139 fluid ounces of water on my 16-hour-straight drive from Los Angeles to Denver today; in part with good conversation, those water bottles kept me sharp and alive. I made it in one piece and with energy to spare. But now, after 36 hours with hardly any rest, it’s time for me to go to sleep. Good night.

Give It Your All?

I respect people who devote themselves completely to a project or job. Without question, giving it your all usually awards you a competitive edge. But I worry about the limited investment driven people are able to make in other parts of their lives. If you invest 100% of your energy (and time) into a project, what is left for family, friends, or your own health? What about your personal life goals?

On this planet, we only have 23 hours, 57 minutes, and 4.1 seconds in a day. If you spend 18 hours working on your project, when will you see your children? When will you sleep or exercise? And when will you have time to chisel away at your hobby? For those of you who are working for the money, do you have time to spend or even manage the money you do make? If not, what’s the point? What’s the point of working that hard anyway? To do better? If your job is the most important thing in your life, then why let family or anyone else distract you? What’s the point?

I am all for investing yourself in your work. I work very hard myself. But I draw lines and live by rules. I will not let my job, or any project for that matter, take time away from my dreams. And I am actively optimizing my life to make more time with friends, family, travel, and personal projects.

Inventory your “all” and decide where best to map your energy and time.