The Procrastinators Guidebook; How to Free Up Your Time

I am just brilliant at so many things, but what I am best at is PROCRASTINATING!! I love it so much (pause for effect) that I’m probably doing it right now…

// I actually went looking for a video to insert and dropped into the pitfall of YouTube //

Hold on while I pack away all this vicarious living that YouTube has brought me. Anyway, back to the point. Procrastination is basically, as I view it, the avoidance of work. It is the bane of those moments when we are relaxed and feel the need to fill the void with something other than staring at the walls. It’s a pause, a break or just a stop gap measure. But, it becomes a problem when it can’t be shaken off and you loose precious minutes (or hours) to the black hole of the procrastinated life.

The best and probably easiest way to slay the procrastination beast is to fill your day with things to do. And while that may be sound advice some days are just going to be empty, there will be times when you literally have nothing to do, so what then?

Well, your time has value and you need to ask a question, what value am I getting from this activity? You are giving up your precious time to some other thing, and you need to decide what exactly is it giving back? If it is giving you nothing, then it is not worth your time. Here, how about an example?

Often I find myself watching, or re-watching television to fill time. I get bored and flick channels until I find something that I’ve probably seen before, but it will do for the moment until I find something better. But what value am I getting from this seventh viewing? Nothing. I don’t even laugh at the jokes anymore. I’m not even getting a minutia of entertainment, the thing is just on so my brain can go bye byes for an hour or so. Now, when I find myself in this type of situation I peel myself off the couch and force a job into my head, something that needs to get done, something that is going to improve my life. Currently I’m growing a veggie garden (although it’s mostly fruit) so I can be a bit self sufficient. So my job of choice is watering or just going out to check on it. And then I have turned my wasteful procrastination into something productive. Then when the day is close to over, there is some sense of achievement. I don’t feel like I have wasted a large part of the day. Any time that I am able to step back and look at something I have done in that particular day, I feel good. I have used time effectively, and instead of feeling like I wasted time, I can reflect and take note.

Naturally we can’t make big sweeping changes to our lives. But just one small bite at a time and it will get better. Remember it is all about value! Get good value out of your procrastination and then it is not time wasted but rather earned and banked to use later.

And because I had to:

That video is 15 mins, but what did you learn? Coyote is wildly entertaining and informative. If your going to watch YouTube make it something that you can take back from, make IT pay for giving them your time. Then your time will come back to you. After all I got back into gardening by watching a few gardening videos, it inspired me to go out and achieve on my own, so in that way I don’t feel the time was wasted, instead it worked for me.

How do you free your time, and slay the beast? Comment below.

Feature Image: Posters Vintage by Camila Leite de Oliveira (CC BY 2.0)

How to Find Your Passion for Work

Words that are often spoken when finding a (new) job are, ‘Follow your Passion’. I’ve always thought of this as a ridiculous idea, and here is why.

What if my passion is sitting on the couch watching Red Dwarf reruns? Not too many job titles there… I mean, I could write a blog about the show, but is writing my thing? Reviews? Nah, they take away some of the fun.

What if I am yet to find my passion? The one thing that drives me onward regardless of success or, dare I say it, failure…

Some might say that the only way to find your passion is to try out many things, have a go at all sorts of things and eventually one of them will stick and EUREKA! You’ve done it! Your passion has been uncovered like the rough uncut diamond that it is, now go find that chisel!

But can that really work in a workplace environment? Unlikely. I’d suggest that a large majority of people work to pay the bills, there is little passion but rather just a set amount of time given up in order to gain money so they can live. Wow, that’s all a bit depressing. Well it is if you think of it like that; let’s alter that thinking slightly.

Instead of doing what you are passionate about, instead choose to be passionate about what you are doing. I’m a big believer in life being totally controlled by what we think. If you feel that you are stuck in a mundane and thankless work-a-day job then guess what, you will be. But with a tweak of our mindset, then regardless of what our work may entail we can be passionate about doing it in a spectacular way.

Even if it doesn’t lead to better things at work. You will be going home happier and with a better sense of accomplishment then before. And nothing drives creativity better then that; it makes you want to do more, learn more and achieve more.

Oh, and just so you know, I mop floors like an absolute legend!

Feature Image: Passion Fruit by Tara Severns (CC BY-NC 2.0)

How to Geocache

Geocaching is a global game of hide and seek. A geocache is a hidden container with a logbook that can be found using GPS coordinates. What I find most fascinating is that many geocaches have been ‘in the wild’ for up to seventeen years, and geocaching often leads to discovering interesting places that you never knew existed!

Cement Lounge – R.Williams 2017

Geocachers generally play the game the way they want to, but there are three main rules:

  • Don’t let anyone see you retrieve the cache
  • Put it back exactly where you found it
  • Sign the logbook and log it online

That is basically it, however there are many etiquette rules with geocaching. Some of these include:

  • Practice cache in trash out (CITO)
  • The container should suit the environment
  • There should be a reason that a cache is placed in a certain location
  • Respect the environment – generally you wont need to trample anything
  • Caches are to be maintained by the cache owner (CO)
  • Cachers should report damaged or missing caches to the CO
  • If swag swaps are made, trade up and not down
  • Respect each other and have fun!

These are more guidelines rather than rules, but the more you play the more you will learn, and hopefully discover what makes it enjoyable for you. Treat caches as if they were your own. Attending an ‘event cache’ (a gathering of cachers) is another way to learn more about how to follow the hidden rules of geocaching.

Caches are ranked according to difficulty and terrain. While again there are no solid rules, generally a terrain of one is wheelchair accessible and a five requires specialist equipment, such as SCUBA gear or, for the really keen, a ticket on the next space shuttle. In difficulty ratings a one is hidden in a standard hide, such as a road side guard rail (known as a park and grab cache) and a five could be a nano (a cache about the size of ten stacked five cent pieces) hidden among a rock pile. When it comes to finding them some people search for hours, and some set themselves a time limit, its best to stick to what your most comfortable with, but generally about fifteen minutes is enough. The more you find the easier it gets, and eventually you will have what they call the ‘geocachers eye’, which means being able to spot a likely hide from a distance.

There are many different types of cache, but the three main types are:

  • Traditional – Cache located at the given coordinates
  • Multi – Information available only at the coordinates is needed to find the cache
  • Unknown – A puzzle that needs to be solved before the coordinates are available

For the others visit – Geocache types

The physical caches come in many shapes and sizes, and everyone has their nemesis and favorites. I prefer gadget caches – these are puzzle boxes that require you to solve before you can sign the logbook. I don’t dislike any cache – park and grab mint tins are my least favorite especially if there is no story or reason to take me to the location.

That’s about it – 3 simple rules, and a few guidelines just to get started. Like any hobby the more involved you get the more you will learn. The application from Groundspeak is free to find non-premium caches (CO’s decide this) and about $45 a year subscription if you want to find any cache. So grab your phone and a pen (or two) and see what is closest, with three million hidden worldwide there is bound to be one nearby.

 

Using Categories and Tags in WordPress

It’s not the destination, but rather the experiences that we encounter…

A blog, or website is a location. It is one particular point on an ever expanding plane of information. How that information is navigated can be crucial. If the best and most powerful ideas are hidden in a maze of dead ends and false leads, or worse, trails of misinformation, will it ever be consumed and unpacked. It seems unlikely, after all the internet is not a rat maze leading to the juicy piece of cheese; most users get distracted on the way and start eating at the cardboard walls (we’ve all been sucked into the time vortex of YouTube). One way to solve the ever shrinking attention span of the user, is with the correct use of categories and tags. 

If a blog is thought of as a destination, then categories are the cities, towns and villages, and tags are the experiences that may be found.

A blog in itself can be as broad or as narrow themed as possible, and you may need many categories, or only a few, but that is all up to the writer. However if a blog becomes to broad it may be worthwhile to separate the content into different blogs, or countries to maintain the map analogy.

Let’s assume you are writing a blog about film, the categories could be the genres, such as animation, fantasy, action, and so on. The blog could be set up in such a way that the reader could navigate to the category that most interests them. A reader may only have one particular interest, such as science fiction, then they don’t want to be burdened by scrolling through other posts to look for content. Instead they would most likely see nothing of interest on the front page and bypass the blog all together as not being for them. One of the great things about categories is that they can be nested and a page can be placed in more than one, but overall it should fit into the general theme.

Tags operate in a different but equally important manner, they are used to find key words and ideas. In the film blog example, the name of a director could be a tag when the post is not purposefully about them; if it were, then it should be prudent to place the post under a director category. Tags are important especially if a user was researching a particular topic, it can help link pages that otherwise may not appear to be related. They are a second stage of sorting out blog posts and ideas. In the director example a reader may want to discover other works that they have made, in order to discover something new.

Categories and tags can be added to posts at any time. If you have already started a blog and if it is not too big then it is possible to start again and lay the ground work so your reader can divulge the content in a more user friendly way. It provides a mapping network and helps the reader focus their efforts and feel less lost in an unfamiliar territory.

The use of categories and tags can also be beneficial for the writer, as you may want to reflect on an older post or link back to a post or check to see what you have written about a certain topic before. There cant be something much more embarrassing and hurtful to your credibility than contradicting yourself in two separate posts. While it is true that over time a writer grows and develop and opinions may change it is best to be consistent in your writing. Doing this could potentially create a new post if you are stuck for something to write about, how had something changed your opinion. What a better way to show that you can be a trusted source, a learning writer is much better than one stuck on a treadmill.

For more information on how to change and set categories and tags:

NOTE: I haven’t exactly been following my own advice, but then we are all learning as we go…