The Most Successful Babysitter in The World: YouTube

I have found that many parents and babysitters have been using a revolutionary 21st century tool to manage children. This tool has also been used by private babysitter services as well. Imagine having a child who has never seen Youtube before coming home and asking for it. It is not surprising since Youtube has made many adults glued to the screens. As such, it should not be surprising that young children will be hooked to it as well.

Now before I continue any further, this may not be something you want to hear. Thus, please do note that these opinions are mine and mine alone. I welcome discussions, but please don’t go Molotov-cocktailing my house.

Benefits of Using Youtube

Image result for youtube

Image source

Youtube can be a rather effective educational tool. Let’s face it, with it being the second-largest search engine in the world, you can use Youtube to illustrate practically any topic in the world.

Also, I can imagine the convenience of keeping the children occupied with Youtube. I think any parent here would agree that getting a few minutes or hours of kid-free time is pure bliss. Don’t get me wrong, I love my kids, but as a parent, your responsibilities encompass everything else around the house and work. There are also times where you just want to unwind. After all, the walking dead is on its tenth season.

However, aside from being an effective educational tool and its large repository of videos, Youtube has been linked to some problems faced by parents these days.

Problems With Youtube

Children are easily influenced and their behaviour can be easily moldable depending on their surroundings. As such, if videos are inappropriate, you can be sure that this will eventually affect the attitude of the child as well. I remember a friend speaking about how the autoplay function on Youtube was an excellent tool as it keeps the child entertained.

This was all good until some parties managed to game the system. They manipulated Youtube’s algorithm to play their own videos with inappropriate content. Of course, you could easily mitigate this by pre-downloading the right videos for your child. But consider this, how long should a child be allowed to watch Youtube videos?

Image result for child screen time

Image source

If you are a teacher or have observed any classrooms lately, you will find that children these days are a little more active than the children of the previous generation. There are many reasons to justify this. However, the amount of screen time has been attributed as one of the causes. With studies stating that the younger a child is and the more time a child spends on screens, the more it impedes their mental development. This is the case with allowing children too much time watching Youtube. So how much is exactly too much?

It’s hard to say unfortunately, some claim that no more than 2 hours a day is fine while others claim that a few minutes is adequate. What is clear however is this, moderation is key. Of course, when in doubt, introduce screen time when the child is much older.

But No Screen is Tough

I understand and acknowledge this. There are days when I do feel like just letting Youtube do all the babysitting for me while I run off to do my work. However, we do have to persevere. As such, a lot of time is spent entertaining our children with books and toys. It takes up more time, but it helps them better especially in their speech development. The same applies to their ability to focus as well. This does not necessarily apply to every child.

Image result for children playing with blocks

Image source

However, here is a different perspective. If screen time is introduced as a way to keep them occupied, too much screen time would eventually become a norm. Thus, if it is taken away, how would you think the child would react? From experience, children who are used to too much screen time will get extremely bored and unfocused when their screen time is taken away. It becomes somewhat like a drug to keep them going, kinda how coffee works for me. As such, just like coffee, shouldn’t its intake be limited as much as possible? Or like a popular sticker once said,

Who is raising your child? You or Youtube?

Do let me know your thoughts in the comments below.

Giving Great Career Advice & Talking About Bitcoin

If you have been one of those people who have been talking about the benefits of Bitcoin as compared to fiat currency, you are actually very much similar to someone giving great career advice to the next generation. There are several aspects that one can compare talking about Bitcoin to giving good career advice. So let’s get started.

Bitcoin vs Career Advice

Bitcoin is defined as a form of currency. While conventional currency’s value can be inflated and censored, Bitcoin can’t. Bitcoin with its fixed supply and decentralization offers a solution to problems found within an old system. This is not to say that conventional fiat currency is useless, it just needs some improvements.

Image result for bitcoin

Image source

Conversely, the traditional career advice that we give our students is flawed. The formula for this advice is pretty straightforward. Do well in school, go to a good university, graduate, and get a good job. This used to work as good grades was used as a reliable measure to a students’ performance. However, two things have made grades an unreliable measurement of a students’ overall performance.

The first one is its overemphasis on academics. While it is true that scoring well in exams is a prerequisite to enter a good school, an overemphasis of it is tantamount to putting all your eggs in one basket. This could lead to neglect in other areas of development such as sports, critical thinking and communication skills. I had an acquaintance who was the top scorer in school for 5 consecutive years. He was perceived to have a bright future. However, he had sacrificed friends and had failed to develop his interpersonal skills. At college, he had a meltdown, not because of his studies but he was unable to handle being away on his own.

The second is the many services and methods in gaming the education system. This includes cheating in exams and even bribing their way into good schools. Furthermore, the tampering of exam results to help certain individuals gain a political edge is not unheard of.

Reading, Reading & More Reading

Image result for reading

Image source

As such, in order to gain an edge in life, the best advice that anyone can give is to read. While this is nothing new, I should specify what reading is all about. You see if I were to send someone an article on Bitcoin and ask that individual to read it. I may not be able to convince him of the benefits of Bitcoin. That individual would have to read through the different arguments on Bitcoin in order to come to a conclusion.

Similarly, convincing anyone that the old advice of ‘going to school to get a good job’ is obsolete, can be a rather tall order. Just like Bitcoin, they would have to do away with old preconceived truths and reshape their worldview. I remember telling some friends about Bitcoin and they all gave me the ‘you are crazy’ look. Most of them are programmed by news and propaganda from mainstream media. By the time the media starts advertising Bitcoin in a positive light, it will be too late.

Similarly, there is a huge money-making industry behind college education. It is an industry where we pay huge sums of money just to have a shot at a good future. Say if I were to fail to secure a job, it is unfortunately not the college’s job to help me. Thus, I’m paying a lot of money on the possibility of securing a good job.

Image result for job interview

Image source

Worse, some jobs do not require certifications but just talent and experience. I mean, how does a degree in e-sports help me be a better DOTA player? Or is a degree in culinary arts different from 4 years of on-the-job training. I do think that there are benefits in both on-the-job training and a degree. However, perhaps the thought that certification from college guarantees a job should be something that should be rethought. Just like how money should not be censored and taken care of by a third party.

Ignore The Noise

I seem to have ranted quite a bit, but let me draw it all to a conclusion. I believe that with enough reading, studying and research, you will be able to see through the noise. You may find society constantly convincing you that only terrorists use Bitcoin. Similarly, someone may say that going to college is the only way to be successful.

However, what will help you stay your path or pick the right path for your future is knowledge gathered from your own studies. As such, the best career advice that anyone can give is similar to why you should use Bitcoin. Research, read and investigate and you will find that going to college is not the only path to success. Just as how the only money is not that printed by banks but also those produced on the blockchain.

 

 

Steemit as a Way To Develop Future Teachers’ Writing Skills

This is a concept paper for a year-long project that I will be initiated next year. Most of the fine details are still in the planning stage but in this article, I hope to present some of them. Some feedback is always appreciated. The general plan is to use Steemit as a way to develop my students’ writing skills. My core group of students is college students in the education faculty. Once they graduate they will become teachers. One reason for this project is their writing skills.

Image result for Steem

Image source

Identifying the issue

In most countries where English is not spoken as a first language, there is a pressing need for students to do well in writing well. Writing is an important component in most assessments in schools as well as in university. As such, students should always take the opportunity to practice writing as much as possible.

However, writing is an incredibly boring activity. Well, there are ways to organize fun activities in the classroom. There is a limited amount of time in the classroom where the students can practice. As such, the students should take the opportunity to practice outside of the classroom.

Now, let’s be real, why would anyone spend their free time writing? Unless there is some real carrot that teachers can dangle in front of the students. That is when Steemit presents an opportunity to help different students to improve their writing skills.

Image result for writing skills

Image source

Leveraging Steemit

Steemit is very much similar to a blogging platform. Many studies have been conducted on the use of blogs to help students practice their writing. However, the one aspect that sets Steemit apart is the rewards.

Simply put, if a teacher were to instruct a class of students to write one blog every week, the one thing that keeps students writing is either fear or some form of intrinsic motivation. Fear, in this case, would be either the fear of getting a bad grade or how the teacher would rain down metaphorical hell on the student. Intrinsic motivation would just be the love of writing.

If these two elements are not present in the classroom, why not try leveraging Steemit’s rewards to help. That way the teachers would necessarily need to be someone who is feared nor must the students be intrinsically motivated. Steemit’s reward system may just be enough for students to be motivated to write on a regular basis. Of course, the task would still have to be administered by the teachers. However, if an education institution decides to use Steemit, Steem can be bought by the administrator and used to reward the students.

Image result for teacher rewarding students

Image source

Conclusion

This could eventually lead to the adoption of Steem in education. However, more research should be done. In theory, writing on Steemit may likely help and motivate college students to improve their writing. It would be cool to see it being implemented in primary and high schools as well. I’m definitely excited to see how this pans out. It’s going to be an interesting year ahead.

 

Being Programmed to Not Find Good Cryptocurrency Projects

A conversation I had with my friend the other night made me think that perhaps our students are being programmed to not make good long term choices. It would not be too far of a stretch to claim that there will be who will fall for scams and bad cryptocurrency projects. As such, I will discuss a few things that I feel are being taught at school and how we can better train our next generation to make better choices.

Critical Thinking

Image result for cryptocurrency

Image source

Yes, I know, every single educator would lament on the fact that their students are somehow not good critical thinkers. But, hear me out. I went for a course that taught people how to create a startup. It was a really good course, but then I noticed something interesting. I noticed that the system that they used was eerily similar to how I teach research writing. Utilizing (or gaming) the system, my team won third with a superbly boring idea.

I may be biased, but I think the journey of writing a good dissertation or a thesis changes you. It forces you to think from various perspectives. The journey also forces you to take into account all the possible problems that may occur. Thus, thinking critically. However, research skills like this is commonly taught at the end of an undergraduate course. I think that it should be taught much earlier. Imagine if people had the skills and tools to see through projects such as Bitconnect. At least, even if they were to buy into the project, they would know the risks that they are taking.

As such, I think students in high school should be given the opportunity to analyze companies and projects. They should be taught to question the way the company is being run. Hopefully, this will equip them with the ability to see through all the marketing and all the hype. Thus, helping them to also pick the right financial projects or cryptocurrency projects to invest in.

Active Reading

Image result for reading

Image source

A good mentor of mine once said, your output is only as good as your input. He was referring to the things I say and the ideas I conjure, not the biological output that you may be thinking about. If you were not thinking about that, you are a better person than I am. However, my mentor is right. You only know as much as the knowledge you have.

Thus, imagine if a good friend were to come to you and sell you a particular cryptocurrency project. If you have no idea what cryptocurrencies are about, nor what simple economics are, you may just be thinking about the potential gains that you may make. This may cause you to lose quite a bit. That is because you are placing your decision at the hands of your friend.

This is an issue not just with cryptocurrency projects but life choices as well. Many tend to base their decisions on Youtubers or influencers without researching it themselves. Now, I am not saying that Youtubers and influencers are not trustworthy, but do read up on it. You may see a perspective that they may not. Furthermore, what works for them may not work for you due to various factors.

Thus, I think the skill of active reading is important. One should always read and understand what they have heard from friends and Youtubers. The best time to inculcate these skills is at a young age. Children should be encouraged to ask as many questions as possible and the teacher should try to connect the answers of these questions to their preexisting knowledge. Thus, if knowledge is like a building block, a teacher builds a child’s knowledge by ‘stacking’ it higher with every question answered.

Conclusion

I believe that in times to come, knowledge will not be as important as wisdom. With social media and the internet in general, it is not difficult to find information on anything including a cryptocurrency project. There is also a lot of information on which cryptocurrency project that one can choose. However, wisdom is a combination of knowledge, experience and a critical mind. Put it all together, you just may find the projects that are rare gems of cryptocurrency projects that are buried underneath all the hype of other projects.

Thus, never stop researching, never stop reading and never stop questioning.

 

 

Cryptocurrencies Should Be Taught At Schools.

It has been more than ten years now since the inception of Bitcoin. Like it, hate it or ignore it, Bitcoin and cryptocurrencies have become more common in our daily lives. This begs the question, why is it still not taught at school? Surely schools being the place of learning should expose students to cryptocurrencies. After all, cryptocurrencies represent a very different perspective on finance and the economy. Also, if we are looking to prepare the next generation for the future, the teaching of cryptocurrencies should be done at schools.

Image result for cryptocurrency

Image source

Teaching Responsibility

There are many use cases for cryptocurrencies, but if your students are too young to understand complex economic concepts, let’s start with something simpler. I find that over time, dabbling in cryptocurrencies has forced me to be more responsible over my own finances. I remember the first time when I had my private keys over on Steemit. After losing my private keys for one of my accounts, I realized that there was no one capable of retrieving it. I tried calling support, but no one could do anything.

This has unfortunately been a good lesson of being your own ‘bank’. Unlike more centralized systems, you can’t always call up a customer service representative to help you restore your password. Thus, you will just have to be a bit more responsible for your own passwords and accounts. This can be inculcated in lessons where children are taught to hold their own cryptocurrency knowing that once they lose it, no one can retrieve it for them.

Of course, using actual cryptocurrency for this may be a rather costly endeavor, as such, I would use the waves platform to create one for the purposes of the lesson.

Teaching Why Cryptocurrencies Were Invented

As for the students who are more mature, I think it is important to talk about why Bitcoin was invented in the first place. There, teachers can introduce the concept of debt and the 2008 financial crisis. While some claim that the 2008 financial crisis was a motivating factor for the creation of  Bitcoin (source). I think the lesson behind it is sound. After all, we should be teaching our students about the lessons that led to the crash.

Image result for market crash

Image source

Furthermore, talking about Bitcoin will lead to a comparison with fiat currency. There, a teacher can introduce the concept of inflation as well as why this occurs. While it takes a certain level of maturity to understand this, I have found that teenagers grasp this concept rather quickly. Perhaps it is from social media or hearing their parents complain about the rising cost of living, they catch on to the idea pretty quickly.

Of course, the idea behind introducing them to Bitcoin is not for them to buy it. Rather, it helps them gain a different perspective to the conventional lessons that they are prescribed. I believe that with different views, you tend to make better decisions.

Teaching About The Use Cases of Cryptocurrencies

Aside from the history behind Bitcoin and cryptocurrencies, a teacher can also touch on the use cases of cryptocurrencies. In terms of Bitcoin, a teacher can draw from examples in Venezuela and Hong Kong where it was used. At this point, I will be touching on issues that may seem undesirable to the government or the administration. Sometimes, the concept of decentralization and freedom associated with cryptocurrencies is seen as a form of rebellion by some who are in power.

However, as educators, I think it is important to teach our students what is happening in the world and leave them with something more valuable than knowledge. That something is wisdom. I think wisdom stems from experience but also having all the possible choices laid out before you. Once you know all the possible choices, it becomes easier to make an informed choice.

Image result for choices

Image source

The problem is that many are fed ideas from one perspective. This leads to them making decisions that are bad but considered as ‘normal’. I can’t speak for others in my field, but my clients are those who are going to be future teachers. As such, when the opportunity arises, I will present both perspectives to them. I only hope that they can use that knowledge to impact the next generation.

Teaching Ownership To Future Teachers

One of my jobs in college is to supervise my student teachers’ research. There have been times in my journey as a supervisor that I have cared more for my student teachers’ work then they have. In our program, the student teachers are required to complete lengthy research about their teaching experience. This assignment is given a year in advance in order for them to complete the entire task. However, most of them only start nearing the assignment due date.

Culture, Time Management or Ownership?

Image result for ownership

Image source

I work with many of these student teachers going through their research. I notice that those who do well, in general, have one defining quality. That quality is that they have ownership over their own work. That ownership leads to better time management and eventually a culture of excellence in their work.

I find that taking ownership over their work is an extremely important characteristic to have. This is because teaching can be an extremely demotivating career. Now, I stress on the word ‘can’ not that it is a demotivating career. That reason stems from how you perceive your role as a teacher. If a teacher only aims to get by and achieve excellence in mediocrity, there really is no point in taking ownership over their work. However, if they want to make a difference and inspire the next generation, it is essential that they take ownership over their craft.

I find that over time, many of my teachers who take ownership over their work, tend to survive the worst this career throws at them. They are able to work through rebellious students because they believe what they are doing means something. These teachers understand that no matter how many administrative tasks are thrown at them, they believe that what they are doing if done right, is worth more than any pay raise.

How We Can Train Our Teachers to Do Better

Image result for training of teachers

Image source

Unfortunately, the system at times encourages the need to be a ‘jack of all trades’ over excellence. I get it, it is important for the teachers to be able to teach as many subjects as possible. It makes a lot of administrative sense. However, a teacher should be encouraged to focus instead on any field in school that they wish to pursue. This can be in management, sports or even teaching skills.

I have mentored a few students and many of them focused on enhancing the teaching and learning experience through technology. Over time, they have managed to come up with new ways of teaching through the use of technology. Their research and work have gotten them to presenting in academic conferences and becoming better teachers.

Conclusion

Specializing in an area of teaching is always a good way of coming up with better and newer ways of teaching. Is it possible to continue teaching using the same methods? Most definitely! However, the teachers will be missing out on the joy of experimenting with new and revolutionary ways of teaching. Ways of teaching that may just change the lives of other students for the better.

My Experience Training a Group of Policemen

I was given an assignment the other day to train a group of policemen. Truth be told, it sounded like a pretty daunting task, especially since the topic was on public speaking. The daunting part comes in the form of discipline. You see, I knew trainees, especially adult trainees would be less than thrilled to speak in public. Some will even revolt when the language they have to speak in is English.

Image result for overprepared

Image source

I Overprepared…

Since it was a class that I felt I was not prepared for, I did what any teacher would do, I overprepared. The problem was that all the overpreparation was all for naught. I had no idea how proficient the participants (the policemen) were. Furthermore, I had no idea how they would react to the lessons.

So, I loaded up on games, activities, and anything that I could use to capture the attention of the participants. Just in case, I also prepared ten hours worth of slides. The day of training the policemen came and boy was I in for a surprise.

On The Day of Training

On the day of training, I went in and introduced myself and started the training. 15 minutes into my session, my participants started falling asleep. Perhaps some of them were on night patrol and I wondered what I should do. My teacher instincts dictated that I wake him up. An evil thought crossed my mind, I could throw a whiteboard marker at them. That would wake some of them up. But, they were the ones with the guns. So I had to come up with another idea.

At this point, I decided to throw my ten-hour powerpoint slides out the window. I switched immediately to the games and activities that I have prepared. Perhaps something that more stimulating would keep them awake. But then, I ran into another problem, some of the policemen started protesting. It was not a strong protest, but more of a “please don’t make me do this because my English is bad”.

Image result for english is bad pixabay

Image source

It was at this point that I realized that it was not the lesson, nor defiance that made them fall asleep but fear. One of them even noted that he was not academically qualified to speak well. He said that he was only a high school graduate and thus was not able to speak in English.

Time For Plan B

I started encouraging and getting the policemen to share anything at all. All they had to do was speak for 30 seconds. They reluctantly agreed and started speaking. Their speech was riddled with grammatical errors but they gave it their very best. At the end of the activity, I went up shared a story.

The story was about a time when I was teaching a university class. In my class, they were many undergraduates and postgraduates. They were much like the policemen as they were not very proficient in English. However, these students were defiant. They crossed their arms and refused to speak a word of English, claiming that the language had no relevance to them. I told the policemen that the only similarity between the policemen and the students was their language proficiency.  Also, I told the policemen that I knew that speaking in English was difficult for them, yet they tried. I also told them that it was a joy in teaching such a professional group of students.

Furthermore, I told them that it did not matter if they were university graduates or high school graduates, what mattered was their attitude. After that, the entire atmosphere in the class changed. They became more participative and at the end, most of them even spoke in front of everyone for at least 5 minutes.

Conclusion

For that final activity, I had the organizer take a video of each of them speaking in front. For most of them, it was their first time speaking in English, in public. The video was distributed to each of them. I told them that one day if they were ever called to speak in public, all they had to do, was look back at the video. This is because the first time is always the hardest, but because they were willing to step out of their comfort zone, the second time would be a breeze.

 

The Importance of Education to your Future is Like Training

I used to be able to swim 5 Kilometers as part of my daily training. The training gave me an edge in swimming competitions. That is because there were times where I had to take at least 3 events, which meant that I had to keep my stamina up. Now, you may be wondering, what has that got to do with the importance of education to your future? The importance can be summarized in one phrase, which is maintaining a competitive edge. 

Related image

Image source

The Definition of Education & its Importance

If you were to ask most people about what education is, most will point to the pursuit of good grades. Some may speak about the discipline in pursuing those grades. Others may speak of getting into a good school and eventually a good job. However, that goal or rather definition of why education is important is slowly degrading. Education has grown complicated over the years. A good degree may not get you a good job. Also, employers are increasingly seeing graduates underperforming despite their great paper qualifications. Furthermore, college education has become somewhat of a right and not something that you earn.

As such, the whole ‘good school to get a good job approach has’ lost its appeal by many parents of this generation. Thus, many have chosen to pull their children out of the normal school system, opting to instead homeschool or even unschool them. The reason for this is because education has been seen as a means to a better life. However, the pursuit of a better life is actually the pursuit of lifelong education. Thus, while education to get good grades may not be in line with your future plans, the importance of education to your future is in maintaining that competitive edge.

 

What Can I do?

In order to prepare for your future, you will have to train. In terms of education, there are two ways to go about it. First is to broaden your knowledge in terms of depth and the other in terms of width. Let me explain. The broadening of knowledge in terms of depth would mean pursuing one single field and becoming an expert in it. This would require you to pursue a higher level of education like masters and a doctorate degree. However, the point is not for the certification, rather gain a different perspective under the tutelage of experts in that field.

Image result for training

Image source

If you decide to broaden your knowledge in terms of width. That would require you to learn about an industry that is closest or relevant to you. The more skills or knowledge you acquire makes you an invaluable member of your organization. Why? That’s because you have the knowledge of a worker from two different industries. This is known as industrial crosstraining.

Personally, I have attempted both. I am a doctorate student in education and I love studying economics and blockchain. In doing so, I have found that many concepts such as decentralization and the need to take ownership of one’s finances have slowly made its way into my classes. I remember once teaching students about inflation and even using Steemit to teach a language class. Such things are not standard in our teaching practices, but that’s the benefit of gaining knowledge in width, the view from other industries does give you a fresh new take on how you see things.

Conclusion

Ultimately education is a continuous process, colleges, universities and all, those are just a vehicle for you to get educated. However, what you do to get educated is important. As such, start training today for that competition that is your future. If you train hard enough, you can brave any economic hardship. That is because no matter how the job market changes, you will be highly sought after. As such, that is the importance of education to your future.

 

 

The Unreliable Yardstick: Exam Grades

One of the goals that many parents strive for is a good education for their children. The definition of a good education often means obtaining good exam grades. While that is not something bad to strive towards, good exam grades have become a form of measurement, a yardstick that is unreliable.

Good Grades = Good Future?

Image result for good exam grades pixabay

Image source

Now, if your goal is to get an “A” for every paper your child sits for, then you can stop reading right now, this article is not for you. However, if you intend to use good grades to secure a good future for your child, then read on.

You see, good exam grades may not necessarily guarantee you a good future. Yes, it gets you through the door of a good school and eventually a good university. However, there will come a time when an “A” or a high-grade point average is just not enough.

This is because more and more students are being trained on WHAT to answer to get good exam grades. However, most of them are not trained in HOW to do so. On one hand, being trained on WHAT to answer can merely be a regurgitation of facts. However, knowing HOW to do so will teach the child not just facts but the ability to be persistent and self-directed.

This can be achieved by teaching the child how to analyze their weaknesses and strengths in completing a particular paper. Conventionally, whenever a child does not do well in the exam, they are given the right answer. However, this often creates a reliance on the child to the teacher, making them unable to think for themselves, let alone being aware of why they made the mistake in the first place.

Good Students and Independent Thinkers

Image result for good students

Image source

I believe that future employers will be looking for those who are not just great academically but those who are critical, creative and independent of thought. In order for them to do so, they should be taught how to be persistent. This means never giving up no matter how tough things get. I remember seeing some college students with extremely good exam grades in school giving up on a course when things got a bit too tough.

In addition, a good student should be someone who takes the initiative academically and in their work. In order to do so, they should not merely be trained on how to answer all the right answers but know how to analyze why they fail or how to do better. This is a skill that can only be learned through failing.

In order for that to be achieved, failing should be encouraged. Not necessarily just in exams, but in the students’ tasks, homework, and activities. Through this, the students will hopefully learn how to evaluate their own work better. This would eventually lead to students taking more ownership over their learning and future. As seen in this article here.

Conclusion

Preparing a child to do well is not an easy task and should not be measured merely by good exam grades. As such, we have to prepare and equip the children with more than just the ability to score well but the ability to persist and be independent in their studies and in the future, their work.

How To Overcome Procrastination at University

It has been three long months since I have last posted. I would like to think that the reason is the constant battle that I face in my postgraduate studies. However, over time, I have come to realize that it is my procrastination that has led me to stop doing, well, everything. It wasn’t long before I notice that a lot of things in my life have been put on hold. I found myself having to catch up with all the things that I have ignored for quite a while. It wasn’t long before I have found myself in a cycle of procrastination.

 

My Definition of Procrastination

So let me first define what procrastination in my case really is. I know some people just ignore their work until the very last minute because of the misguided perception that time is on their side. They are those who procrastinate because they are occupied with other things that demand their attention. This can include family or other demands placed on them. However, I started procrastinating after being overwhelmed.

At some point in my study, I started losing a lot of support from some who were assigned to guide me. On top of that, the constant failures did not help as well. I know that it was all part of my journey of learning. But, I was required to finish my studies at a predetermined time as I was on scholarship. Thus, without the necessary support and time constraints placed on me, I started procrastinating.

Image result for procrastination

Image source

What are the Signs?

The signs were subtle at first. There was the occasional voice in my head demanding that I start watching the latest anime or start cleaning my entire house. These were manageable initially, but as the failures pile up, so did the time I procrastinate. If this sounds familiar to you, I think constant failures lead to a sense of fear. This fear eventually hinders one from pursuing their goals or attending to their responsibilities.

It was this fear that made me feel a sense of dread when I look through my work. It was this fear that made doing anything else preferable as long as it was not my work. Heck, I even learned how to bake. Doing that just seem more fulfilling despite my work being more important.

Fight the Small Battles

I was stuck in this cycle of procrastination that bordered on depression. I was displaying similar signs of depression that some friends of mine used to display. So how did I got out of it?

I started doing just small portions of my work. I understood that if I completed small portions of my work slowly, eventually, I could start tackling the larger tasks. As time went by, something happened in how I saw my situation. I started being more willing to complete my work instead of procrastinating.

I suppose with enough small wins, I started feeling less defeated and got my fire back. If this resonates with you, I think that we should consider that when we procrastinate, it could be that it is our self-esteem that has taken a hit. To address that, perhaps you just need the occasional small win to give you that boost to tackle the larger tasks.

Image result for procrastination

Image source

Take the leap With the Bigger Battles

As you address the small battles, there will come a time when you have to address the bigger battles. This could be a chapter in that book that you are dreading to finish, or in my case, the completion of my entire thesis. For me, there is always going to be that large final battle, that final boss that you have to address eventually. The question is, on what terms are you going to face those large battles?

I would argue that you would be more prepared to take on the larger battles or challenges once you are more confident. Such confidence can be like the fuel that you need to push you forward to completing your tasks. If the victories from those small battles do not appeal to you, perhaps consider this, you have no control over the bigger battles that you face. So perhaps you should just take the leap, or as my coach used to say, “embrace the suck”.

Embracing the suck can be unpleasant but it is through taking that first step that you start to realize that perhaps your challenge is not as difficult as you think. Sometimes, the fear of failing diminishes gradually once you start taking that leap. I remember bungee jumping off the Auckland Harbour bridge. The funny thing about that experience was that bungee jumping off the bridge was fun and exciting, but the journey towards the place where I jump off was much scarier. The point is, the journey leading up to a battle can be much scarier than actually participating in the battle itself.

Image result for take the leap

Image source

Conclusion

I hope that you have gotten something from my experience with procrastination. I think there are many articles out there that speak about hacks or methods that can help you be more productive. However, I think that at times, there is that slight possibility that it is not what you use to tackle procrastination, but why you are procrastinating.

Once you have a better view of why you are procrastinating, be it an emotional, physical or some other need, you would be better equipped to tackle your little problem with procrastination.