The past few days have been terrible; I have been experiencing the quarter life crisis that seems to have crippled many people of our generation. Approaching the mid-20’s and suddenly you find yourself questioning what you have done so far in you life and trying to figure where to go to next, but somehow everything is unclear and it’s a terrible spiral downwards.
Everyday I would tell myself that today would be different, today would be the day that I would seize it and run with it and be the conqueror of life itself!
This did not happen.
To be honest, some days I didn’t even make it out of bed. I switched off my phones, ignored messages and hoped somehow that everything would just fade away. It was a constant internal battle between wanting to succeed and being too afraid to fail. I found that the perfect position to survive was to create a nest in my bed, where I practically lived for three continuous days, eating, sleeping and streaming videos (I have since caught up on Arrow, Once upon a Time and even snippets of Keeping up with the Kardashians!).
Disclaimer: I watched the Kardashians for him! He was the only sane one!
Yesterday evening it was as if a switch went off in my head and I just couldn’t stand this state any longer. I yelled, “fuck this shite!” out loud to my room, changed into my running gear and went out for a sprinting session and by the end of it, I could no longer breathe and my sides were in stitches but my mind was clear.
I came back to my room, and cleared my table of all knick-knacks and updated my ‘Top 3 goals & mantra’ charts.
Then I decided to put what I had learned from “The power of Habit” by Charles Duhigg to practice; habits are formed when a trigger (cue) causes you to act (routine) in a certain way because you expect a certain result (reward).
This book is brilliant! A must read if you want to change your life.
I knew that in order for me to achieve my goals, I would need some sort of monitor to ensure that I was on track, that I was up to date on doing the things that needed to get done. The book states that once habits are formed, it is very difficult to change the cue or reward, but you can rewire the routine that you do.
I have always had the habit of forming lists to keep track of the things that I have to do for the day. I decided that this is the habit that I would work on to improve myself so that I can achieve my goals.
I have tried using various list making applications online but Asana has become a clear favourite!
Remember the milk
The last time I used this was a year ago, and I stopped using this application after about 2 days. While it was easy enough to start a list, I never felt the inclination to come back and check it off once I had completed a task. They have just released an app for iphones and it can sync with Google calendars! New functions they didn’t have when I tried it last time.
As any list maker knows, the actual satisfaction comes when you are able to tick away or cross off any completed task.
I have been using Evernote for the past few years now. I was able to get an account with Evernote when I was on exchange to Silicon Valley two years ago. I had mainly used it to clip notes and articles for reading.
But everything changed when I discovered how to make lists within the system. For simple project planning and daily activities, this was good enough. But I needed something that I can use for both personal task management and team coordination and it was here the basic list keeping of Evernote couldn’t support my needs.
I had started on some group projects a while ago and I had asked a few friends who were also list makers for recommendations, and Asana was mentioned quite often. I have been using it for the past few weeks and so far it has been my favorite tool to keep my lists. Its easy enough to create tasks, and sub-tasks, and you can create projects that can be easily shared with teams. You can even choose to share specific tasks with selected people from within your team. Its simple to use and I have been regularly using it too.
How I am using these tools to shape up my life:
The goal is to become more productive so that I can finish tasks on time to ensure that each day I am step closer to achieving my dreams. I am already in the habit of making lists to keep track of my work. What I do now is to create my main project outline and then have a weekly breakdown of each project followed by sub-tasks that I have spread out to each day. Then I review what tasks I have for the next day before I sleep so that when I wake up I know what has to be done for that day as well as the next.
I shall be writing follow-up articles that will chart my journey in increasing my productivity. I hope to find other tools that can make us better individuals. The beauty of having a quarter life crisis is that you can take it as a chance to turn it into an opportunity instead.
A make it or break it moment indeed!