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30 Ways to Make August Simply Successful

30 Ways to Make August Simply Successful
Sandals

The month of August is often like the last fifteen minutes of a good TV show- you know that it’s about to end but just hate to see it go. Please know that if you were to take action on all 30 of the following suggestions, the last thing your life would be is simplified. The key is to pair back, do less and live more. Pick two or three, do them well and see what happens.

  1. Wear sandals. They’re cheaper than regular shoes and you can save on not buying new socks. Whenever bear feet are present, relaxation follows.
  2. Clean out your wardrobe. Do you really need 14 pocket books? Are 5 pairs of dress shoes really necessary? Cleaning out old clothes is good for your closet and even better for your spiritual well-being.
  3. Throw something away. Few things clear the mind like tossing something into the trash. Go with your gut and do what feels right.
  4. De-Spam with pleasure. Nothing says “ah” like getting a spammer off your back. Report them, block them and clear your in-box of those that would make daily life a living hell.
  5. Walk it. If you can add some free exercise into your lifestyle, why not walk it? Choose a farther parking space, go for a stroll at lunch or just add a brisk 10 minute walk to your after-dinner ritual.
  6. Trade it in. Many people don’t know that you can trade in your old cell phone contract, not to mention your phone. You can also swap a car, clothing and old appliances. If it’s been bugging you, act on it today. A good resource is www.freecycle.org for donating a lightly-used product.
  7. Upgrade your gear. Rather than be “that guy” who is always upgrading without actually learning the finer points of a PDA, GPS or software package, be a connoisseur of fine gadgetry and upgrade when you are ready. The right tool at the right time can make all the difference.
  8. Visit the doctor. Why not start the new year with a check up? It feels great to hear someone tell you that you’re healthy and fit.
  9. Put on your boots. When was the last time that you took a long, half or full day hike in the woods? August is the perfect time to get out there and have nature take your breath away.
  10. Play with dirt. Dig something up, plant something new and get dirty. Whether it’s power washing something dirty or digging a ditch for better irrigation, there’s a magical element to getting dirty and then getting clean afterwards. Take all that your yard has to offer and get dirty.
  11. Donate lavishly. Why not end summer with a final charitable gift? You could write a fat check or better yet, you could donate a generous amount of your time or expertise. Be on the lookout for someone who needs a hand.
  12. Do a good deed and don’t look for credit. Whether it’s as small as leaving some change in the Dunkin Donuts tip-cup or mowing part of your neighbor’s lawn, good deeds build character and social currency.
  13. Plan out your year. If you could accomplish two or three things by March of next year, what would you do, starting in September, that would get you there? Is there a habit that you could perfect or a tendency that you can overcome?
  14. Go for a new look. If you’ve always wanted a perm or buzz cut but have been afraid to go for it, use August as your last window of opportunity. For guys, the only difference between a good haircut and a bad one is about three days.
  15. Take a long weekend. Instead of a high-priced trip to someplace expensive, go for a long weekend to the beach or at a B&B. Sometimes a short weekend trip is as beneficial as the extended stay somewhere more expensive.
  16. Take the “By Christmas” test. Take some time, when you can get alone and think. Then write down a short list of items that you’d like to accomplish by Christmas. There may be someone in your family that you want to reconnect with or an objective at work that you’d like to meet.
  17. Take out the trash. This is especially important for those in high-delegation positions. I learned years ago that a leader or executive who is comfortable taking out the trash is probably humble enough to be an effective leader. Don’t’ do it for others to see you- do it to build humility and character.
  18. Kill your subscriptions. What newsletters, magazines, papers can you eliminate this month? Since so much is available online, do you really need a hard copy of each of those subscriptions?
  19. Weed out your RSS reader. If you are currently subscribed to 30 or more blogs and are having a hard time keeping up, pair it back to less than ten. It’s ok- give yourself permission to do it today.
  20. Pray for five minutes every day. Nothing says priority like a person in prayer. Take the time to cultivate this important habit each day.
  21. Write an old-fashioned letter. With so much junk mail, a real letter stands out above the crowd. Who will you reconnect with this month?
  22. Retool your first and last hour of the day. These all-important hours set the tone and bring closure to the other 22 hours. Use them well and appreciate the difference it makes in your day.
  23. Clear your conscience. Is there something on your mind that you know needs attention? Often conscience is that internal GPS, telling us to avoid the bad stuff and cling to the good.
  24. Clean your air. Having air ducts cleaned out is a great way to ensure that your family’s air quality is up to par. You may be surprised at how much dust builds up over time in your house’s duct-work.
  25. Get GLOCAL. If you’ve ever wanted to do something for someone around the world but didn’t know how, adopt the “glocal” mindset: do something locally for someone globally. You might enlist one or two friends to put together a care package for a soldier in the Middle East or write letters to victims of a natural disaster.
  26. Organize your planner. Clear out the excess papers and receipts and streamline for the Fall months.
  27. Do some list hygiene. If you have duplicate email and snail mail addresses in your GMAIL or YAHOO organizers, spend five minutes a day clearing out the junk.
  28. Share your lists. Know someone who can benefit from one of your contacts? Go ahead and drop them a line with the person’s name or email, discussing how they might want to connect with one another.
  29. Hone your habits. Which one habit, if done well and every day, could really benefit your life in a dramatic way?
  30. Read LifeHack every day. Sorry, I just couldn’t resist!

Mike St. Pierre is the creator of The Daily Saint, a productivity blog focusing on work-life balance. www.thedailysaint.com

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Last Updated on March 31, 2020

Is Procrastination Bad? The Truth About Procrastination Revealed

Is Procrastination Bad? The Truth About Procrastination Revealed

Procrastination is very literally the opposite of productivity. To produce something is to pull it forward, while to procrastinate is to push it forward — to tomorrow, to next week, or ultimately to never.

Procrastination fills us with shame — we curse ourselves for our laziness, our inability to focus on the task at hand, our tendency to be easily led into easier and more immediate gratifications. And with good reason: for the most part, time spent procrastinating is time spent not doing things that are, in some way or other, important to us.

There is a positive side to procrastination, but it’s important not to confuse procrastination at its best with everyday garden-variety procrastination.

Sometimes — sometimes! — procrastination gives us the time we need to sort through a thorny issue or to generate ideas. In those rare instances, we should embrace procrastination — even as we push it away the rest of the time.

Why We Procrastinate After All?

We procrastinate for a number of reasons, some better than others. One reason we procrastinate is that, while we know what we want to do, we need time to let the ideas “ferment” before we are ready to sit down and put them into action.

Some might call this “creative faffing”; I call it, following copywriter Ray Del Savio’s lead, “concepting”.[1]

Whatever you choose to call it, it’s the time spent dreaming up what you want to say or do, weighing ideas in your mind, following false leads and tearing off on mental wild goose chases, and generally thinking things through.

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To the outside observer, concepting looks like… well, like nothing much at all. Maybe you’re leaning back in your chair, feet up, staring at the wall or ceiling, or laying in bed apparently dozing, or looking out over the skyline or feeding pigeons in the park or fiddling with the Japanese vinyl toys that stand watch over your desk.

If ideas are the lifeblood of your work, you have to make time for concepting, and you have to overcome the sensation— often overpowering in our work-obsessed culture — that faffing, however creative, is not work.

Is Procrastination Bad?

Yes it is.

Don’t fool yourself into thinking that you’re “concepting” when in fact you’re just not sure what you’re supposed to be doing.

Spending an hour staring at the wall while thinking up the perfect tagline for a marketing campaign is creative faffing; staring at the wall for an hour because you don’t know how to come up with a tagline, or don’t know the product you’re marketing well enough to come up with one, is just wasting time.

Lack of definition is perhaps the biggest friend of your procrastination demons. When we’re not sure what to do — whether because we haven’t planned thoroughly enough, we haven’t specified the scope of what we hope to accomplish in the immediate present, or we lack important information, skills, or resources to get the job done.

It’s easy to get distracted or to trick ourselves into spinning our wheels doing nothing. It takes our mind off the uncomfortable sensation of failing to make progress on something important.

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The answer to this is in planning and scheduling. Rather than giving yourself an unspecified length of time to perform an unspecified task (“Let’s see, I guess I’ll work on that spreadsheet for a while”) give yourself a limited amount of time to work on a clearly defined task (“Now I’ll enter the figures from last months sales report into the spreadsheet for an hour”).

Giving yourself a deadline, even an artificial one, helps build a sense of urgency and also offers the promise of time to “screw around” later, once more important things are done.

For larger projects, planning plays a huge role in whether or not you’ll spend too much time procrastinating to reach the end reasonably quickly.

A good plan not only lists the steps you have to take to reach the end, but takes into account the resources, knowledge and inputs from other people you’re going to need to perform those steps.

Instead of futzing around doing nothing because you don’t have last month’s sales report, getting the report should be a step in the project.

Otherwise, you’ll spend time cooling your heels, justifying your lack of action as necessary: you aren’t wasting time because you want to, but because you have to.

How Bad Procrastination Can Be

Our mind can often trick us into procrastinating, often to the point that we don’t realize we’re procrastinating at all.

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After all, we have lots and lots of things to do; if we’re working on something, aren’t we being productive – even if the one big thing we need to work on doesn’t get done?

One way this plays out is that we scan our to-do list, skipping over the big challenging projects in favor of the short, easy projects. At the end of the day, we feel very productive: we’ve crossed twelve things off our list!

That big project we didn’t work on gets put onto the next day’s list, and when the same thing happens, it gets moved forward again. And again.

Big tasks often present us with the problem above – we aren’t sure what to do exactly, so we look for other ways to occupy ourselves.

In many cases too, big tasks aren’t really tasks at all; they’re aggregates of many smaller tasks. If something’s sitting on your list for a long time, each day getting skipped over in favor of more immediately doable tasks, it’s probably not very well thought out.

You’re actively resisting it because you don’t really know what it is. Try to break it down into a set of small tasks, something more like the tasks you are doing in place of the one big task you aren’t doing.

More consequences of procrastination can be found in this article: 8 Dreadful Effects of Procrastination That Can Destroy Your Life

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Procrastination, a Technical Failure

Procrastination is, more often than not, a sign of a technical failure, not a moral failure.

It’s not because we’re bad people that we procrastinate. Most times, procrastination serves as a symptom of something more fundamentally wrong with the tasks we’ve set ourselves.

It’s important to keep an eye on our procrastinating tendencies, to ask ourselves whenever we notice ourselves pushing things forward what it is about the task we’ve set ourselves that simply isn’t working for us.

Learn more about how to fix your procrastination problem here: What Is Procrastination and How to Stop It (The Complete Guide)

Featured photo credit: chuttersnap via unsplash.com

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