Why “To-Do” Lists Don’t Work, and How to Change That

How often do you feel overwhelmed and disorganized in life, whether at work or home? We all seem to struggle with time management in some area of our life; one of the most common phrases besides "I love you" is "I don't have time". Everyone suggests working from a to do list to start getting your life more organized, but why do these lists also have a negative connotation to them?

Let's say you have a strong desire to turn this situation around with all your good intentions—you may then take out a piece of paper and pen to start tackling this intangible mess with a "to-do" list. What usually happens, is that you either get so overwhelmed seeing everything on your list, which leaves you feeling worse than you did before, or you make the list but are completely stuck on how to execute it effectively.

"To-do" lists can work for you, but if you are not using them effectively, they can actually leave you feeling more disillusioned and stressed than you did before. Think of a filing system: the concept is good, but if you merely file papers away with no structure or system, the filing system will have an adverse effect. The same with "to-do" lists—you can put one together, but if you don't do it right, it is a fruitless exercise.

Most people find that general to do lists don't work because:
- They get so overwhelmed just by looking at all the things they need to do
- They don't know how to prioritize the items on list
- They feel that they are continuously adding to their list but not reducing it
- There's a sense of confusion seeing home tasks mixed with work tasks, etc

A Step-by-Step Process to Teach Yourself Anything (in a Fraction of the Time)

The following article is from Scott H Young. I have been following his website for a few years now and this is my favorite article.

Have you ever wanted to learn something, but weren't sure where to start? Maybe you want to learn a language, programming or business. Maybe you want the confidence to tackle supposedly "hard" subjects like math, finance or physics. Today I'm going to show you how.

Scott used this in MIT
I'm going to describe the process I've used to condense a lot of learning into a short period of time. This is the same process I used to learn MIT's 4-year computer science curriculum in twelve months, teach myself languages, business and intellectual subjects like physics and psychology.
This article is going to be a bit longer (~3500 words), so you may want to bookmark it for later.
I'm going to focus on the strategy for learning, meaning how you choose to break down a nebulous goal like "learn to speak French" or "understand personal finance" into something concrete and actionable. As much as possible, I'll try to provide links to specific low-level tactics I use, such as the Feynman technique, visual mnemonics or active recall as well.
This strategy is just one possibility. If you've found success with another, by all means, go ahead! I only want to share the method I've been honing for years across a variety of different subjects.

The Steps in 2-Minutes
If you're short on reading time, I'll summarize the steps for you:
  1. Take your learning goal, and craft it into a compelling, obsession-worthy mission.
  2. Find material to learn from, structure it into a flexible curriculum.
  3. Define feedback mechanisms to constantly direct your future learning efforts and ensure high-intensity, active recall.
  4. Test and enforce a schedule that is sustainable over the entire lifetime of the project.
  5. Develop a long-term retention strategy (formal or informal).

How to Overcome Disappointment

Feeling Disappointed

Disappointment is an experience of feeling let down and somewhat defeated. You held high expectations that something would work out your way, but unfortunately things didn't turn out as expected. You are now holding onto an unsatisfactory outcome and finding it difficult to deal with your unfulfilled promises and expectations.
Feeling disappointed in the short-term can actually be quite advantageous. However, wallowing in disappointment can keep you feeling stuck, can lead to doubt, despair, depression, despondency and discouragement in the long-term. This is especially true when you've experienced a series of disappointments over a short period of time. These disappointments are weighing heavily on your shoulders. As a result you get overrun by negative thoughts and other emotions. In fact, you might even catch yourself saying:
  • I'm just not good enough…
  • Nothing ever works out…
  • This always happens to me…
It's very easy to get caught up in this cycle and continuously get down on yourself. However, this is never helpful, and will keep you from seeing disappointment for what it really is: A powerful emotion that will help you clarify your personal expectations and pave the way forward towards the attainment of your goals.

Overcoming Disappointment

Feeling disappointed is beneficial in many different ways. In fact, it's just like any other painful emotion you experience. All emotions are simply guiding posts that alert you to what is happening in your external environment, while helping you make appropriate adjustments and decisions to improve your situation.
It's not difficult to turn a little disappointment in your favor to help improve your circumstances. Here is a five step process you can use to do exactly that:

Step One

Your first step is to acknowledge your personal feelings about the situation and circumstances. If you're disappointed, then admit it openly and honestly. Hiding your disappointment will just prevent you from moving forward. Ask yourself:

33 Ways To Be Happier

Humans have remarkable control over their own happiness. In her book, "The How of Happiness: A New Approach to Getting the Life You Want," psychology professor Sonja Lyubomirsky says a person's happiness is 50% due to genetics, 10% due to circumstances, and the remaining 40% is "within our power to change." Happiness is different for each person, which is why we've compiled dozens of different methods to help you find your inner sunshine.

Draw pictures of unhealthy food.

Studies have shown that eating high-calorie comfort foods can make your happier. The downside is this will also make you fat. As an alternative, a study published in the Journal of Behavioral and Brain Science in May 2013 found that simply drawing pictures of foods high in fat, like cupcakes or pizza, and foods that taste sweet, like strawberries, can also boost your mood. The positive reactions were independent of subjects' weight and hunger level.
"These results extend a growing body of biobehavioral research on the positive impact of food images on mood by showing that this impact can be applied to enhance mood when expressing food images through art," the researchers concluded.

Be both an optimist and a realist.

People who have the positive attitude of optimists paired with the rational outlook of realists tend to be more successful and happy, according to psychology researcher Sophia Chou.
That's because so-called "realistic optimists" have the perfect blend of personality types to succeed. Unlike idealists, they are willing to face challenging situations with a clear view of reality, but will use creativity and a positive outlook to try to work their way out of the problem.

Get your hands dirty.

Breathing in the smell of dirt may lift your spirits, according to a study which found that a bacteria commonly found in soil produces effects similar to antidepressant drugs.
The harmless bacteria, Mycobacterium vaccae, stimulated the release of serotonin in the brain after it was injected into mice. Having low levels of serotonin is what causes depression in people.
In a human test, cancer patients reported increases in their quality of life when they were treated with the bacteria.
"The findings "leave us wondering if we shouldn't all be spending more time playing in the dirt," lead author Chris Lowry of the University of Bristol in England said in a statement.

Read More at Business Insider>>

How to Be a Silent Witness to Your Thoughts

By Yumi Sakugawa(She has many more amazing comics and illustrations,  make sure to have a look!)

Also be sure to check out her lovely book:I Think I Am In Friend-Love With You.

Leonardo DiCaprio: Why is he driven ?

I felt like the underdog because I didn't have nice enough clothes or maybe my hair didn't look good. And so you have to understand — getting your foot in the door is like winning the lottery. It's literally like winning the lottery if you get to have a career. And I've always felt Okay, now I've gotten this shot, and I'm lucky to have gotten this shot, and if I don't do this to the best of my ability — if I don't work my ass off and make a life of it — I've squandered this incredibly golden opportunity. And that's always been what has propelled me." - Leonardo Di Caprio

Born in Hollywood on November11th 1974, Leonardo was an only child whose parents divorced when he was a baby. His mother signed her young son up with a talent agent and, aged five, Leonardo made his debut on a popular children’s television show before being removed for being too disruptive!

Born Leonardo Wilhelm DiCaprio on November 11, 1974 in Los Angeles, California, he is known as an actor famous during the 21st century. His first name, Leonardo, was attributed to him by his mother as a result of the 'kick' he gave her at the time she was standing in front of Leonardo Da Vinci painting at a museum in Italy. He is the son of an Italian-American comic books distributor, George DiCaprio and a German former legal secretary, Irmalin Idenbirkin who both got divorced at Leo first year age. Since his parents divorce, Leo spent his time in Echo Park, a particularly dirty and poor, drug-dominated area of Los Angeles where he and his stepbrother named Adam Farrar were raised by his mother and stepfather. 

In-depth: What is Procrastination and How to Overcome it !

Procrastination is not typically a function of laziness, apathy or work ethic as it is often regarded to be. It’s a neurotic self-defense behavior that develops to protect a person’s sense of self-worth.

But in real life, you can’t avoid doing things. We have to earn a living, do our taxes, have difficult conversations sometimes. Human life requires confronting uncertainty and risk, so pressure mounts. Procrastination gives a person a temporary hit of relief from this pressure of “having to do” things, which is a self-rewarding behavior. So it continues and becomes the normal way to respond to these pressures.

If you fail to believe you will procrastinate or become idealistic about how awesome you are at working hard and managing your time you never develop a strategy for outmaneuvering your own weakness.

Procrastination is an impulse; it’s buying candy at the checkout. Procrastination is also hyperbolic discounting, taking the sure thing in the present over the caliginous prospect some day far away.

You must be adept at thinking about thinking to defeat yourself at procrastination. You must realize there is the you who sits there now reading this, and there is a you sometime in the future who will be influenced by a different set of ideas and desires, a you in a different setting where an alternate palette of brain functions will be available for painting reality.

The now you may see the costs and rewards at stake when it comes time to choose studying for the test instead of going to the club, eating the salad instead of the cupcake, writing the article instead of playing the video game.

The trick is to accept the now you will not be the person facing those choices, it will be the future you – a person who can’t be trusted. Future-you will give in, and then you’ll go back to being now-you and feel weak and ashamed. Now-you must trick future-you into doing what is right for both parties.

This is why food plans like Nutrisystem work for many people. Now-you commits to spending a lot of money on a giant box of food which future-you will have to deal with. People who get this concept use programs like Freedom, which disables Internet access on a computer for up to eight hours, a tool allowing now-you to make it impossible for future-you to sabotage your work.

Capable psychonauts who think about thinking, about states of mind, about set and setting, can get things done not because they have more will power, more drive, but because they know productivity is a game of cat and mouse versus a childish primal human predilection for pleasure and novelty which can never be excised from the soul. Your effort is better spent outsmarting yourself than making empty promises through plugging dates into a calendar or setting deadlines for push ups.


By Yumi Sakugawa.
(She has many more amazing comics and illustrations,  make sure to have a look!)

Also be sure to check out her lovely book:I Think I Am In Friend-Love With You.

22 Steps to Mental Toughness

Achieving a goal isn’t always easy. Research shows that only eight percent of people are actually successful in achieving their goals. Maybe you want to be healthier. Or have more confidence. Or, maybe you want to be in a better relationships.

So how can you be a part of that 8 percent? The answer, in short, is mental toughness.

What is Mental Toughness?
Mental toughness is a term that describes a frame of mind in which people stop at nothing to achieve their goals. It’s a no excuse, results-driven, winner-takes-all mindset. And my research has shown that people with strong mental toughness skills are more successful than those without them. Luckily, there are ways you can sharpen your mental toughness tools and make great things happen.

1. It’s Not Winning but Wanting To Win That Matters

2. Don’t Expect it to Be Easy

3. Don’t Focus on How to Do It. Instead, Focus on Why Should I Do It?
Picture your friends and family being proud of your achievements and willing you to succeed. Try to bring the scene to life by using colours, sounds and situations with a high emotional attachment.

4. Get Super Detailed
Don't just say, "I want to lose weight ." Get really specific. Instead, say, "My goal is to lose 20 pounds in the next two months. I'm going to commit to being at the gym every morning at 7am and eat healthy and nutritious meals ."

5. Lose the Negative Thinking, Develop positive Self-Talk. Develop a confidence mantra. 
Repeat it to yourself daily. Whether you believe it or not initially is irrelevant. With repetition you can trick your mind. ‘I can do this. I am strong, healthy and fit.’ During the race repeat: ‘Calm. Confident. Strong. In Control.’ When negativity strikes as you get tired or something starts to hurt, repeat the mantra and distract the mind. Remember this saying: ‘Whether you think you can or think you cannot, you’re probably right.’
The most important goals you set for yourself aren't easy, and the difficulty involved usually leads to a party of negativity in your self-talk . Begin monitoring everything you say to yourself and others.

6. Vision Boards Will Keep You Motivated

7. Where is Your Accountability?
Go after your goals with a partner who really makes you push yourself. Even better, find someone who has already accomplished what you are setting out after and have them coach you.

8. Put it in Writing
Write a letter and describe your life to a friend as if you haven't seen them in a while. Detail the way you would want things to be in five years. Some people prefer one year, others like three years. It's whatever motivates you the most. Read the letter every day and it will help keep you on track.

9. Forget About What Other People Think
Stop caring about what other people think of your goals. Psychologists call it "approval addiction" and once you overcome it to any significant degree, you are free of the psychological chains that bind most people from ever experiencing world-class success. In other words, live your life for you; not for somebody else.

10. It's About Discipline Over Pleasure
It is a logic-based decision that performers adhere to, regardless of whether they feel like it or not.
Discipline will push you past pain and punishment. The average person sees discipline as a painful chore to be avoided at all costs. The world class sees it as the ultimate power tool for performance.

The 25 Tools Every Entrepreneur Should Know About

Most entrepreneurs have a lot of responsibilities on their plate from day one of operation. Everything from hiring employees, managing teams, marketing the brand and dealing with finances can fall under a founder's responsibilities. Juggling so many tasks can be daunting and lead to a lot of stress. If you're an entrepreneur and you want to become more efficient, productive and successful, take a look at the list of tools below.

1. Buffer

Buffer is a great platform and app to find and schedule content on all social media platforms. You can also view analytics, shorten links, create schedules and reshare messages that have already been shared before. This makes building up your brand and company on social media extremely easy.

2. Asana 

Asana is a free project-management tool that allows teams to communicate without email, in one central location. Because many entrepreneurs work with virtual teams, this is a great tool to stay in touch.

3. Google Drive 

Most people already know about this tool, but Chromebooks and ability to convert and edit Microsoft Office documents make Google Drive (and accompanying Docs and Sheets) a great way to collaborate and share documents with your clients, freelancers or employees.

4. SoundGecko 

Translate online content -- like news and blog posts -- into an audio file. This allows you to "read" any content that can help you with your business -- including articles on productivity, sales and branding -- on the go.

5. AngelList

If you are seeking funding for you business, AngelList is a great social network that can help you seek funding and make connections with those in your community.

6. Fiverr 

If you need a logo, social-media cover photo, podcast intro, website content and more, be sure to check out Fiverr. Sure, the gigs start at $5 but that doesn't mean they are sub par. Look at reviews and actual Fiverr gig samples before deciding on a contractor.

7. Elance

 If you need a freelancer for a long-term project or something more extensive, try Elance, a platform that allows you to post projects and find freelancers that have what you are looking for.

8. Wix

Original websites are always a good thing, but if that is lacking in your budgets, Wix is a pretty and simple website builder that has modern templates that almost anyone can edit.

9. ShareDesk or DeskTime 

If you need an office or just a place to work for the day, try ShareDesk or DeskTime to find a co-working office or open desk that allows you to have office space without paying for an entire office.

10. Google Now

If you are an Android user, connect your Google account to your phone and take advantage of Google Now, which can tell you when to leave for appointments that are on your calendar, whether or not your flight is delayed or even new articles from websites you frequent often. This "virtual personal assistant of sorts" can help you stay organized and on track, even if you have a lot of balls in the air, as most entrepreneurs do.