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  • Hey, what is going on, guys?

  • So, we are right at the tail end of December right now.

  • And what I wanted to do for the last video of 2017

  • on my channel is give you guys 10 ideas

  • for starting out 2018 more productively.

  • And, you know what, I don't think

  • we really need a whole lot more preamble than that,

  • so let's get started.

  • Tip number one, if you have not done this already,

  • try using a habit tracking app in 2018.

  • And, there are a ton of these out there.

  • My personal favorite is called Habitica

  • because it basically turns habit tracking

  • into an RPG-like video game where you get stat boosts

  • and weapons and gear and go on quests.

  • And, you can even partner up with people

  • who will keep you accountable.

  • But, there are also a bunch of decidedly less nerdy options

  • out there including Momentum and Today

  • which are both on iOS

  • and Loop, which is an Adroid exclusive.

  • I find that using a habit tracker is really useful for me

  • because the act of marking down when I actually do a habit

  • creates a streak.

  • And, when I look back on that streak,

  • I don't want to break it.

  • As Peter Drucker once may have said,

  • "What gets measured gets managed."

  • Tip number two, and this one is really, really simple,

  • try experimenting with pre-planned blocks

  • of uninterrupted single focus time on your calendar.

  • Now, we've talked a lot on this channel

  • about the power of focusing on one task

  • for a long, uninterrupted period of time,

  • but a lot of times it's really easy to convince yourself

  • that more urgent, but easier tasks or less important tasks

  • should be done right now.

  • So, if you start your week, or at least your day,

  • with a plan that I'm gonna, say, do my homework

  • from two to six pm, and do nothing else,

  • then you're more likely to do it,

  • and you're more likely to focus only on that task,

  • which is difficult.

  • All right, tip number three is to start

  • an accomplishment journal.

  • This is exactly what it sounds like.

  • You're keeping a simple record of everything

  • that you've done, either on a daily basis

  • or maybe on a weekly or longer basis

  • depending on how much effort you wanna put into it.

  • But, I find this practice to be really useful

  • because as you get older and as you get

  • into more of a schedule whether it be with school or work,

  • the days can start to blend together,

  • everything becomes a routine.

  • And, when this starts to happen, you can start to feel

  • like you haven't really accomplished anything in a while

  • because your brain has sort of filed it away.

  • And, that could demotivate you.

  • But, if you have an accomplishment journal to look back on,

  • you can see that, yes, you actually have accomplished

  • a good deal.

  • Now, My Impossible List that's over on my website,

  • College Info Geek, is a form of an accomplishment journal.

  • I basically mark off any time I achieve something

  • really big that I set out to do.

  • But, my suggestion here is actually

  • that you try doing an accomplishment journal

  • on a daily basis.

  • Essentially, as you finish tasks during the day,

  • write them down in a note on Evernote

  • or your note-taking app of choice

  • or on just a scrap of paper and then at the end of the day,

  • or possibly at the end of the week, review them

  • and see what you did.

  • And this can actually have benefits beyond just looking

  • at the checked-off items on your do-to list.

  • Because as you probably know pretty well,

  • a lot of times, tasks come up in the middle of the day

  • and interrupt you and things

  • that you didn't anticipate just happen.

  • So, by keeping a record of all these things,

  • you're gonna have more accurate picture

  • of what you were actually able to accomplish.

  • And, when you're going through your review sessions,

  • that more accurate picture is gonna enable you

  • to make better and more intelligent changes

  • to the way that you work.

  • Okay, so you probably saw this fourth tip coming,

  • but in 2018, you should make a lot more time

  • for sitting on the couch, eating Doritos,

  • drinking Mountain Dew and playing Halo.

  • (chuckles) Just kidding.

  • You should make a lot more time for exercise.

  • And, yes, this is a pretty cliche tip,

  • but a lot of people don't prioritize exercise

  • especially when they're ambitious.

  • Their work takes up all their hours

  • and they just don't make it a priority.

  • Now, it's also true that when a new year rolls around,

  • a lot of people get it into their heads

  • that they are finally going to exercise

  • consistently this year.

  • And, maybe you're thinking that.

  • My one recommendation here echoes

  • what I talked about last week.

  • Start small, restrict your time scale,

  • and don't bite off more than you can chew.

  • Because when you start the new year,

  • you have a lot of motivation and you might not have

  • a whole lot on your plate, so it's really easy

  • to stick with a goal.

  • But, later on down the line, when stuff starts to get

  • into your way, your schedule starts to get a bit more busy,

  • that's when your self-discipline is truly tested.

  • So, if you set a goal that stretches your capabilities

  • and challenges you a bit, but it's still doable

  • within your schedule, even at its most challenging points,

  • you're going to stick with it.

  • One additional thing that I'll mention here

  • is that if you wanna exercise more regularly,

  • it can be very helpful to sign up for a class

  • at your school or your rec center.

  • And, this could be a class that teaches you

  • a new sport you haven't tried before,

  • which can be really fun and which I did with ice skating,

  • or it can just be a workout class.

  • In either case, signing up for a class gives you,

  • one, a community of people who are doing the same thing

  • as you, which is a lot of fun, but, two, an obligation

  • that doesn't exist just in your head.

  • You're not relying only on your self-discipline.

  • You now have other people who are expecting you to be there.

  • Tip number five is something that you can take advantage of

  • while you're on winter break or you're not otherwise

  • overloaded with tons of classes and homework.

  • Take some time to redesign your living space,

  • or your room, to take advantage of the 20-second rule.

  • If you haven't seen it already, I did an entire video

  • a while back on the 20-second rule.

  • And, I'll have that linked in the description down below.

  • But, essentially, the 20-second rule

  • is all about increasing the difficulty

  • and the time that it takes to get into the things

  • that you don't wanna do so often, the bad habits,

  • and reducing the time and the friction that it takes

  • to do the things that you want to do more often.

  • So, if right now you play way too many video games,

  • maybe put your game controllers in a drawer somewhere

  • or maybe even take the cord out of your PlayStation

  • and put it in a closet.

  • That way, it's kind of a pain in the butt to set it up.

  • And, on the other hand, if you wanna read more often

  • or maybe practice an instrument, buy an instrument stand.

  • Put your guitar right where you can pick it up

  • and play it within five seconds.

  • Or put your book right on the table so you can walk in

  • from class, grab it, and start reading for a bit.

  • Anything you can do to reduce the friction between you

  • and a good habit is gonna reduce the willpower required

  • to remain consistent in doing it.

  • And, the same is true of avoiding bad habits.

  • Tip number six is to start looking for regular parts

  • of your work process that you could either automate

  • or make more efficient.

  • For example, I recently both of my credit cards

  • to autopay so every month I no longer have to log in

  • and pay them manually.

  • And, another thing that I've been doing on a regular basis

  • is that when I start noticing that I have to go to a folder

  • on my computer really, really often,

  • I will pin it to my quick access toolbar

  • so that way I can easily click it

  • instead of having to navigate through the entire tree.

  • Now, one word of warning here.

  • Not everything that you do is a candidate for automation

  • or even more efficiency.

  • And, actually there's a really good comment

  • over on xkcd called Is It Worth The Time

  • that essentially breaks down the threshold

  • at which you should actually start thinking

  • about spending time automating something

  • rather than just doing it.

  • Though, I'm gonna be honest,

  • sometimes I just like to automate things for fun.

  • And, if you find that fun, then do that.

  • Tip number eight is to go and disable all the notifications

  • and badges on your phone, or at least most of them.

  • In the past, I'd always unconsciously let apps

  • have notifications turned on

  • and they'd have badges turned on

  • and eventually my home screen would turn into this mess

  • of badges and little red numbers

  • up in the corners and distractions.

  • And, I really don't wanna be giving that much attention

  • to my phone.

  • It should be working for me, not sucking up

  • all of my time.

  • So, at one point during this year,

  • I went into my phone settings and I disabled

  • basically every notification, every little sound

  • and every little badge on the home screen that I could

  • other than the ones that were completely essential.

  • And, speaking of things that are essential,

  • or rather, non-essential, tip number nine

  • is to take the apps off of your phone that you don't need

  • or otherwise block access to them.

  • For example, my friend Martin actually

  • went into his ad blocker settings on his iPhone

  • and disabled basically every single site in the world

  • except for language translation sites.

  • And, doing this eventually changed

  • his brain's automatic response whenever he got the urge

  • to look something up.

  • Rather than getting distracted on Safari

  • and probably clicking a bunch of links

  • he never meant to click in the first place,

  • he just made a voice reminder of it.

  • And, then later on when he was at his computer,

  • if it was still important enough, and it often wasn't,

  • he could look it up.

  • For a less drastic example, I've often had email apps

  • taken off my phone, I've often had social media apps

  • taken off my phone.

  • In fact, there are certain apps that I only have on my phone

  • when I'm traveling.

  • Essentially, I don't wanna have access to those apps

  • on my phone, because access to them while I'm trying to work

  • represents a mental burden.

  • Tip number nine, again, because I realize

  • I accidentally skipped eight is to identify

  • the time at which you regularly consume media online

  • and replace it with reading.

  • I think it's pretty safe to say that most of you

  • are like me and you have certain times of the day

  • where you just automatically to Reddit

  • or you go to Facebook or you go to Twitter.

  • And, these times are probably not all that valudable.

  • Valudable (chuckles).

  • And, you also probably don't read as much as you'd like to.

  • So, by consciously identifying these times

  • and then maybe scheduling some reading time

  • during the exact same times, you'll start to avoid

  • this unconscious social media consumption.

  • And, finally, tip number 10, when you're setting your goals

  • for 2018, or whenever you set goals,

  • make sure that you prioritize them and understand