Struggling with wanting to do more with your life? Get a new day job.
Every day, I send a few people these short documents called “daily updates” that include my tasks for the day, a habit tracker, things I’m grateful for, and a short reflection 📄
The intention behind this is to have other people hold me accountable for what I need to do each day, which provides an external sense of motivation to get my stuff done, because other people are holding me accountable for them.
At the end of the day, I usually look at other people’s updates and find that many people (including myself) have the same reply when I ask them whether they got stuff done that day.
Many people reply, “I got stuff done, but it was mainly just school tasks. I didn’t really have much time to work on things that I genuinely wanted to do.”
This is my reply 9/10 of the times as well. I found that although I timeblocked my time in Google Calendar so that I would complete more than just school tasks, I ended up getting lazy and demotivated that those tasks took me longer than they should have.
This all changed one day, and by that I mean yesterday 😉
I wanna’ start off with saying that if you’re not reading Paul Graham’s essays, you’re missing out.
Unlike a lot of content in our world today, his points are clear and straight to the point, without any fluff.
I’ve also realized that he’s pretty good at taking insights that you probably could’ve came up with on your own if you spent a bit more time pondering the topic, and puts them into few words to make you go, “That makes so much sense. Why didn’t I think of that first?”
Moral of the story, read Paul Graham’s essays.
The one I’ll be talking about is linked here.
I always find it interesting to see what type of kid/person successful CEOs and founders were before they got successful. It’s interesting to see whether they thought differently, intellectually more capable, or were just an ordinary human being.
It’s funny because most of them were just, you guessed it, ordinary people.
Meaning they were just ordinary kids in school.
I also find it interesting to learn about how they wished they thought about things or what they wanted when they were in my place.
It kinda’ gives me a heads up to be like, “Oh, I should probably try thinking of it like this,” which could perhaps speed up my growth.
Today we’re gonna go through 2 main ideas that made me say that ⬆
1. Think of high-school like your day job.
Being a high-school student shouldn’t define you.
Just because you’re in high-school doesn’t mean that you can only so high-school-y things. It doesn’t mean that your time should revolve around school, extracurriculars, and friends.
Your time is all yours. You can decide how you use it. No one is telling you that you need to spend exactly 9 hours of school a day and 3 hours volunteering at the animal shelter.
It’s upto you to decide.
You can go about it one of two ways:
a) You do well in school. You do a lot of extracurriculars, whether it’s raising funds for an initiative, taking piano lessons, and play on your school band. You also hang out with your friends a lot and think you’re pretty good at balancing your time because you’re staying on top of school while also having time to spend time with friends.
This is the case of (I would say) a pretty average high school student.
They’re pretty much just doing what’s expected of a high-school student, while also maybe going a bit higher than the expectation by raising funds for that initiative. Nothing cool.
b) You’re in school from 8:30–4pm and you stay focused on school. You do your homework within that time and have a strict rule for yourself that you’re only doing school work during that time. You do well.
Essentially, high-school is like your day-job. During the hours of operation you work on your job, and then leave the “work” stuff at “work” and go home to do other things.
The “other things” are tasks that excite you. Things you look forward to sitting down and working on. For some of you Mozarts it may be composing music and creating tracks whereas for others it might be coding cool projects.
In short, you’re doing things that have some sort of function or purpose in the future, even if that purpose is that it simply provides you with some sense of fulfillment.
Until now, I’d say I was a mix of both the first and the second one. Some days I’d find myself uber-focused on school during “school hours” and then work on things I actually wanted to do, and then other days I’d do my school work slowly that a two-hour assignment dragged on for 2 days.
I think implementing this will be a lot easier for a lot of us now because most of us are fully online right now. I think it’ll also help with the feeling you may have had where you felt you were doing more school work now that you aren’t in-person for all 5 days.
2. Indulging in external pleasures
I found that putting what I think on this idea into words initially sounded a bit ignorant in some senses, but I can’t think of a nicer (or more appropriate) way to put it. So, if you feel this section is a bit harsh, I apologize in advance, but this is a brain-dump so #unfilterednessisacceptable 😎
I love hanging out with friends. I gain energy from talking with them and they make me laugh. I always have fun with them and it gives my brain a rest in some ways.
That being said, I found myself in Grade 9 and 10 wanting to spend a lot of time with them. Whenever they went out and asked me to go, I’d always want to, and I usually would. I wouldn’t say it was an excessive amount, but I probably spent the average amount of time that an ordinary high-school student did, with them.
I don’t regret it, but looking back, there were definitely some times where I’d be like, “I spent all of yesterday after-school with them. I kinda’ just wanna’ chill at home tonight.”
Or it would be more like, “I’m not really feeling party vibes tonight. I should probably get some school work done instead so that I can relax a bit more on the weekend instead.”
It got to a point where I was indulging a lot in external pleasures, such as hanging out with my friends, that overtime, I didn’t really “look forward” or get “excited” to see them.
PG talks about how it’s kinda’ like indulging in chocolate cake 🍫. If you eat it every day, you don’t enjoy it as much. It’s the same thing with hanging out with friends.
That being said, I definitely think that you need to do whatever you need to do to get your spirits up. If you’re struggling with something and you need to spend time with your friends is something that keeps your mental health in check, go for it, but just be mindful of it 😉
Alright. It feels good to get my thoughts out there on (virtual) paper.
I’m thinking of starting a blog where I post reflections/thoughts like these, as well as other content that I feel is valuable enough to share with other people. Would you be interested in reading stuff like that? If yes, shoot me a message.
As always, follow me on Medium if you enjoyed this read!
Feel free to connect with me on LinkedIn too.
Stay safe ✌🏽
P.S. I might add more content to this later. These are still ideas that are percolating in my head :)