You can hardly swing a cat these days without hitting 10 self-proclaimed "gurus". Actually, scratch that - I like cats. You can hardly swing a guru these days without hitting 10 other gurus. If you're here looking for a new guru, then don't bother unpacking.
I don't have the secret.
If there's a secret to life, the universe, and everything, I don't know it. I'm also not going to follow that up with some kind of mysterious platitude, like "The secret is within all of you." If it is, congratulations – I hope that's not uncomfortable.
There is real wisdom in the world – I'm not denying it. Most of the time, though, if someone claims to have "the secret" (and especially if they'll give you that secret for just $49.95), run away as fast as you can. Spend that money on a sounder long-term investment, like sandwiches.
I've learned a thing or two.
So, if I'm not a guru, why should you listen to me at all? Maybe you shouldn't – I'll let you decide that. For the record, I'm a Ph.D. in Cognitive Psychology, so I've learned a thing or two about how that brain of yours works. I've helped build one successful startup and now make a pretty good living working for myself.
Truth be told, I procrastinate something awful, but I've learned how to get things done when it really counts. I managed to launch this site while working from home with a new baby. It's way too early to declare myself an expert at being a dad, but so far everyone still has 10 fingers and toes.
This is a self-help site.
I mean that in the nicest way. I don't want you to go spend 500 bucks in the self-help section of the bookstore – I want you to actually help yourself. You probably already know how. There's something you know would make your life better, but doing it is, well, hard. So, you go back to the drawing board, looking for some guru, book or iPhone app that will magically make that hard thing easy. I do it every day – I'm not here to claim moral superiority.
This is an experiment.
Productivity is a skill, and it takes practice. 30GO30 is a personal experiment in finding out just how much can happen in 30 days. This blog isn't about me lecturing to you – I hope it's about us learning something together. It starts with a simple idea – what if you spend 30 minutes a day for 30 days really working on something you've been putting off? No gurus, no secrets – just honest commitment.
LOL! Pete, your writing style is hilarious. You've really got the gift. So that would make you a humorous writing guru!
Seriously, great post.
@gnc Thanks :) I've decided to let this blog be a bit more personal and have a little fun with it. I'll try to find a way to balance funny with useful.
Love the idea, Pete. Procrastination is a shapeshifting beast that knows all your favorite temptations. Like a glass of bourbon before lunchtime.
The emotions behind it vary, but it often comes down to the fear of failure. That leads to such a circular, idiotic resulting behavior where we don't do the thing at all for fear that we'll fail at doing the thing.
I'm intrigued to hear more from you on this topic - put that Ph.D. to work!
@Mike - Sometimes, I honestly wonder if we're more afraid of failure or of just doing the work. I find that if I can "cram" for something - just pound away for 4+ hours and get it done, I do ok. It's the long-term commitments, a bit each day for weeks or months, that really make me start avoiding like a champ.
Pete, good to see this project come to fruition.
I like the baby-steps idea of 30 minutes a day for 30 days. Reminds me a lot of the Pomodoro Technique
which works wonders :)
Subscribing to your feed -- and wishing you all the best!
Thanks, Ruud. I'll check that out - it's a new one to me. One thing I'll cover in the next couple of posts is that I'm definitely not claiming total originality here. I'm just hoping to refine a process and see what works for people. With any luck, I'll learn more than I teach.
27 Oct – Tim
So where were you when I was putting off my Calculus homework in college. NOW you come up with this stuff?? Just kidding - I like it Pete! Fortunately for me I've been putting off sleeping...
Actually we have a basement full of s... that has not been unpacked yet, even though we've lived in the house for over 2 years. I think it's time to apply this concept.
@Tim - If I recall, I was sitting in the hammock eating microwave popcorn while ALSO not studying for Calculus :) If people are just going to pop up with all the stories about how I've goofed off over the years, no one's going to think I'm a guru.
Dr Pete, this is a brilliant idea, written in a very non-guru way, by real people for real people.
And by random chance, right before I found your site I decided that carving out at least 30 minutes a day would be the perfect way to jump-start my next project, a silly webcomic... it'll be ongoing, so I won't participate in a 30go30, but I will keep checking out this blog for more great entries!
Thanks, Billy. Your comic reminded me of Bi-Polar Bear, from The Tick (I miss that show):
"This looks like a job for Bi-Polar Bear... but I just cant seem to get out of bed."
I was not familiar with this before, and I'm loving it!
Hi Dr Pete... I am just trying this method. I didn't find my way to object orientated programming in classes - knew the functionality, but was too busy to learn how to work with it. Fighting my weaker's self 30 minutes a day is starting to bring me closer to this way of coding. Day 10 now - and will let you know the end.
@Elizabeth - That's great to hear. I'm a bit of a coder myself, and I think just picking a project and going for it is a great way to learn. OOP takes some time to wrap your brain around, especially if you learned programming old-school :)
Definitely let us know how it goes. One of things I'm most looking forward to on this blog is hearing other people's success stories.