Solutions to Life’s Dumb Problems (Part 2)
How do I Set Goals, Think About the World or Improve my Mental Circumstance?
First, take a look at Stoicism - yes, I mean the ancient Greek/Roman school of philosophy. Unless you are explicitly educated about it, chances are what you think you know about it is wrong. It offers a suite of practical and pragmatic ways for maintaining a productive, optimistic, and healthy state of mind. I see it as the Western tradition’s answer to Zen.
I also find there is incredible profundity and value in the Tao Te Ching and the writing of Nietzsche (worth the price of admission for the mustache alone), however these works do not offer the guidebook approach that Stoicism does.
I Seem to Flail Around and Procrastinate - How do I Get Things Done?
Timeboxing offers a bevvy of non-obvious benefits for personal projects. First it tends to feel surprisingly liberating, rather than constraining. You are no longer comparing what you have to do with some Platonic Ideal, but with the best you can get done in the next 25 minutes. This more realistic expectation will make you naturally prioritize, and cause you to aim for the highest-value sub-tasks. Additionally, if you make timeboxing a habit you hone your estimation skills as a side-effect.
A good way to get started with the Pomodoro technique & timeboxing in general is to try it out on some straightforward chores. Have a room you need to clean that you’ve been putting off? A car to wash? A letter to write? Set the timer and get crackin’. You’ll look forward to the well earned break and probably make a lot more headway than you expect you will in such a short amount of time.