It is with a wry smile that I remember the number of times that I have avoided an important task by reading blog posts and articles explaining how to avoid procrastinating. While it may not have been the most appropriate use of my time, sometimes these searches have dug up some useful websites and methods to counter a tendency to procrastinate. Wait But Why is one such website and Your Life in Weeks the post I am going to talk about today.
The panic of a looming deadline can be a strong motivator when procrastination has set in. That is a relief for the things in life that come with a due-date such as coursework and exams, but it isn’t perfect. Firstly, the panic never sets in until the last possible moment, so the quality of the finished work is never of the best quality. Secondly, the most important things in life don’t come with a built-in deadline: calling family and friends, making long term business/life decisions, exercising, etc.
Sometimes we need a reminder that time is passing whether we use it wisely or not. That is where something like the 90 Year Calendar in Weeks can be useful. Starting with the week of your birth it shows each week of your life as a block for a lifetime of 90 years: 52 columns, 90 rows. Each row starts on your birth-week.
Used wisely, the calendar can lend some focus to the stages in our lives and what we want to achieve in the long term. Of course, it is a very unforgiving way of looking at a lifespan. Even with a generous span of 90 years I am roughly halfway through. I look on the calendar in the same way as a budget. For years I didn’t budget properly. When I tried to stick to a budget I would give up within the first month or two after overspending and feeling like I had failed. It was only much later in life that I changed my approach and accepted that whether I budgeted or not I would have the same amount of money to play with, but by tracking my overspend and adjusting my targets I would have a better idea of what was possible. The 90 year calendar is similar – time passes regardless, but keeping track of it can bring in to focus my priorities and help with planning my next steps.
Wait But Why sell large posters of the calendar, but an A4 spreadsheet can be useful for sketching out events and plans. I have created a macro script for OpenOffice/LibreOffice that I use to give an overview of where I am and what I have done. You are welcome to use and change it.