How do I get over my bad habit of procrastinating?

Answer by Suresh Rathinam:

I was a very bad Procrastinator for a very long time, until I really understood the basics of why I procrastinate.

In order to understand why you procrastinate, first you should have a strong desire to eliminate procrastination in your life and following the methods mentioned below will be helpful.

I. Track down your everyday activity

When I first started writing down the list of activities that I do everyday, it felt like a waste of time. But later while analyzing the one month data I clearly understood why I don't have enough time to do the necessary activities and it narrowed down to the bad habits that i had created over time.

I was spending most of my time in Facebook and was affected by the "Chain-clicking curse" where watching a video from Facebook will lead to YouTube in-turn to Twitter to see the trend and it goes on and on into loads of unnecessary browsing wasting your precious time

II. Understanding why we procrastinate

We procrastinate because of the habits that we create over time. When we work some random thought strikes our mind, it might be as simple as,
where to go for the next vacation?

and I go to online to check details of it.  It doesn't stop there, then to Facebook to see where my friends went and something else catches up my eyes and the clicks goes endlessly.

III. How we create Habits

I have been following this routine every day which let me do overtime to complete my work and had no time for the essential things in life. All of these made sense to me when I read the Power of habit by Charles Duhigg.

Understanding the basic of habit was big help to me. I starts with a cue/Signal in my case it was the random thought and my routine was to search about it and reward that I get is leaving a stressful work for that moment/satisfaction by answering my random thought which sucks my time endlessly leaving only a very short period of time to do the necessary.

Now the trick it to replace the bad routine with a good routine which will lead to greater productivity in life, which could be understood by looking at how runners reward themselves

Here the cue is the Running shoe and it lets you to the routine of running which was created over time, running leads to the reward which is sense of accomplishment on completing a run also satisfying the Endorphin craving that you get by looking at the running shoe

IV. How I cured myself by changing my routine

1. Keeping myself distraction free

a. Turn off internet: Most of my work doesn't need internet so turned off my WiFi whenever i work

b. Note pad: Whenever some random thoughts strike rather than searching it online I started recording them down in a small note and researched about them later

c. Setting Time limits: Started setting a duration to complete my work which helped me to focus more on my work, Even had set time on socializing with my colleagues spending not more than 5 minutes on unnecessary talks

2. Sustaining the habits

a. Tracking your activities: Its quite tough for me to write every activity now and then, so I spent half an hour every day before sleeping to write down the activities of the whole day splitting into hourly activities and do a quick analysis on where to improve next day. It looks something like this:

9:00 – 10:00 : Forecast Meeting
10:00 – 11:00 : Project#1 – Prepared the procedure
b. Prioritizing activities for tomorrow: This summary helps me in prioritizing the activities that i should be concentrating more tomorrow and I write down top 3 things that should be completed tomorrow

c. Monthly and Quarterly Review: then I started analyzing my monthly and quarterly data's to continuously improve my productivity

The methods mentioned above worked perfectly for me and I started finding more time to do the necessary things in life. Hope it will be useful for you as well, Let me know if it was helpful. ūüôā

How do I get over my bad habit of procrastinating?

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Paul Burton’s 12 Tips to Make Email More Effective

Overall Objective

  • Reduce and improve time spent using email.
    • Reduce receiver-centric behaviors ‚ÄĒ Reduce the number of replies needed so you really do reduce email.
      • Weed out losers before reading:
        1. Delete!
        2. Mark as spam!
        3. Unsubscribe!
        4. Preview everything else.
    • To improve use and reduce volume of email, focus on “sender-centric” behaviors rather than “receiver-centric”.
Example of an Effective Email Communication

Example of an Effective Email Communication

Improve Your Mechanics

Figure out a better how!

  1. Please stop hiding behind email as the universal communication tool. ¬†Ask, “is this the best way to communicate this message?” ¬†It is good for sending static information (vs. discussion), not good for conversations.
  2. Love reply, Loathe Reply all – if all really need to hear your reply – ok, but 95% of the time reply to just those who need to hear.
  3. Avoid the collective “Thank You” strings – Bad habit and insincere.¬† Be sincere and write a separate email to express genuine thanks.¬† Better – call or go down the hall.¬† Avoid thank-you-fests.
  4. Be Jekyll & Hyde – shift from global “inbox” (overwhelming)¬† to multiple inboxes for each major part of your life to reduce the “Variable intermittent feedback loops” – constant (addictive) checking of email.¬† Create some separation of function so you can focus on 1) work, 2) family, 3) outside interests without all competing all the tie.¬†¬† Don‚Äôt forward other email addresses to a single one. Check each – use smartphone. Have multiple inboxes for each major role in your life so you can better parse your time – focus on one thing at a¬† time.¬† Keeps work separate from family and outside interests. Better for work and for you.
  5. The 10 Second Rule – Change the 2 minute rule from David Allen “Getting Things Done” – i.e.,¬† if less than 2 min – Just do it now.¬† Shift to make that the 10-second rule –¬†TIP¬† – If you have to think, move on.
  6. The Buck Stops Here – “Do I have a follow up system that allows us not to lose something?” If not , find one and use it.

Improve Your Messaging

Take responsibility for completing the communication. ¬†Own the message until it’s actually received.

  1. Mind the Subject line ‚ÄĒ Make the most of every subject line.¬† Make it headline.¬† Use abbreviations (EOM, Reply Needed,¬† FYI,¬† NRN (no reply necessary) at the beginning of the Subject, and math symbols to quickly communicate (+, =, -) People read only 1st 2 paragraphs of any email.
    1. Change the subject line when the thread changes.
    2. If forwarding for FYI, point where to look in the message in a lead sentence.
    3. Own communications.
  2. Give Good signature block – add phone, email, website link, social media links, branding, etc. to every signature block.
  3. Follow the rules of the road.
    1. Always be professional.  They can all get forwarded.
    2. Use correct grammar and spelling Рthey indicate who you are Рtake the time.
    3. Attend to Pace, Clarity, Completeness Рto enhance understandability РPace Рrate at which info is digestible, Clarity  Рbe concise and cogent, Complete Рaddress all points, leaving nothing unanswered.
    4. No Yelling – avoid ALL CAPS, always.
    5. Brevity is beautiful.
      1. 25 words per sentence limit.
      2. Eliminate intensifiers – “really, very, clearly”.
      3. Consider swapping the word after “of” with the word before “of” –
    6. Read, Pause, Send Рsteps before sending any email.  Is this correct and professional?
  4. Deliver the goods first – Give the summary first = Use Bursts – give shortest amount of information to get to yes. People don’t read past he 2nd paragraph.
    1. Use an outline or memo style with conclusion, observation, request for action  first
    2. Use lists and bullets.
    3. Use short crisp sentences.
    4. Supporting information follows.
  5. Be Responsailicious –¬† reference prior email when replying.
    1. Answer all question.
    2. Categorize/Separate subjects with headings.
    3. Add an update to the subject line re your input – “revised”.
    4. If the subject doesn’t fit, start a new thread.
  6. Write a Screenplay¬† –¬† distinguish background from dialogue –¬†¬† Guide people through the messages.¬† Topics, Start with names for specific tasks. State a directive .
    1. Start with information for all readers, and then follow by calling out people by name
    2. Use directives  to ID action required Рinclude their name and new paragraph or bullet.

Bonus Thoughts

  • Email is forever – don’t forget it.
  • Pause when upset.¬† Don’t send an angry email.
  • Everyone uses it every day.
  • Activity is reading and receiving emails.
  • Productivity is the tool better through attention to 1) mechanics and 2) messaging .
  • Email is not a “conversation” tool.¬† When we treat it as one we lose time.

Paul Burton is a practicing attorney in Washington State. He is an expert in the areas of  business communication and time management.  These are some notes my dad took at a one-hour seminar with him.

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Film Production Master Class in 3 Minutes

In Fall 2013, I took a 4-hour, graduate-level class for 16 weeks at BYU in order to learn what this video demonstrates¬†in 3 minutes…

Moral of the story: Don’t go to college if you have the internet.


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I’m an Expert

Developers make things so complicated! “We don’t want to hear what is or isn’t possible; Just make it happen!”¬†(This is the best project-planning meeting satire, ever.)

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The Science of Orienting Response: What Is It About Media That Engages Learners?

Dog TVWhat is it about media that captivates people? ¬†How should I be using more media (or less media) in my instruction? ¬†At what times? ¬†For what purposes? ¬†Here’s some amazing research I bumped into this week that answers those very questions. ¬†The science behind learner engagement, regarding media use, goes all the way back to a Pavlovian concept called, “orienting response.”

Grabbing Your Attention
What is it about TV that has such a hold on us? In part, the attraction seems to spring from our biological “orienting response.” First described by Ivan Pavlov in 1927, the orienting response is our instinctive visual or auditory reaction to any sudden or novel stimulus. It is part of our evolutionary heritage, a built-in sensitivity to movement and potential predatory threats. Typical orienting reactions include dilation of the blood vessels to the brain, slowing of the heart, and constriction of blood vessels to major muscle groups. Alpha waves are blocked for a few seconds before returning to their baseline level, which is determined by the general level of mental arousal. The brain focuses its attention on gathering more information while the rest of the body quiets.

In 1986 Byron Reeves of Stanford University, Esther Thorson of the University of Missouri and their colleagues began to study whether the simple formal features of television–cuts, edits, zooms, pans, sudden noises–activate¬†the orienting response, thereby keeping attention on the screen. By watching how brain waves were affected by¬†formal features, the researchers concluded that these stylistic tricks can indeed trigger involuntary responses and¬†“derive their attentional value through the evolutionary significance of detecting movement…. It is the form, not the¬†content, of television that is unique.”

The orienting response may partly explain common viewer remarks such as: “If a television is on, I just can’t keep my eyes off it,” “I don’t want to watch as much as I do, but I can’t help it,” and “I feel hypnotized when I watch television.” In the years since Reeves and Thorson published their pioneering work, researchers have delved deeper. Annie Lang’s research team at Indiana University has shown that heart rate decreases for four to six seconds after an orienting stimulus. In ads, action sequences and music¬†videos, formal features frequently come at a rate of one per second, thus activating the orienting response continuously.

Lang and her colleagues have also investigated whether formal features affect people’s memory of what they have seen. In one of their studies, participants watched a program and then filled out a score sheet. Increasing the frequency of edits–defined here as a change from one camera angle to another in the same visual scene–improved memory recognition, presumably because it focused attention on the screen. Increasing the frequency of cuts–changes to a new visual scene–had a similar effect but only up to a point. If the number of cuts exceeded 10 in two minutes, recognition dropped off sharply.
Producers of educational television for children have found that formal features can help learning. But increasing
the rate of cuts and edits eventually overloads the brain. Music videos and commercials that use rapid intercutting
of unrelated scenes are designed to hold attention more than they are to convey information. People may
remember the name of the product or band, but the details of the ad itself float in one ear and out the other. The
orienting response is overworked. Viewers still attend to the screen, but they feel tired and worn out, with little
compensating psychological reward. Our ESM findings show much the same thing.

Sometimes the memory of the product is very subtle. Many ads today are deliberately oblique: they have an
engaging story line, but it is hard to tell what they are trying to sell. Afterward you may not remember the product
consciously. Yet advertisers believe that if they have gotten your attention, when you later go to the store you will
feel better or more comfortable with a given product because you have a vague recollection of having heard of it.
The natural attraction to television’s sound and light starts very early in life. Dafna Lemish of Tel Aviv University
has described babies at six to eight weeks attending to television. We have observed slightly older infants who,
when lying on their backs on the floor, crane their necks around 180 degrees to catch what light through yonder
window breaks. This inclination suggests how deeply rooted the orienting response is.

Lessons for educators:

  • Learners will zone out regularly through a lecture. ¬†It is important to plan for this by preparing to activate their orienting responses.
  • Media grabs attention. ¬†But it’s not video clips, or film media in general, that captures learners’ attention–it’s “formal features.”
  • “Formal features” in media (cuts, edits, zooms, pans, sudden noises) are what activate orienting response.
  • Alternatives to film-based formal features to gain attention include: a hand clap, a special mouth noise, disappearing/reappearing, showing a picture for only a second, throwing something, etc. ¬†(It’s a good idea to throw some of these into your lesson plan to counteract anticipated lulls.)
  • Messages aren’t retained when you¬†overwork the learner’s orienting response by showing more than 10 formal features/second. ¬†(e.g. some ads, action sequences, and music videos.) ¬†If you just want to capture attention (said no educator ever), go nuts with formal features.

Tips on how to film an engaging interview:

  • Bring two cameras. ¬†Increasing the frequency of edits–defined here as a change from one camera angle to another in the same visual scene–improved memory recognition, presumably because it focused end users’ attention on the screen.
  • In pre-production, remember to include multiple scenes¬†in your storyboard (even if they are just text graphics/animations). ¬†Increasing the frequency of cuts–changes to a new visual scene–had a similar effect to increasing the frequency of edits, but only up to a point. (I wonder if reusing scenes makes a difference.)
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Earn My “Photoshop CS6 Literacy” Badge!


This new badge* will be accessible at non-BYU sponsored webpage. The direct link is not live yet; I still need to get my rubric reviewed and uploaded to the site. But it will soon be found on this site by navigating from the homepage to “Become a Technologist” > “Personal Technology Cluster” > “Photoshop Image Editing”. To earn the badge and add it to your Mozilla Backpack, all you have to do is submit a project (via the website) that meets the criteria on the badge rubric.

  • Here is a link to the badge rubric, which includes skills that I can teach.
  • Here is a link to my on-going “Advanced Photoshop Skills” google doc, which I plan to continually updates as I learn new skills myself.

*The badge is a virtual badge available through Mozilla Backpack (badge design still pending); not the merit badge shown here.

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Howard Gardener Speaks Out: Multiple Intelligences ‚Ȇ Learning Styles

In a recent Washington Post Op-Ed, Howard Gardner discusses his thoughts on the misinterpretation of MI Theory.  Here are some highlights from the article.

What is ‘Multiple Intelligences’ (MI) theory:

Howard-Gardner“I developed the idea that each of us has a number of relatively independent mental faculties, which can be termed our ‚Äúmultiple intelligences.‚ÄĚ The basic idea is simplicity itself. A belief in a single intelligence assumes that we have¬†one¬†central, all-purpose computer‚ÄĒand it determines how well we perform in¬†every¬†sector of life. In contrast, a belief in multiple intelligences assumes that we have a number of relatively autonomous computers‚ÄĒone that computes linguistic information, another spatial information, another musical information, another information about other people, and so on. I estimate that human beings have 7 to 10 distinct intelligences (see¬†”

Gardner’s criticisms for why ‘Learning Styles’ doesn’t* hold water:

  1. The very notion of ‘Learning Styles’ [that is, catering instruction to a learner’s‚ÄĒor many learners’‚ÄĒpreferred intelligences] is not coherent…these labels [‚Äėan impulsive style‚Äô or ‚Äėa visual learner‚Äô]¬†may be unhelpful, at best, and ill-conceived at worst. [Just because someone is physically intelligent by nature, it doesn’t mean that every assessment they take should be a psychomotor assessment (e.g. perform a dance to demonstrate your understanding of composition of a chemical compound). ¬†Educators are trying to prepare students for life, not to have them be laughed to scorn. Teaching methods should match learning objectives.]

  2. When researchers have tried to identify learning styles, teach consistently with those styles, and examine outcomes, there is not persuasive evidence that the learning style analysis produces more effective outcomes than a ‚Äúone size fits all approach.‚ÄĚ

What are Gardner’s recommendations for teachers?

As an educator, I draw three primary lessons for educators:

1. ¬† ¬† ¬†¬†Individualize¬†your teaching as much as possible. Instead of ‚Äúone size fits all,‚ÄĚ learn as much as you can about each student, and teach each person in ways that they find comfortable and learn effectively. Of course this is easier to accomplish with smaller classes. But ‚Äėapps‚Äô make it possible to individualize for everyone.

2.        Pluralize your teaching. Teach important materials in several ways, not just one (e.g. through stories, works of art, diagrams, role play). In this way you can reach students who learn in different ways. Also, by presenting materials in various ways, you convey what it means to understand something well. If you can only teach in one way, your own understanding is likely to be thin.

3. ¬† ¬† ¬†¬†Drop the term ‚Äústyles.‚ÄĚ It will confuse others and it won‚Äôt help either you or your students.

Additional MI Resources:

MI Oasis (Official Authoritative Site of Multiple IntelligenceS) –

Dr. Gardener’s Personal Website

Wikipedia: Multiple Intelligences

Practical examples of Multiple Intelligences

Take a MI test!

MI from a Psychology perspective

Journal of Psychological Science (2008), features more¬†articles debunking ‘Learning Styles’ (2009). Howard Gardner’s multiple intelligences.

Thirteen ed online (2004). Tapping into multiple intelligences.

Armstrong, T. (2010). Multiple intelligences.

Howard Gardner’s book, Multiple intelligences.¬†(2010)

Edutopia video and transcript of Dr. Gardener’s central message (1997)

*While the majority of the academic community has concluded that ‘Learning Styles’ is bologna, Gardner respectfully concedes that just because we haven’t yet verified something empirically, it doesn’t mean that it must be false. #Psychology #Falsification

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Infographic Workshop (Using Adobe Illustrator)

This How-To-Make-an-Infographic¬†workshop, developed by my fellow BYU instructor, Anneke Garcia. ¬†It is designed to be a crash course in Adobe Illustrator¬ģ. Our undergraduate students have the option to create their own infographics as one of their major¬†assignments for the “Technology for Secondary Ed Teachers” course we teach. ¬†I’ve shared the content here with her permission.¬†(Note: Researching information and choosing your infographic content¬†is outside of the scope of this exercise.)

Example Infographic

Here’s an example of an info graphic created to adhere to the rubric you’ll be using – of course look, content, design, etc., is all up to you – this is just to show you how a few things can be handled.

The graphic as a PDF: Infographic.pdf

And so you can poke around and see how things are put together, the original AI file:


The full rubric for the assignment can be found here:

Rubric for Illustrator Badge.docx


Here is a brief list of the technical requirements specified by the rubric. Along with each requirement is a tutorial or list of helpful points:

Layout and Guides

Your document can be created in any size but should use guides to define margins and any other layout features you are working with. Here is a quick tutorial on creating guides and locking background items (forgive my coughing fit at the end!)

Outlined Text / Using the Pen Tool / Grouped Objects

The rubric requires you to create outlines of your text, at least in the headline, and also to create some lines and/or objects with the pen tool. It also requires you to place some objects in a group. The following tutorial will help you with that.

Color Swatches / Gradients

You will be asked to work with a collection of color swatches and to have every color you use represented by a swatch. You will also need to use both linear and radial gradients. This tutorial will help you with those tasks:

Align / Distribute Objects

These tutorials will help you align and distribute objects and introduce the transform palette as well:

3-D Effects

This tutorial will show 2 ways you can create the effect of 3-D objects:

Column Graph Tool (Creating other types of graphs as well)

This tutorial will take you step-by-step through creating a graph, and includes some advanced options for those of you who want to go a little farther:

Clipping Masks

The following will show you how to clip objects that are overlapping the edge of the page:

Bonus: Image Trace

Sometimes you may want to take an existing pixel-based (raster-based) image and turn it into a vector graphic (re-sizable outline-based graphic) using Illustrator. While it’s not a necessary part of this project, you can watch a tutorial on it here:

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HUGE Addition to Khan Academy: Adaptive Technology

One of the biggest complaints about The Khan Academy is that learners don’t know which lessons to select. ¬†There are too many choices. ¬†In response, Sal Khan has adopted adaptive learning technologies to solve this pain. ¬†First, a pre-test tool identifies a learner’s current position on a comprehensive knowledge map. ¬†Second, the new learning flow gives users agency to go where they want, but offers personalized suggestions of where they ought to go next to build upon their current level of knowledge.

What Updates are Included in Sal’s New Learning Flow?

  • The new learning flow offers adaptive pre-testing places users at a starting lesson. ¬†(So far, Math is the only knowledge map with adaptive learning capabilities.)
  • Once you have completed a module, the new learning flow will recommend the next lesson you should learn based on the learner’s previous responses.
  • The new learning flow offers automated coaching‚ÄĒmid-problem‚ÄĒfor learners who are stuck.
  • There are a bevy of tools for “coaches” who are assisting/supporting learners as they go. ¬†e.g. tracking and feedback tools, among others.
  • The new learning flow utilizes Mastery Challenges¬†to fill out the learner’s knowledge map with darker shades of blue. ¬†Each square represents ¬†a concept in that domain. ¬†The successful completion of one mastery challenge could darken multiple concepts.

Sal released this HUGE update less than 40 days ago.  He wants your feedback.  How would you improve upon this model?

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158 Tips on mLearning: From Planning to Implementation

In 2012, the big question was ‚ÄúShould¬†we do mLearning?‚ÄĚ ¬†In 2013, the question has become ‚ÄúHow¬†should we do mLearning?‚ÄĚ ¬†From the one who brought us 61 Tips on mLearning: Making Learning Mobile¬†almost a year ago,¬†Karen Fornio, a Contributing Editor for the eLearning Guild, has done it again. ¬†She has collected the findings of¬†23 experts in the field of developing and implementing mobile learning and compiled them into ebook filled with 158 mLearning¬†tips, in areas including:

  • ebook mlearning tips coverSelling mLearning to stakeholders
  • Managing mLearning projects
  • Analyzing learners‚Äô mLearning needs and preferences
  • Designing for mobile
  • Selecting and using mLearning tools and platforms
  • Working with mLearning media
  • Migrating and managing mLearning content
  • Using mobile for performance support
  • Delivering mLearning
  • Measuring mLearning success
  • Prospering in a multi-device world

Download from eLearning Guild Website (info request)
Direct Download Link of PDF (from my site)

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