It was 9:30 pm and I was watching a blank cursor flicked off and on in my writing application.
I had committed to writing a weekly newsletter, and it was due at 6 the next morning. I had to finish the content, design, and get it scheduled before I could go to bed.
I haven’t procrastinated this bad since college.
I spent all week trying to find the inspiration to write my newsletter, and I came up with nothing.
This was the 2nd email since I launched my newsletter, and if I’m being honest, I put a lot of effort into the website and not as much into planning out the newsletters themselves.
I crafted the design, content, and specific tone of voice on the website for almost 2 weeks. I toiled away every night as I perfected it.
Then I announced it, and oh shit, I had to actually write the newsletter now.
I finished my newsletter around 11:30 pm, scheduled it, and went to bed. But before I closed the laptop I promised myself not to procrastinate again the next week, because it sucked. I wrote a good newsletter. A really good one if you ask me, but it was still super last minute.
Not everything is best done last-minute though.
My wife and I are trying to buy a house. I emphasize trying due to some frustration on our part. We’ve made 3 offers on 3 separate houses and lost every single one.
We’re picky about what house we want because we both work from home, so we need enough space to comfortably work. Also because we spend so much time at home we really want to love where we live.
Buying something that requires a 30-year loan just to be affordable is exactly the kind of purchase that should not be done last minute. Unless you’re mega-rich like Bill Gates.
I wrote an entire post on a Millennial’s guide to buying your first house, if you’re interested in the specific things my wife and I look for.
Adopting a pet
Adopting an animal should also not be a last-minute decision. You need to have specific things lined up first:
- If you rent, does your landlord allow pets? Is there a pet deposit? Are there any breed restrictions?
- Can you afford a pet? Imagine an extra $200-$400/month in expenses averaged out across the year. Does that break your budget?
- How often do you like going out? If your dog is going to be locked in a crate for 14 hours a day, then you’re not a “dog mom”, you’re a prison guard.
Adopting our dog Vito was one of the best decisions my wife and I ever made. It brought us together in ways I never could have imagined, but only because we’re good dog owners.
Vito gets at least 2 walks around the neighborhood every day. The walks are great for us humans too because we get some exercise, get out of the house, and we talk.
That last part is key. Changing our environment and getting away from the distractions of 2020 life forces us to talk. We talk about everything, and it’s become a form of low-rent counseling for us.
We’ve made major life decisions, like choosing to leave a job, while on a walk.
I’m still early in my career. I worked at my first job after college for almost 5 years. I quit, almost a year ago, to work at my current company.
Changing jobs is another major life event that is best planned out. Not everyone is so lucky, sometimes job changes are involuntarily forced on you.
That’s why I’m a big advocate for always testing your worth in the market. It never hurts to feel out opportunities, both to see if you would be a good fit there and if you would like the company.
My generation is different from my parents, who often stayed at the same company for their entire career. It’s very common for millennials to job hop every few years, sometimes every year. Most companies do not give good raises every year, at best you’ll get a small cost of living adjustment of a few percents. It’s no wonder most young people change jobs because that’s how you get the largest bump in salary.
The best way to stay open to new opportunities is to keep an updated and optimized LinkedIn profile. Updated means having all your most recent jobs and responsibilities listed. Optimized means including common keywords for your industry, so when recruiters search for those your name pops up.
To see what keywords to optimize for, search LinkedIn for your job. See what postings are looking for, and if you can do them, make sure you call them out. I would use the exact same words in the exact same order.
LinkedIn will scan your profile and show you how you match against those jobs too.
Life is what happens when you’re making other plans
That’s a John Lennon quote, and it’s one of my favorites. It’s a reminder to not get wrapped up in planning out your entire life because you’ll miss everything that makes life worth living in the first place.
Some things are worth planning out, some aren’t, and sometimes you just have to YOLO it. You can overanalyze anything, especially major events, to the point where you never do anything. Analysis paralysis.
Screw that. Take risks, move across the country, quit your job on a whim.
Just don’t wait until the night before to write your newsletter. Maybe do that in advance, at least next time.