Tuesday, March 29, 2016

This May Sting a Bit: Embracing Your Life Calendar

And here's yet another TED Talk that's both entertaining and insightful: Tim Urban: Inside the mind of a master procrastinator. Here, take a few minutes and watch the talk:

I'm actually not much of a traditional procrastinator. My Computer Science degree, mainly filled with long running projects, played to my (then unknown) strength of living with, and chipping away at a problem. From timed math tests in 3rd grade to the SATs, I've never been much of a must-perform-this-minute kind of student. Just watching Tim discuss his academic career started to make my palms sweat. But his points are none the less well taken: we're all good at putting off the important for the fun and easy.

Tim's thesis is that where procrastination is truly a problem is when there's no due date to spur you into gear. Or as he scientifically explains: there's nothing to conjure up the Panic Monster to scare off your Instant Gratification Monkey. But Tim also provides us with a solution: the Life Calendar. Near the end of the talk he shows a grid of boxes which corresponds to one week for 90 years of an individual's life. Turns out, there is--if you pardon the pun-- a deadline for all our tasks, and it's going to happen before you think.

I saw this grid and immediately knew I needed to create a Life Calendar web app. So I did. You can access it here. The instructions are simple: enter in your birth day, hit refresh, wait a few seconds, and take it all in. Now cue the Panic Monster. You're welcome.

Here's my calendar. Almost half way filled in. Gulp.

You're welcome to view and modify the code for the calendar here. In truth it's little more than one of those beginner exercises they used to give us to learn about loops and working with dates.

Now if you excuse me, I've got a Panic Monster to wrestle with.

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