Previous: Q&A #2: Advice on Doctors, Break-Ups, and Ice Cream Breakfasts!
Next: 4 YouTubers Share Their Best Adulthood Advice (ft. Rafi Fine, MinutePhysics, & ASAPScience)!



View count:86,196
Last sync:2024-02-12 12:45
In which we discuss procrastinating, time management, smart goals, and how to REALLY get things done!

Support How to Adult on Patreon at

"How to Adult" is a "life skills" edutainment channel brought to you by Executive Producers Hank Green and John Green. Subscribe for new videos every week!





Hosted by:
Emma Mills

Written, Directed, and Edited by:
T. Michael (Mike) Martin
Mike is also a Young Adult novelist. His book, THE END GAMES, is available at all online booksellers, including
Indiebound ( ) and Amazon: (

Executive Producers:
Hank & John Green
Emma: Hey! So we've been getting some questions lately about how to procrastinate less and get things done more. A lot of people call this time management, but we like to think of it as energy or task management.

So here's an overview of some of the life hacking strategies we've found, which admittedly sounds a little horror movie-esque.

Strategy Number One: make the distinction between a task and a project. This idea came from David Allen's book, getting things done, which Mike is a very big fan of. If something requires more than one action to finish, it's not a task, it's a project. 

So let's take the example of trying to run a 5k. Running a 5k is a project because it comprises different physical, visible action steps. For example: putting workout clothes in your car so that you can hit the gym in the morning, or running on the treadmill three times a week. "Getting Things Done" suggests creating a list of all your projects, and for each project, writing out the physical, visible action steps you need to take to accomplish it.

It might take a while to do this, but it really helps. There's also research to support the claim that just the act of writing down tasks and goals makes you more likely to accomplish them. Mike and I use evernote so that we can access the lists anywhere.

One of the reasons people may give up on their goals is that they become overwhelmed, because they didn't chunk the big project down into actionable steps. So we really recommend looking into the "Getting Things Done" system, whether you do or not though, we still have some other strategies that may be a big help.

Strategy Number Two: daily lists. In the morning, it can help to make a list of things that absolutely have to be done that day. To do this, it helps to keep a current calendar of deadlines/appointments/etc.

You can also list some if-I-have-time items, and as you're working to accomplish those things it can help to use Strategy Number Three: cut out distractions. if you really need to get things done on your computer, but you're afraid you might tumble down the Tumblr rabbit hole, it doesn't hurt to be drastic and turn off your router. 

There's also a great program called Freedom, which will block your internet connection for a specific amount of time, or a program called BlockSite, which will block your access to specific sites. 

Strategy Number Four: breaks and rewards. As you're working in the day, give yourself breaks and little rewards. This is what we refer to as Energy Management. One popular productivity method is called the Pomodoro Technique. it involves setting a timer for a certain amount of time, say 30 or 90 minutes, and taking breaks between each session. This will keep you from getting burnt out throughout the day. 

Strategy Number Five: for big or intimidating projects, have a compelling "why." Although it's arguably best to do this at the beginning of a project, doing this any time can help. Especially for those big, important, self-improvement projects in our lives, we may hit a wall or speed bump along the way, but as Eleanor Roosevelt says "You must do the thing you think you cannot do." 

And when the going gets tough, having a written reminder of what you can gain from the projects- emotionally, financially, professionally, etc. - can really help carry you through.

There are a number of different productivity systems out there, but all of them have a common goal: helping you accomplish the things that are important to you. Adulting isn't just about taxes and DMV lines, it's also about choosing the things that are important to you, looking forward to those things, and saying, to quote Captain Jack Sparrow, "Bring me that horizon!"

So how bout you, do you have any awesome productivity tips? If so, we would love to hear from you in the comments section below. In the meantime, to quote Jack Sparrow once more "this catchphrase is gonna blow your mind!" To which I said "yeah Jack-"

Emma: Strategy Number Four: uh-oh. Don't ruin this for me Mike.
Mike: *sneezes loudly off-camera* Excuse me!
Emma: *laughs*