With a busy student life one of the things which you can easily forget is working out every once in a while. A schedule with classes during the day and extracurricular activities in the evening doesn’t have much space for gym sessions, football practise or swimming a mile or two.
Even though we understand how important regular exercise is for your mental health as well it can get out of focus. Therefor you can try the 7 Minute Workout.
“The Scientific” 7 Minute Workout
The idea behind the workout is very simple. A set of exercises you each do for 30 seconds with 10 seconds of rest. In total? 7 minutes. Check out an elaborate article about the workout.
How it works is easy as well. There are a bunch of iPhone apps available to use as a guidance during the workout and all you need is a chair. I summarize the workout in this Vine (a 6 sec video, I’m doing more of these simple explanations, check out my channel )
So that’s all you need. Sporting gear, an iPhone app and a location. And I’ve talked in a serious voice to you, which probably helps.
How to implement the workout?
Having a way to do this every couple of days is key. You need to find a moment during your day where you can do this workout, just to get some regular exercise.
Try in the evening before going to bed. A good reason for a before-bed shower as well. Or try right when you get up. What is a better way to start the day?
I’ve been working with the morning-routine. Try to get up 15 minutes before you get up regularly, as that is around the time you need to get your clothes, go to the location and get back. Now try to do this 3 days a week (monday, wednesday and friday).
How did this work for you? Any thoughts?
The last two years I had a simple PDF file online, it was called ‘How to build a Blog as a Student.’ It was a guide on building your own website, with screenshots explaining the several steps.
It was a pretty neat guide, even though I am biased. It was simple, it was complete and it was probably helpful.
There were also a couple of things wrong. First of all, the name. The guide was in the first place on building a BLOG, while what most students need is a WEBSITE. Although this guide showed you how you can build a website as well, it was focused around the word ‘blog.’ This resulted in more information on blogs (case studies for instance), while most of the people were interested in case studies about websites. I changed this, the guide is now COMPLETELY focused on building a website, not a blog (although you could still use it).
Second of all, how I promoted the guide. Nothing more than a simple sidebar ad, while I think it is really important to build a website for yourself. A personal hub, a go-to place for employees and a portfolio is important for everybody who is looking for a professional career. How I am going to change this? It is getting a more prominent place on my website and I will refer to it more.
Third of all, the aftermath. I made the guide, set it up and I forgot it somehow. This came to a point where I even removed the sidebar ad, as I didn’t want people to read it anymore. Now I am going to handle it a little bit more professionally, working on following up with the people who downloaded it to help if necessary.
And now the v2.0 version of the guide is ready!
How to build your own Personal Website
Enough meta-talk. I have a cool guide to share. Why should you have your own website?
There are three main reasons:
Full Control of your Google Results
By owning your own website you will instantly gain a lot of access on the results people get when they Google your name. Google’s algorithm responds very well on the exact match in a domain name. Which means StefanKnapen.com gets a lot of love from Google for the search phrase “Stefan Knapen.” By owning your own domain you get a lot of control over your search results.
No matter what your job will be, owning the first page of Google for your name can mean a lot. The most important thing? You are not the only one who can register your name as a domain name. By claiming your own name in a domain right now you prevent other people from doing so. You could see it as online protection of your brand.
Personal Social Hub
With a personal website you’ve created a ‘hub’. A place where people can find you and a place where you can link to from all your social media accounts. This hub is the place where you can tell everything about yourself, show who you are both on- and offline.
The hub would be the place where you can put a résumé (partially or complete) and where you can show off your portfolio.
With a personal website you can show off examples to possible employer’s or potential customers. If you incorporate a blog into your personal website you can show off thought processes, writing skills and how you are up to date with the latest trends in your field.
For instance, you can use the blog as a business student by talking about recent developments in the online world. You could write posts like “5 Take-Overs by Social Media Giants.” These type of posts have a high chance of being shared by your readers and could generate some buzz around your brand.
The HOW part
- A Step by Step Guide. Starting at the process of getting a domain name and ending at your first published page!
- Screenshots of every step. Technical talk can be hard to understand, I believe visual can help a lot here. The screenshots show clearly what to do and how.
- The Workbook. I’ve created a simple workbook to make sure you are starting in the right way. A couple of simple assignments so you know what you are going into.
- Discounts for HostGator. With a simple coupon code you can get the hosting and domain name for a lot cheaper!
- YOUR PERSONAL WEBSITE. Downloading this guide (and an evening of work) will result in your own, personal website. This gives you the opportunity to say to people: “Well, yeah.. I own my own website, Google me.” (Don’t do this, you will be a douchebag.)
Sounds good? Cool. Download the ebook NOW. It’s free
Building a sellable personality as a college student can be frightening. Once you enter college you only have 4-6 years left to get some sort of degree, to show off ‘who you are.’ On the other side we also have to work on extracurricular activities in order to develop yourself as an individual.
Understanding key concepts on building a personal (and professional) identity early in life can give you a big advantage compared to your peers who have never heard of these concepts.
One of the concept you are going to learn today is the concept of “Identity Capital.” Identity Capital is a term coined by Meg Jay in her book “The Defining Decade: Why Your Twenties Matter and How to Make the Most Out of Them NOW.” As a twenty-something, this is one of the best personal development books I’ve read in a long, long time.
Meg Jay writes:
“Identity Capital is the currency we use to metaphorically purchase jobs and relationships.”
Although it sounds monetary, identity capital has nothing to do with money. You can see it as ‘mental capital.’ Capital which you build up over time with everything you do. It grows when you do interesting/inspiring things and it decreases when you lay in bed all day watching television.
Identity Capital is what people talk about when they talk about “Investing in Yourself.”
For me there are basically two types of Identity Capital.
- Capital which you would put on your résumé. This includes degrees, workshops you attended and jobs you held.
- Capital which does not fit on a résumé. This can be (un)trainable personality traits, such as charisma or being empathic. Also random skills like playing the guitar or being able to solve a Rubik’s Cube are put here.
Focus on Building Identity Capital
After learning and hopefully understanding the concept of Identity Capital you have to work towards a continuous effort to grow your identity capital. You can do this by simply focusing on the learning opportunities which you come across in your dialy life.
Take for instance looking for a side job in college. Would you rather stack shelfs at the local Wal-Mart or would you be a resident adviser, although it may pay less? Although stacking shelfs could be the easy fit, not too high-demanding and you won’t have any responsibility, chosing the latter would give you more Identity Capital. You learn to deal with problems, learn how people work and you will learn how to handle responsibility.
Picking a side job seems obvious, but the same goes for other choices. Although it is important to relax every once in a while, choose for capital building leisure activities, if you have the opportunity. Reading is always a good one, try to read a personal development book every once in a while. When you go on vacation, you can obviously go to the beach for four weeks, but maybe an interesting trip into the country can be exciting as well. Watching TV shows when you are switching down at night? Watch the Sopranos instead of the regular talk shows to get some sort of quality TV.
Why Should you Build Identity Capital?
Hopefully it is becoming clear building somewhat of Identity Capital is important, even it is only to grow as a person.
But there are more advantages as well.
When you are working on a certain skill, or reading a certain book or when you are engaging in an interesting job you get the feeling of Mastery. When you get more experienced, when you work more, you will understand the job better. After these experiences you will feel you’ve mastered something.
The best moment in my 6 months of playing the guitar right now was when I could pick up my guitar, find the tabs of “Ring of Fire” (of course, by Johnny Cash) and I just could play it. I didn’t need any practice, as it is an easy song. But the chords just made sense to me and the melody was familiar. I had a sense of mastery (although I am not anywhere near a guitar master) in my journey to understand the guitar.
Mastery works motivating, building Identity Capital gives you this as a reward every once in a while.
Spending Time “Useful”
One of the biggest dangers in college life is wasting time. Playing Candy Crush for hours (I’m at level 305, who can beat me?), browsing Reddit or just watching TV with friends. All of the sudden a year is over and you have nothing to show it. When you focus on building Identity Capital you always have something to show.
So when you are right out of college and you have to settle for a job below your education level, try to go for a job which will bring you some sort of Identity Capital. Meg Jay’s example in her book was a girl who had to choose between a job as a barista or an entry job at a digital design studio. Both were low-paying, but the work you do in the design studio will be more rewarding in the long term. It may seem like ‘paying your dues’, but it is nothing more than investing in your future.
You will create Stories
Stories matter. When you enter the job market your interviews won’t be checklists. They will be genuine conversations. With stories you can show real-life examples, in an interesting way, of how you are and why you are that way.
When focusing on Identity Capital you are creating stories. The vacation at the beach? Not that interesting. Going to a distillery in Scotland, please tell me more!
Take for instance my buddy Thomas Frank, from College Info Geek. He chose to build a blog completely of his own, by which he managed to pay off all his student debts. He has an amazing story to tell and a lot of people will be psyched to hear what that story is.
Working on your stories is something you can only do by getting out there. Have interesting jobs, create social skills and get more out of life than what the local paper is offering you.
The time is now, your college years are the perfect opportunity to start creating a Warren Buffet worthy capital of Identity.
Personal Development is nothing more than the stack of experiences with a flavor of your personality. Build the stack, work on the flavor. In time you will have a jaw-dropping personality!
Identity Capital is build one piece of capital at the time. What is something you can work on today to improve your story? What will do in the upcoming week in order to be satisfied with the past week? What is something you’ve worked on and where you are proud of? Let me know.
Ps. The book by Meg Jay, ‘The Defining Decade: Why Your Twenties Matter and How to Make the Most of Them NOW’ can be a great help to every twenty-something. Check it out. If you are not sure, watch the TED talk by Meg Jay, “Why 30 is not the new 20“.Can't get data from TED.com or embed data is missing.
People following the StudySuccessful Facebook Page received some teasers already. I was working on something.
In my life I talk with a lot of people, lot of friends of course, but I also meet a lot of new people. Most of these people have an interesting story to tell. A couple of those interesting stories are about how to live a successful college life. Their story resonates with the message I try to communicate on this website: You can get a lot out of college life.
Listening to these stories I was looking for a way to share these with you. I’ve tried doing something with a podcast, which was too hard to maintain. I tried something with video as well on a Flip Camera. That camera broke. Of course I’ve been working on writing these stories down and although I think the written word can be very strong, I think a story needs a voice of it’s own. I needed an interview.
With that idea, and a roommate who knows a thing or two about film, the StudySuccessful Interviews were born! Today I would like to share the first episode with you. The idea is just two people talking over a couple of beers about getting the most out of your college/twentysomething life. Nothing fancy, just an interesting conversation with interesting people. Every episode I will invite another guest and we will talk for 20-30 minutes about their story.
StudySuccessful Interviews Episode 1: Julius Glauche
This episode is with a buddy of mine from my study. I work with him in several projects and I think he is a fairly interesting guy. He gets the grades, he does the extracurricular activities, but he has also a ton of personal insights and he always attends every party.
A highly sociable guy who is also successful in his academic endeavors. An interesting study object.
In this episode we talk about three rules he lives by which help him in his life.
Check out this episode now.
So that was the first episode of the StudySuccessful Interviews. There are more to come! We have our rooftop terrace ready and people have been contacted. Let me know what you think about these interviews and let me know what kind of topics you would like to see discussed.
Share you thoughts, would love to hear from you! Like the StudySuccessful Facebook page in order to stay up to date when a new episode will air! You can also subscribe to the StudySuccessful YouTube Channel, where these videos will be published.
Group projects are part of everyday life for every college student. The groups can be big, the groups can be small, but the group projects will always be there.
With group projects comes group dynamics. An interesting aspect if you ask me. In the beginning everybody is a little shy, while at the end of the project your group partners can be your best friends, or your worst enemies.
A fun part of group dynamics is watching how decisions are made. When a group needs to come up with ideas, whether this is a full classroom or a group of just a couple of people, the first idea is always the hardest.
Once the first idea came up, the ideas will start rolling and the team is good to go.
Jon Bell explains this as the ‘McDonald’s Theory.’
There’s no defined process for all creative work, but I’ve come to believe that all creative endeavors share one thing: the second step is easier than the first. Always.
When his team does not know where to go for lunch Jon always suggests McDonald’s. This is of course not possible according to his colleagues, they come up with better alternatives.
You can try this as well in your group project. If your team is trying to come up with a point of view for a project, make the most ridiculous suggestion and see where it will take you and your team.
I do this by thinking extreme. When brainstorming, I introduce my standpoints like ‘I know this is never going to work, but what if we …’ Sometimes the group laughs, sometimes the group starts to make fun of me, but almost all of the time we make some progress. Looking for a speaker for your event? ‘I know this is never going to work, but what if we could get the prime minister to speak?’ People will laugh and we end up with a great event and a great speaker.
After putting this to the test with your group project, see if you can apply this to your own life as well. Starting is the hardest part of every task. Just start, it doesn’t have to be good, and you will see result.
So, where should we go for lunch today?
The past six months I got interested in minimalism. I cleaned out my room at my parents’, I got rid of a lot of clutter in my student house and brought the number of possessions way down. I am not the kind of person to count all my items and bring the number under the hundred or anything, but I like the lifestyle. Living a more meaningful life by focusing my attention on things what really matters works for me. Uncluttering, thinking twice before buying something and focusing on activities instead of stuff is helping me in becoming a better person.
There are a ton of resources when you are interested in minimalism, one of the best would be The Minimalists. Recently I got the book of Joshua Millburn Fields (the founder of the website), ‘a Day in the Life of a Minimalist.’
The book is very simple. Joshua describes in a bunch of essays how he changed from a 70 hour workweek to a more meaningful life with less. It reads easy and the insights are bountiful.
One of the most interesting things I came across was what Joshua called ‘the Twitch.’ The Twitch is the urge to check your smartphone/email/messages all the time, everywhere. When you are waiting at the counter at a store, when your friends leaves for the toilet and, yes, even at the urinal.
Reading this I could totally resonate. I have exactly the same problem, checking all the time if there are new messages, if there is any news. Yes, I even check it at the urinal as well. Seriously, is it that important? Probably not.
To elaborate a little bit more, here is my standard ‘check-schedule’:
- Whatsapp/messages/email. Any important messages? Nope, let’s go on.
- Facebook/Reddit? Any interesting posts? Nope, still the same as 2 minutes ago.
- Twitter. So, any new interesting tweets? Ah, yeah. Well, not that interesting, let’s move on.
- Nu.nl (a Dutch news website). Today I busted myself checking out something about a reality tv star. I am doing bad with this smartphone thing.
- Bank account. Any updates on my finances? Well, no it is still the same as 5 minutes ago (and actually the same as 2 days ago..)
This is bad, seriously
Looking at my ‘check-schedule’ I know this is bad, of course. I want to break down the problem of the Twitch at two moments. First of all when you are working on something. We all know the importance of focus. The Pomodoro technique can help big time with this. Still, when you are not on a pomodoro schedule, checking your phone breaks your flow and breaks your concentration.
Studying is such a task. Studying requires focus, when you start studying you will need a couple of minutes to get into the flow and really get a grasp on the material you are trying to study. If the Twitch breaks you out of that concentration for every six minutes, you won’t really get any work done and you are not productive at all.
Another task like this is having a conversation. People are often disturbed by their phone while trying to engage in an actual face-to-face conversation. Really? You need to check whatsapp now? You really need to see if there are new Facebook posts?
Second the Twitch comes around on other moments. For instance, when you are bored while waiting. This can be at the checkout counter, or when you are walking somewhere or, well, if you are at the urinal. These moments were always reserved for meaningless thoughts. For daydreaming. For putting every piece of the puzzle together, to give all the input a place.
How to Stop Yourself Twitching
Twitching is a problem, last week I kept notice of when I am twitching and it is very often. Even more interesting is noticing when other people are twitching. Standing in a bar I checked and people are twitching a lot. Walking on the street, a lot of people are focused on their phone. Sitting in a library, almost everybody is on their phone.
Once we’ve accepted the problem it is time to change. Twitching is a habit and we can change habits. In this day and age it is not easy to stop twitching, but possible. The most effective solution, as Joshua did, is getting rid of your phone for a while. Not something I would do or even recommend, but an option.
I want to suggest something else. Pay attention to when you are twitching. There is no need yet to stop yourself or even track it, but notice the Twitch. Do this for a couple of days. Start paying attention to other people twitching as well.
Now, stop yourself. After a couple of days you can stop yourself from twitching. Begin with the moments where you are bored. Less twitching while working on something is of course important, but it gets frustrating if you are failing, so focus on what is easy. If you are stopping yourself when twitching while you are bored anyway it will be easier.
At the checkout counter? Look around, watch people. Walking somewhere? Focus on putting one foot in front of the other. Taking a piss? TRY TO AIM.
Keep on noticing and keep on stopping yourself. Habits are not formed overnight. You need to pay attention as much as possible and eventually you will find yourself twitching less.
It won’t be easy. The hardest part might be not being able to respond directly all the time. When people are accustomed to you responding within minutes all the time they need to change as well. You need to change their expectations.
Relieving yourself from the Twitch results in less clutter in your daily life and allows you to focus more on what is important. Your current task and even more important: your life.
Try it. Test it. Think about it. Will this work for you?
TL;DR the continuous urge to check your phone for new messages (the Twitch) is affecting both your productivity and your ability to daydream and make room for creativity. Start noticing when you are twitching, pay attention to it. Now stop it. Keep your phone in your pocket. Reap the benefits.