How saying “just for today” could help you shift from procrastination to productivity.

“Just for today”- How applying this way of thinking can really help you take action

Today I am going to reflect back to another great point that I have learned in my personal growth pursuits.

This is something that I learned of whilst interviewing someone recently. I was interviewing someone who is currently in recovery for addiction and “Just for today” is a phrase that is used widely in the fellowship program that he is on.

Now how does this relate to personal growth in your academic journey….

I personally am somebody who you could say has an ‘reach for the stars’ mentality of thinking. I talk so often about ‘challenging yourself’, ‘breaking comfort zones’ and setting yourself visions and wishes for your future. We include all of this within the Semester Student Planner, and this is because we believe it has real value in setting your sights on a prosperous future and not just settling for being the average student. This will not ever change, for me, setting such ambitious targets also creates hope. A hope for a thriving future that inspires you and motivates you! It makes you want to get out of bed on a morning. This is the type of mindset that we are hoping to be able to support you in creating.

However, for some people this can be hugely overwhelming. It is worth noting, that for me, on some occasions it becomes overwhelming too! My interviewee described this very feeling. He explained to me that when he thinks too far into the future, or starts dwelling on the past, it creates this huge level of anxiety within him, and it can often lead to depressive thoughts. From our own academic experiences we too know how much anxiety can be created from reaching for what a lot of the time seems like an unattainable goal in the form of a first class degree or acing a particular test.

So back to how this story relates to you and your academic growth…

When this type of anxious feeling of creating big goals rises to the surface, it is all about breaking it down into smaller and more manageable chunks. His simple way of breaking this down is to simply just focus on today…this very moment. His go to internal saying when feeling these emotions of stress and overwhelm would simply be…“just for today”.

He wakes up and writes down his gratitude list. He applies himself to his fellowship program and he focuses on doing his best for that day. The simplicity of it is something I take value from.

In some regards I have pushed this message in many different ways. For example, I often say to people…

“What is one key action you can take today which will bring you closer to your goals?” We will have posed this question in previous blogs.

This involves bringing your focus to the present. It involves taking baby steps in your approach to much longer-term goals.

Within our planner we have the daily ‘Focused few’. This involves the three key actions daily to bring you closer to your goals. In thinking about this “Just for today” mentality, if you are having a day whereby overwhelm is perhaps setting in, perhaps the pressure feels like it is adding up and you are feeling stressed. What can you work on “just for today?” Do not think into the future and simply focus on the day ahead.

I sometimes lose complete sight of this myself and this can generate such feelings of overwhelm.

“I need to do this” … “I still have not got around to that” “This needs doing by…”

This is extremely normal to feel this way and is 100% how we felt during our academic journey too. If you are someone who struggles with overwhelming feelings as described above, try adapting the following mentality instead.

  • If the upcoming assignment is causing you stress…what part of it can you work on just for today?
  • If things are getting on top of you. If things are starting to feel overwhelming. Try take a step back from it all. Distance yourself from everything and simply make your focus “Just for today.”

I also feel the “just for today” mentality can be applied when it comes to our overall wellbeing. Not everything needs to be about pursuing goals or constantly being productive. You have to make sure there is a healthy balance in there.

If you are struggling with your wellbeing what is one thing that you could do “just for today” that is going to make you feel that little bit better? What about calling an old friend? Taking ten minutes for yourself. What about switching off from everything and recapturing some time for you. Turning off social media. Doing something you enjoy! Anything?

We often need reminding from time to time that all we have is the present. We only have right now.

Therefore, next time you are finding yourself feeling stressed or overwhelmed ask yourself.

“What can I focus on just for today”

I hope you found this blog useful. If you did, please share it with your fellow students and share your journey with us in the comments!


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