How to Adult?

I’ll start off with saying that I didn’t have a particularly fruitful beginning of my adulthood. Past 2 years were more of a blur of some fantasy land far away that I may some day reach, but I think we all know what’s at stake. There isn’t anything resembling that.

I can be organized in my work space, clothing, cable management, paying bills on time and such. But what I am not good at is… life. I can’t seem to stay organized when it comes to time management, discipline and inspiration.
I suck at that. But I also understand that it’s kind of important (probably extremely important), I have things that I want to do but I more often than not find myself doing things that in no way contribute to my well being. More and more I look at myself, more I feel like I am not taking my life responsibly. Wasting it on trivial things that only give me a short term satisfaction, and screwing myself over in a long run.This sort of behavior of mine goes directly against what I seek in life. My aspirations and goals seem to be washing away in front of me. I’m no longer a kid, I need to grab my life by it’s balls and lead me to success.

Hence why I am here asking the “adults” that feel like they have a fairly responsible way of life as well as those that are slowly on their track to having one.

What did you do to keep on top of your life?
How do you decide to spend your time?
Do you keep a detailed calendar?
What did you learn about personal finance?
How do you keep track of numerous documents? Events? Goals?
What do you routinely do to not let your life go adrift?
How do you manage your personal hobbies, with work and life?
What is your goto way to remain productive?

How do you Adult?

It’s something I ask myself more and more and seem to have little grasp of what it’s even like to be one.
Anything of value helps. All I seek is advice, not a guideline.


No one really knows. They do what they think is either right or what they want to do and then what happens happens.


What did you do to keep on top of your life?
School and work, already 8 years in IT but figured I would pick up a BA

How do you decide to spend your time?
School/Work spare time with wife and messing around with server and what not at the house.

Do you keep a detailed calendar?

What did you learn about personal finance?
Was always pretty good, only debt I carry is Mortgage

How do you keep track of numerous documents? Events? Goals?
Documents in hanging folder box, events in my head, goals if I only had time for more then whats on my plate

What do you routinely do to not let your life go adrift?
I just correct as needed, I procrastinate a lot, but hasnt failed me yet.

How do you manage your personal hobbies, with work and life?
Dont have time for hobbies, but with what little I have I get in here and there

What is your goto way to remain productive?
Remove distractions, in your works space limit things that can distract you

Do you have any mojor goals? Rough plans to get there?


I don’t adult like normal adults either.

I have some structure, in that I have a good job. I go to work and get paid. That is the main foundation of my life at the moment, because I want to own a place. I don’t have anything I can inherit and don’t want to rely on others, so it is paramount to me to own a place. Pretty big motivation.
However, I am not stupid with money, so I am not penny pinching by any means.

There are some things I am pretty tardy with, such as house and yard maintenance. Usually a level of guilt builds up to the point where I cannot tolerate it, and I get some stuff done.

There are tools out there to keep you organised and on track. Todoist is one that seems popular. There are phone apps that gamify tasks, letting you turn your life into some kind of RPG. Novelty wore off there.

You could hire a personal trainer. The fact you are paying for the service helps ensure remain invested. They will yell at you to do stuff. Also the fitter you are physically, the easier it is to stay awake and motivated. Also why I detest crossfitters. Maybe it is the smugness.

If I have events and things I need to remember, I put them in my phone (i guess google) calendar. My phone reminds me to do them. It is not totally comprehensive, nothing gained from the extra effort spent. I mostly know what shift I am on at work etc.

Personal finance? I haven’t needed to budget for a while, but it is a good skill to know. If money is tight, you need to know how much you have spare every week, to ensure you can keep the rent paid etc. I usually direct debit stuff so It is not possible to overspend on crap.

Unfortunately, most people don’t get taught this stuff, and have to figure it all out the hard way.

Yeah the biggest thing that isn’t taught if finance. If you can master that youll be pretty good.

It is a very hard question. You need to do what you enjoy lawfully not what people tell you to do. Once you have kids,a mans brain does rewire in some primal form and your priorities do change.


I certainly do. Hence why I began to freak out that I might not be adequate enough to reach them

I want to have a job as a software developer somewhere summer 2018, want a car before I get that job, move out of my parents house during the next 2 years, want to visit a country and the rest is a blur, tho to be honest I don’t want to think that far because I need to at least get on track to achieve these goals first.

My plan as of now is to get a temporary job in IT that will be able to give me some leverage at the next one, use this job to purchase learning resources to further increase my skills, save up for a car and begin saving for a place to live in.
I’ve also just sat down and started outlining this and making a soft weekly schedule that will hopefully encourage me to stick to it. I expect it to be painful at first but easier as I progress. Then I have a small group project that I want to incorporate and I am looking for more resources that will help me with it.

I am slowly showing signs of some sort of depression so I’d like to snap out of it before it’s too late…

Thanks man.

Where are you in your life, did you go to school or are you trying to get into development on your own? I need more back story to make some suggestions. If you just finished a degree, maybe try and start to contribute to some open source programs that your interested in or build a few small apps to add to your resume. Are you in the US or in another country that would also effect any advice on things as well.

Glad I am not the only one. I’ve had this happen quite a lot this year to me. And I am slowly creeping in to a point where I do any unpleasant work as soon as I see what needs to be done because the unpleasant feeling of knowing that that it isn’t gonna get done by itself is tormenting me on a whole another level.

As for finance, I am aware that if I put $5 every month into my savings I will have a decent amount of money at some point, but what I am not as clear about is the government/legal side of finance. What agencies there are that i need to be worried about, difference between various forms, how to write a check etc. What legal stuff do I have to know since I turned 18 so on and so forth.


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I decided to end my endeavors with College. I’ve tried but I constantly felt dissatisfied and not to say I wasn’t doing particularly well. I’ve never had success in school so my natural conclusion was to quit and focus on something that I am aware I can do. I’ve discussed it a lot of times, had over 6 months to think about and it only felt right. Think of this post as a continuation of that decision.

And yes I am in US, tho I don’t want this to discourage people from other countries to drop some suggestions.

You could look into coding boot camps, is a good way to possibly get a job. (Not suggesting you cant code just saying that there are a lot of programs that hire from those things)

Are relatively in shape? I did 4 years in the Air Force, and if you can get a guaranteed job(dont go open electrical or something like that)that is something your interested in, its a good way to get exp and training, while getting paid.

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I’ve thought about it. Nowhere near enough to have a definitive opinion about it but I can tell you I have interest in them.

Also would rather not get involved with government work and such. I’m relatively in shape but I will never show enough loyalty and commitment than those guys. Just not for me, but huge respects to those that can do it.

Air Force is like a corporation to be honest, very lax in general compared to other branches. I did my 4 and got out, dont regret it at all and I wasn’t there because I felt a need to server my country. It severed me to get to my goals.

My deployment was to a location that was an R&R spot for other branches, and I could drink alch and get like BK and shit. I would say over 1/2 of the Air force comm deployments are like that.

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Just a couple thoughts I live by I thought I would share.

A quote that always stuck with me, but I don’t know who originally said it, but to paraphrase: “Do the best you can every day and the future will take care of itself”. I like this because you can drive yourself nuts worrying about the future when really the best you can do is to be prepared. Life has a way of throwing curve balls we never expect. Also, we grow as people and our goals, attitudes, and priorities change too. Try not to obsess over the future or you may miss all the stuff along the way

As far as money goes, I automate as much of this as I can.

This is a good way to go. I figure out a budget I can live with, setup automatic deposits to savings, automatic payments for my bills, and an extra fund that I call “play money”. If I want something dumb like an 8-drive RAID 10 that pushes almost a GB a second when I only have gigabit networking, it comes out of that fund.

For motivation, I reward myself for things I hate doing. It’s not a perfect system, but it helps knowing that once I get my work done, I can have some fun.

My mind works better with a plan in place for stuff I have to get done. I can free-ball it and adjust on the fly, but I find my productivity soars when I set mini-deadlines throughout the day and plan it all out the night before. Even small things like breakfast. Having defined start and stop times helps me feel accomplished and moving forward.

I also find that sharing my goals with others helps keep me on track. If I’m talking to a friend about how I’m working toward my next certification or working on this cool project, I find that I move forward at a faster pace because I want to be able to report progress when they ask me about it next time.

Don’t worry too much about what forms you need when. Start with a simple checking and savings account. I would do a local bank as your first account and then open a second account with an online only bank like Ally. In the event that you have to write a check, just google it. It’s not bad at all. The bank will walk you through the process.

Just remember that if anyone tells you they have it all figured out, they are lying. You seem like a bright individual with a bright future if you are already starting to focus on these things. So many really dumb people with no forethought continue to survive every day. If they can figure it out, so can you. :slight_smile:

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One of the best things to do as a young man is an apprenticeship in a trade like electrician, builder etc with the goal of getting qualified and working for yourself after that. Those skill sets are in need everywhere and if you’re the boss, you make the money. Sure you need to do more to run a business but it totally doable and worth it.

However you have to want to do it because it is work. When I did it I did enjoy learning and building something people valued and used.


By the sounds of it you’re about half my age. Probably a little less.

Organization in your personal life is something you pick up as you go along. Make sure you have the basics covered (you’ll find those out as you go along too). Bills and food are your first concerns, make sure you have a little extra put aside in case you have an accident or an illness. The amount depends on your location and what medical treatments cost.

As for paperwork etc, I tend to pay my bills as soon as I receive them, then scan them so I have a digital copy. The original then goes in the shredder.
That prevents clutter and allows me to keep track of things. If I have a .pdf of the bill, it’s paid.
Same with the rest of the paperwork, everything gets scanned. I do keep originals of my current job contract, diplomas and the other documents where you just can’t destroy the original.

Wasting your life on trivial things and screwing yourself over in the long run … well, we all do that from time to time. Yes, planning ahead is nice and all, but on the other hand there’s no guarantee that there is a long run. You never know if you’ll still be alive next year, or even next week.
So set your long-term goals but don’t overdo it. Having kids may influence how much you want to save for later. (college etc)

I’ll quote the great Billy Connolly : "I think the trick is not to grow up. By all means grow old. Growing up is always someone else’s idea."
It’s good to have a plan for later, just make sure you enjoy the present too. You’re only young once. You don’t want to get to 40 and then realize that you didn’t enjoy life enough because you were always so damn busy trying to accumulate wealth and having the best old age you possibly can.


This is a good point. Having a trade is a great fallback, because it means you are qualified to take on certain jobs. It can be hard or impossible to get into some industries without qualifications, unless you know someone or get really lucky. Or you have to start at the bottom, do call center stuff and work your way up.

I think what worked the most to start sorting myself out, was to set my body clock in stone…

Literally my first step was to set a time I wanted to get up, and time I went to sleep, and stuck to it…

You would be surprised how much more you can achieve (however trivial) when you getting up at 6am every day instead of 7 or 8 or in my case sometimes 1-2pm on weekends lol

And this… I never would have imagined how much my priorities would change when having kids…

But in short I guess small goals to start… As things become habit, move on to other things… Maybe all you need is to pick a new hobby, something that maybe you only had a passing interest in once upon a time, and really throw yourself at it to see if it fits… Like me and aquariums, I got one and a few tropicals… Then at the peak I had 6 tanks (the largest being 250 gal) and around $2000 in livestock lol

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Lot’s of good advice already.

In my late twenties I found I was responsible for others (work and family), this helped me to focus and prioritise. I found the 7 habits of highly effective people a great aid to help work out what was important and how to arrange my life.

What did you do to keep on top of your life?
No one really does. Life is best effort.

How do you decide to spend your time?

With what ever at the time i find fulfilling. Explore enough possibilities and sth will stick.

Do you keep a detailed calendar?

Nope. But as i am getting older i will have to. expect that will happen to you as well.

What did you learn about personal finance?

Spend money on things that matter when they matter. Never waste on BS for the sake of it. It never helps anyway. Always keep your balance in mind. Also its surprising how much fun you can have without spending too much.

How do you keep track of numerous documents? Events? Goals?

Good organization. Making effective routines.

What do you routinely do to not let your life go adrift?

What do you mean adrift?

How do you manage your personal hobbies, with work and life?

Keep a strict 9-5 schedule as much as possible. Then you have time for everything. I also found that the easiest way to have more time is wake up early and reduce the amount of all-nighters (either for fun or work). But that will actually happen naturally as you grow older.

What is your goto way to remain productive?

Like what you do.

You are just 20 years old. Do expect to “adult” effectively so soon. None really knows that. There is no manual except for the very basics you already know. As long as you are not self-destructive, have a reasonable amount of self-sufficiency and have your good friends close it is just a matter of doing what seems best, screw up, learn sth new and move on.

Life is a continuous chain of evolution. Not a pert chart with milestones. Just explore as much as you can. Most of the things you seem to be worried about are things you pick up as your go. They are skills you can be taught and as long as you are active in exploring you will naturally make a system of your own that works for you.