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Tag Archives: CBT

Why am I procrastinating like a bastard today?

  • got woken up in the middle of the night last night, didn’t get back to sleep.  So, a bit sleep deprived.  It has been shown in scientific studies that we have less willpower when we’re fatigued.  That goes for everything from goofing off to resisting junk food.
  • I’m at the start of two big, messy projects.  They’ve been hard to break down into digestible tasks.  So I’m dreading working on those.
  • Some non-work things came in on the email today, but I’m sure I could have resisted those til later if not for #1 and #2.
  • I have recently upped my daily productivity goal, and I’m finding it hard to achieve.  In fact I haven’t achieved it yet (today is day-3).  I have probably set the bar too high.  Baby steps.

Ok, its 2:00, I can still get a fair chunk of work done today.

Oh damn, the AC repair guy has just arrived…

-J

The Now Habit by Neil Fiore.  1½ thumbs up.

Bottom line: I plan to implement this method and can’t wait to get started!

I can see why this is one of the seminal works in the psychology/self-help/procrastination arena.  Dr. Fiore has focused his career on researching and treating procrastination, and in this book he distills all the then-current theory plus his experiences with thousands of patients into one how-to book for the lay reader.  It is interesting, authoritative, and rings true.  His characterization of procrastination as a reaction to anxiety/resentment associated with work explains why deadlines and threats rarely work on us procrastinators – they just amp up the anxiety.  The book makes a lot of sense, and made me a believer that Fiore’s method will work for me.

My only complaint with the book is that it is almost all prose.  There are very few tables, diagrams or step-by-step instructions.  I got to the end of the book and thought: “Great!  Now what do I DO?”  I had to go through again and make my own point-form notes to follow.

When Fiore described the worker who never takes time to enjoy personal pursuits and yet wastes hours per day goofing off at his desk, I had to look behind me for the hidden camera!  Apparently, this is a well-trodden path.  The urge to goof-off at work is, he proposes, rooted in the belief that I don’t get enough “me time” because work is taking over my life. (Self-fulfilling prophecy: as my productivity dropped, I started working weekends and cancelling vacations.)  If I would only schedule some guilt-free play into my week, then that feeling would fade away along with the associated anxiety and resentment.

It’s not as simple as that, but this was the big light-bulb moment for me.  Methods for defeating the other primary causes of procrastination are also presented.  I now feel like I have a whole box of tools at the ready for tweaking the procrastination out of my work habits, bit by bit.  I’m looking forward to applying them, starting Monday.

-Johnny 0.

I bought a psychology/self-help book for procrastinators: The Now Habit by Neil Fiore, and started reading it today. So far so good. I’ll share any lightbulb moments with you. Here’s the first one:

“Procrastination is not the cause of our problems with accomplishing tasks; it is an attempt to resolve a variety of underlying issues… A complete treatment of procrastination must address the underlying blocked needs that cause a person to resort to procrastination. The Now Habit starts with a new definition:

Procrastination is a mechanism for coping with the anxiety associated with starting or completing any task or decision.

Maybe not a revelation for procrastinators like us, but it’s good to find statements that ring so true. This is why simple admonishments to work harder or be more organized don’t work. They don’t address the underlying thoughts that cause us to resort to procrastination.

Working through this book, I hope to discover what those thoughts are (in me, specifically), how to get rid of them, and then to develop some positive habits of thought and action to change me from a procrastinator to a “producer”.  Wish me luck!

-Johnny 0.

Here’s an interesting idea that I recently came across in an article:

In the long run, we can not triumph over procrastination by willpower alone.

In other words, it is not enough for me to force myself to work when I don’t feel like working.  In the short term I will get work done; but in the long term, my “blocks” that cause me to procrastinate are still there.  My negative thoughts and emotions, temporarily put in their place by force of will, will eventually overwhelm me and knock me back into my old bad habits.  I have certainly experienced this cycle (it’s usually not willpower but fear (of the deadline, of the boss) that kicks me into temporary action).

“If you feel stuck with any goal,” the author advises, “watch your emotions.”

In order to beat procrastination, for sure and for good, I have to deal with the “thought errors” that lead me to procrastinate in the first place.  I need to be working from a position of passion, not willpower or fear.

That makes a lot of sense.

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“Perfectionism” is not the obsessive drive to keep working at something until it’s perfect.

In the context of procrastination,…

Perfectionism is the dread of possibly producing something that is not perfect or not up to standard.

This took me a long time to figure out.  A lot of psychology texts link procrastination to perfectionism, but that never made sense to me — there’s no way I’m a perfectionist, I thought, you should see the state of my office — Read More »

Here’s a revealing factoid:

9 to 5, I goof off a lot.

But, when I’ve got to put in time in the evening or a weekend, I work tirelessly.  See, now I’m on MY time; time that I could legitimately be spending on more enjoyable pursuits.

I have this to say about that:

I work for myself now.  It’s ALL MY TIME. This fact hasn’t percolated unto my subconscious yet.

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