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Tag Archives: Cognitive Behavioral Therapy

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

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It’s not just procrastination. I’m also an internet addict, info-tainment junkie, whatever you want to call it. Even on weekends when I have nothing stressful to do, I’m drawn to the email, the Facebook, the blogs.

I’ve been focusing on my procrastinating tendencies, and I’ve been half-successful. At this point, my biggest barrier to success is my constant need for web-borne entertainment and screen-mediated social interactions.

Hypothesis: It’s not just procrastination. In order to make progress on my work habits, I need to address internet addiction.

Is “Internet Addiction” real?

Read More »

Great little article on Lifehacker, I had a lightbulb moment when I read it.

Bring a Little Imagination to Your Work Planning for a Motivation Boost

It’s a summary of a longer article just published by Psychology Today, which you may also read (link in the Lifehacker article).

Briefly: it’s hard to motivate yourself when you are expecting boredom or other unpleasantness from the task before you.  Instead, imagine the good feelings that you will have when the task is complete.  Relief, pride, the joy of getting paid, a day off, whatever is your light at the end of the tunnel.  Take a moment, imagine it, feel it, associate it with the task at hand.  Feeling a little more motivated now?

-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.

The short version is that I have encountered a number of irrational clients over the last few months. This is my big realization. See, it reminds me of my father who from one day to the next could be proud of me, or pissed at me.

No matter what I did, he was unhappy. So too with these clients. Even though I did a good job, they weren’t happy or acted irrationally. That threw me off and made me less interested in working.

Why bother doing a good job – or any job – if people are just going to be pissed or stupid about it?

The income goal and the sense of value I get from knowing FOR MYSELF that I’m doing good work is what is getting me back into things. It’s a difficult lesson for me not to let other people’s ability to be an ass-hat affect me.

“D” muses on the causes of his recent bout with procrastination, and how he is getting back into the swing of things.
Great insights, thanks for sharing!

-Johnny 0.