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  #31  
Old 01-28-13, 02:10 PM
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Thumbs up Re: The Now Habit: A Strategic Program for Overcoming Procrastination, by Dr. Neil F

Yesterday and today have been an interesting experiment. As I posted above, we were stuck at the airport, and I couldn't get the wireless to work, so I drafted something free-form, more or less. It was due today (so I can't really claim to have "overcome" procrastination on this one, but it was also something for which we really didn't have much choice but to push the deadline, because we were out of town and got what we had to respond to just before we left.)

Anyhoo, the draft that I did yesterday felt woefully incomplete and half-***** to me yesterday, but I was still glad to have drafted SOMETHING. Then last night when we checked into a hotel, I "should" have worked on it, but I was tired and didn't. I told myself that I would get up in the morning and crank it out.

Ok, so then my normal MO would be to fester over it and spend the full day fussing with it, upset that I hadn't started on it earlier. But this morning I woke up at about 9:00 am this time zone (which was 8:00 am back home), and I hurried out to grab a bite in the hotel breakfast room, then very quickly wove my half-***** draft (which turned out to be just fine) into the prior brief, cut out the unnecessary repetition, and voila, it was good enough to send. It got out the door to the client by 10:00 am, which was plenty of time for them to get it served and filed.

The lesson here is that that half-***** draft ended up being very worth it, and I cranked that out in about half an hour. Then I spent another hour or so finalizing it today.

Cool.

I also used the "self-talk" concept this morning, because just as I woke up, my first thought was, "Ugh, I 'have to' finish that thing and I'll spend all day on it and I don't want to. I want to swim in the pool and use the fitness center." So I "listened" to myself, there, and asked, "Are you willing to accept the consequences of not finishing it, i.e., leaving my clients (who are also friends) in a lurch?" Answer: "No, of course not." Therefore I "chose" to get up right away instead of laying there ruminating over that "decision." It was a choice, and I was able to make it more quickly by thinking of it in those terms.

Right now, I'm working on paying attention to those things: what I'm thinking of while I'm procrastinating "normally," although just the fact of paying attention is already changing what I'm doing a little.

But the real test will come on a new project, where I have plenty of time and use the reverse calendar to work on it piecemeal, rather than engaging in a mad rush at the deadline.

I've got one t-eed up. It's not a perfect test because it's another one where I don't have a ton of time to do it, because it came to me last week and is due in exactly two weeks. But I'm going to work on that today and report in to you all.

Thanks for listening, guys. This is really helping ME, anyway. Are any of you having success? Please report in.

In case this helps, what is working for me is taking it in stages, as he recommends. The first step is to identify when you are "stuck," ('cause at least for me, it wasn't obvious when I was doing it, vs. just putting a priority on something else that seemed equally important, even though I rationally knew that it was not). The next is to listen to the self-talk and challenge it a little. The next is to identify the options that you're choosing, and reconsider them as "options." At that point, it feels like there's less resistance to acting in the way that you know you "should."

What's working for you guys?
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  #32  
Old 01-28-13, 04:52 PM
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Re: The Now Habit: A Strategic Program for Overcoming Procrastination, by Dr. Neil F

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Ok, so then my normal MO would be to fester over it and spend the full day fussing with it, upset that I hadn't started on it earlier. But this morning I woke up at about 9:00 am this time zone (which was 8:00 am back home), and I hurried out to grab a bite in the hotel breakfast room, then very quickly wove my half-***** draft (which turned out to be just fine) into the prior brief, cut out the unnecessary repetition, and voila, it was good enough to send. It got out the door to the client by 10:00 am, which was plenty of time for them to get it served and filed.

The lesson here is that that half-***** draft ended up being very worth it, and I cranked that out in about half an hour. Then I spent another hour or so finalizing it today.
That's an awesome success story. Hmm. I can't remember which colors have already been selected.

I'm procrastinating rereading the Now Habit book, but I've still been working on some of the principles. I've sort of combined the idea of pomodoros (something I've done in the past but I didn't know there was a special name for them) and the idea of a Don't Break the Chain Calendar (something Seinfield made possible, I think).

I'm using a Zen timer to try to get me to focus on a specific task several times a day. I can set it to chime periodically to get me back on task. I'm making sure I have an unsechedule event or two, some guilt-free play time, each day as a reward for my Zen timers (or pomodoros).

And I'm trying to do this daily (along with a couple of other goals), build up a good habit, and fall back into bad habits by "breaking the chain" too often and missing days of Zen focus and guilt-free play.

I've only been doing the above for a couple of days, but it's really good so far. Sorry if throwing Zen (pomodoro) timers and Don't Break the Chain calendars is changing the subject too much with the Now Habit. I just found some apps for my phone that I thought would help me. I think these things actually go along really well with the Now Habit principles (but I need to start rereading the book one of these days).
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  #33  
Old 01-29-13, 09:23 AM
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Re: The Now Habit: A Strategic Program for Overcoming Procrastination, by Dr. Neil F

Seems totally consistent to me, String. What are the apps? And are you working on one large, long project, or many?

I have many, some short and urgent because I am behind. Some are on-time so far and longer.
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Old 01-29-13, 02:52 PM
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Re: The Now Habit: A Strategic Program for Overcoming Procrastination, by Dr. Neil F

Ugh. I am totally overwhelmed right now. I'm trying to do the reverse calendar thingy and my head is spinning just trying to keep track of everything I "need" to do.

I hate this part. This is the chronic overwhelm/inattentive part of me and it shuts me down EVERY TIME.
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Old 01-29-13, 03:35 PM
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Re: The Now Habit: A Strategic Program for Overcoming Procrastination, by Dr. Neil F

Quote:
Originally Posted by Sandy4957 View Post
we were stuck at the airport, and I couldn't get the wireless to work, so I drafted something free-form, more or less.

This would have gotten me stuck, deadline or not.

Quote:
Anyhoo, the draft that I did yesterday felt woefully incomplete and half-***** to me yesterday, but I was still glad to have drafted SOMETHING.
I'm very proud of you that without your usual materials or rituals or environment you did it anyway. It's the something that counts.

I did this last night. I've been stalling out listening, then I tried reading the book. Couldn't do that-- I have finished a very small number of books in my lifetime.

So now I am scanning the ebook and looking for chunks of stuff I can use. Like changing my language from authoritarian language. Because what hangs me up when I try to get myself to solve problems-- and that's where I get hung up... on problems I can't slow down long enough to solve-- is this angry feeling in the pit of my stomach. That feeling makes me want to tear the Authority's face off like a crazy chimp.

But even if I "choose" to do something small and imperfect. It's just thinking I have to concentrate & focus enough to do things 'right' (not mess up so much) that makes me angry inside. Omg, epiphany-- that's my dad. He used to stand behind us and watch while we did things and wait for us to mess up. When we'd mess up he'd yell to scare us. Grrrrr. It made me want to do NOTHING. I'm still so angry.

Quote:
The lesson here is that that half-***** draft ended up being very worth it, and I cranked that out in about half an hour. Then I spent another hour or so finalizing it today.

It was good enough, as was the something that I just cranked out. Actually it turned out beautiful.

Quote:
"Are you willing to accept the consequences of not finishing it, i.e., leaving my clients (who are also friends) in a lurch?" Answer: "No, of course not." Therefore I "chose" to get up right away instead of laying there ruminating over that "decision." It was a choice, and I was able to make it more quickly by thinking of it in those terms.

I need to do this, consider the actual consequences of what I'm not doing, vs. the actual consequences of me not getting it perfect, etc. It's hard, though because I have the background anxiety of my baby crying, even when it's my work time and she's with her dad. I can't seem to concentrate.


Quote:
The first step is to identify when you are "stuck," ('cause at least for me, it wasn't obvious when I was doing it, vs. just putting a priority on something else that seemed equally important, even though I rationally knew that it was not).
Quote:
The next is to listen to the self-talk and challenge it a little. The next is to identify the options that you're choosing, and reconsider them as "options." At that point, it feels like there's less resistance to acting in the way that you know you "should."

Slowing down this much is hard for me. I move so fast from thing to thing that just slowing down long enough to consider all of this makes me feel extremely panicky-- or like I'm going to explode. Me slowing down to listen to self talk and sort through it all (unless I'm meditating or doing deliberate mindfulness) feels like stripping gears at 60mph or something.
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Old 01-29-13, 05:11 PM
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Re: The Now Habit: A Strategic Program for Overcoming Procrastination, by Dr. Neil F

I am now blind... but will attempt to read again later!
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Old 01-29-13, 05:39 PM
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Re: The Now Habit: A Strategic Program for Overcoming Procrastination, by Dr. Neil F

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Ugh. I am totally overwhelmed right now. I'm trying to do the reverse calendar thingy and my head is spinning just trying to keep track of everything I "need" to do.

I hate this part. This is the chronic overwhelm/inattentive part of me and it shuts me down EVERY TIME.
I'm sort of in the same mode. That's why I didn't know how to answer your last question about the projects I have. Short. Long. Urgent. Not urgent. I'm still trying to figure things out and get organized.
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Old 01-29-13, 05:52 PM
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Re: The Now Habit: A Strategic Program for Overcoming Procrastination, by Dr. Neil F

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I am now blind... but will attempt to read again later!
Did my font color blind you? Shall I change it?
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Old 01-29-13, 06:35 PM
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Re: The Now Habit: A Strategic Program for Overcoming Procrastination, by Dr. Neil F

Quote:
Omg, epiphany-- that's my dad. He used to stand behind us and watch while we did things and wait for us to mess up. When we'd mess up he'd yell to scare us. Grrrrr. It made me want to do NOTHING. I'm still so angry.
Yup, that'll do it, all right.

My dad was a perfectionist, and he could be violent at times, but I never associated his perfectionist tendencies with the violence. He would not, for example, beat me for failing to clean my room exactly as he wanted me to.

My mother, on the other hand, would beat me for no particular reason whatsoever, and TELL ME that it was because of X, Y, or Z (whatever they were, 'cause they changed constantly). She almost certainly has Borderline Personality Disorder, and that was just pure chaos. I became an extreme perfectionist in my desperate attempts to find some sort of zone of "safety," but no such zone existed.

So, Mrs. Dobbs, I feel you. I do.

String, what I ended up doing was sitting down with the hubster and making a list of EVERY project, long, short, urgent, or "pie in the sky," and then gave that list to my paralegal to put into our software. I'll manipulate the "deadlines" assigned to certain things, and the priorities given to them, and then my challenge is to be a slave to that list. Whatever is at the top is the highest priority.

It works reasonably well. It isn't perfect, because sometimes urgent things have to be dealt with first even though they are not at the top yet. But if I could learn to do some of this reverse calendaring and work that into the system, then I would see that "Research the X question" is a high priority, even though "Draft the X brief" is way down the list, if that makes sense?

It's the only way that I've found to make this stuff work and avoid constant chronic overwhelm, though I still haven't mastered the art of guilt-free play very well.
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Old 01-29-13, 09:41 PM
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Re: The Now Habit: A Strategic Program for Overcoming Procrastination, by Dr. Neil F

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Did my font color blind you? Shall I change it?
It's generally advisable to use basic colors and bright colors only for emphasis... a lot of us are sensitive. It's important to keep that in mind, but I wouldn't change it on my account.

(and you aren't acting alone!!!)
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Old 01-30-13, 11:46 AM
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Re: The Now Habit: A Strategic Program for Overcoming Procrastination, by Dr. Neil F

Abi suggested it, Drewbacca.

Abi, you coming back, dude? If not, then maybe we'll switch back to black for Drewbacca, sake.
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Old 01-30-13, 11:52 AM
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Re: The Now Habit: A Strategic Program for Overcoming Procrastination, by Dr. Neil F

Abi come back!!

It was a ridiculous color to pick-- totally lacking common sense & courtesy-- but when I picked it, it looked okay. After trying to read it, though it was blinding.


How bout that grey ^
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Old 01-30-13, 02:02 PM
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Re: The Now Habit: A Strategic Program for Overcoming Procrastination, by Dr. Neil F

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Seems totally consistent to me, String. What are the apps?
I'm running some apps on an Android phone to help me remember my goals and focus.

There are at least two really nice and free Don't Break the Chain apps to help build good habits. One is called MyChain. The one I'm using right now is called Habit Streak.

There are a ton of free Pomodoro and countdown timers. But I'm using one called Meditation & Yoga: ZenTime. It has little bells that go off periodically that help me remember to get back on task. I like the bells better than no sound or the ticking clock sound I found in one Pomodoro timer.

So, to recap, I'm trying to not break my habit chains of daily guilt-free play and of trying to focus hard on work tasks at least five times a day with my 15 minute Zen timer.

I'm not expecting amazing results and I know I'll need to shake things up a bit soon because my brain loves novelty, but the Now Habit ideas -- especially of regularly scheduled guilt-free play and relaxation -- are good habits for me to attempt to work on right now.
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Old 01-31-13, 02:06 AM
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Re: The Now Habit: A Strategic Program for Overcoming Procrastination, by Dr. Neil F

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Abi suggested it, Drewbacca.

Abi, you coming back, dude? If not, then maybe we'll switch back to black for Drewbacca, sake.
My Arch Nemisis, Abi... I should have known...
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Old 01-31-13, 10:38 AM
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Re: The Now Habit: A Strategic Program for Overcoming Procrastination, by Dr. Neil F

I just read this book a couple of weeks ago, and I'd like to join up with you guys, if it's OK -- but I'd rather not use color font.

I'm in the middle of my morning rush right now, so I'll try to catch up later in the day.
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