Learning To Interrput Your Impulses Or Obligation Calls

Posted under Procrastination on Thursday 6 May 2010 at 8:28 am

InterruptI think, there is hardly a person in the world who is not familiar with the following situation. Early morning, your alarm clock is ringing, you wake up and the first thought that comes to your mind is something like this: “Oh, no! It was such a great dream that I was seeing… I’ll stay in bed just two minutes more, nothing is going to change for just two minutes…”

Or, there’s another typical situation. You are watching your favorite Martha Stewart or Ellen DeGeneres Show. You look at your clock and see that it is time for you to start getting ready for going out for a meeting, for a lecture or for a party, but you enjoy watching the show so much and can’t find motivation to give up watching. This is a typical fight between the things we have to do and the things we truly enjoy doing, and it’s a habit of many typical latecomers to make a choice rather for the things they enjoy doing.

On the other hand, this fight does not have to be between the things we like and dislike doing. Sometimes such issues as obligation, duty, or even our instincts can come about. For example, some women can be late because they got set up for cleaning the apartment and do not want to be interrupted by anything else until the work is done. Or some bosses who tend to stay in the office long after working hours and go on working on one or another projects together with their subordinates. These people can’t stop their activities in the midstream because house cleaning or work supervising are really important things that should be done.

Therefore, those chronic latecomers who tend to listen to their impulses and mostly go in for what they enjoy or are obliged to do should learn interrupt their impulses. Sometimes it is connected with being more disciplined, sometimes it is connected with training their willpower. If you are the one who can’t stop doing the things you enjoy, the way to train your willpower can be practicing stopping your favorite entertaining or relaxing activities for a short while in order for your brain to get used to the idea of the interruption. Doing this everyday can help you be more focused on the things you have to do instead of doing what you like doing.

Good-Old Excuses That Always Work

Posted under Laziness,Procrastination on Tuesday 8 December 2009 at 12:03 pm

Do you know that our good-old excuses are the worst enemies on the way to self-discipline and effectiveness? We always say to ourselves “I have no time for this now”, or “It is not the time for this”, or “It is a worthless waste of time”, or “I have no money for this now”, etc. The main idea of all these excuses is doing nothing. In other words, these excuses help us to justify our laziness and inertness. It seems that there’s nothing new in what I am saying now, but give it a thought: how many times a day you use these excuses…

For example, you want to start doing exercises every day and give yourself a word to get up 30 minutes earlier in the morning and exercise. In your mind, you start picturing how your body is becoming more fit and stronger, and you are set up for positive results and new exciting changes in your life. However, when the alarm rings in the morning, you start thinking: “No, why so early? I’ll stay in the bed for just 5 more minutes, it is so warm here.. Well, I’d better exercise in the evening…” And, when you come back home in the evening after hard working day, what kind of exercise can you think about? Especially when it is your favorite show on the TV…

This goes on and on day by day. Every time you have some important problems to solve and things to do which will distract you from making important steps on the way to your goals. We repeat to ourselves that “we have no time for this now”, and in many situations, this way we avoid positive changes. Sometimes we get really used to all these bad things in our life and we are not trying to do anything to change our life for better. I know a lot of such people who go on complaining about their life, but when I offer several solutions for their problems, they just say that they do not have time for that. Therefore, they avoid the things that can change their life for better.

This way, our excuses make us give up solving our problems, that leads to personal degradation, depression, psychological disorders and so on. Our problems multiply and turn into real troubles. What to do? How to get out of this circle? You should look for power in yourself. If you really want to change something in your life, you can always do that. You will destroy your obstacles and achieve your goals no matter what. Do not think that tomorrow (the next week or the next month) you will have more time and opportunities to solve your problem. It is only one of those good-old excuses. What can hold you from making at least a little step to solving your problem right now?

Do those little steps and fight against your laziness, your apathy, uncertainty, fears and hesitations. It is always easier to postpone and procrastinate, but your problem will not be solved this way. When we are trying to solve our problems and overcome obstacles, we develop and progress. If you have a problem, you always have power and means for solving it. When you overcome the obstacle and solve your problem, you are becoming stronger and more powerful. The obstacles we overcome give us power! Remember this all the time, remember that you are a strong person and remember that there is always the way out!

The Procrastination Equation

Posted under Procrastination on Friday 11 September 2009 at 1:24 am

Procrastination EquationProcrastination is a serious problem of many modern people, which actually goes several hundred years back and was troubling humanity centuries ago. St. Augustine, a Father of Latin church, who lived and worked in the IVth century, spent years in studying the issues related to procrastination. This concept helped St. Augustine to fight against his physical and mental temptations, that is why he was looking at positive sides of procrastination. Another famous scientist, Leonardo da Vinci,  was also a victim of this negative behavioral model. Due to his chronic delaying, lots of his paintings and bright technological ideas were left half-done. Mark Antonius, Samuel Taylor Coleridge, Douglas Adams, Agatha Cristie and many more of famous successful people were chronic procrastinators as well.

Why do we always start a new life or a cholesterol lowering diet tomorrow, not today? Why our kitchen should be cleaned right before important exams? Why we have a tendency to check out our e-mail messages every morning instead of coming straight to work? Why do we go on putting the things off even knowing about negative consequences of procrastination? A scientist from Canada Piers Steel, as associate Professor of industrial psychology at Haskayne School of Business (University of Calgary), studied these issues for more than 10 years, and his research ended up with creating a new concept called the Temporal Motivation Theory, publishing a wonderful book and a series of articles in the journal of the American Psychological Association.

The heart of procrastination“, the specialist says, ” is an adaptive natural tendency to value today much more than tomorrow“. It is interesting that Steel decided to use a complex mathematical approach to the problem of putting things off and attempted to create a formula, which would define procrastination. The specialist claims that chronic delaying can be expressed by the following Procrastination Equation: U=EV/ID, where U is our desire to complete a certain task (or our drive to delay the completion). At that, E is expectancy to succeed at the task, V is the value of the completed task, I is the degree if urgency of the task and, finally, D is our individual sensitivity to delay.

After studying the subject both from theoretical and practical perspectives, Steel offers several innovative explanations of procrastination as a social phenomenon. The expert is convinced that the majority of today’s procrastinators (which, according to Steel, account up to 5% of today’s population) are not just lazy people who want to avoid doing the things they do not want to do. He says that such factors as our natural impulsiveness, a lack of self-knowledge or self-confidence,  an absence of strong motivation and our natural desire to see immediate results are among the main factors that contribute in development of this bad habit. The Temporal Motivation Theory, the procrastination equation and the study in general received positive reaction of many management specialists, who found it applicable to modern business leadership practices.

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