View Full Version : The Now Habit: A Strategic Program for Overcoming Procrastination, by Dr. Neil Fiore


Sandy4957
01-21-13, 11:49 PM
Hello All,

Ok, so I'm pretty enamored with The Now Habit, A Strategic Program for Overcoming Procrastination and Enjoying Guilt-Free Play, by Dr. Neil Fiore. I don't have any relationship to him or the book other than that I paid for a few telephone sessions with him, which were helpful.

I'm convinced that his insights are the key to overcoming a procrastination habit, but I'll admit that I have not followed his advice to the letter. I've accepted the insights and incorporated them a bit into my life, and that gave me some improvement. But I need to get better at it, particularly so that I can, in fact, have some "guilt-free play," which should include (in my case, anyway) some exercise.

Is anyone interested in working through his steps with me, and maybe using this thread as a place to check in with one another and talk about what's working and what isn't?

I am currently re-reading the book and just finished the second chapter. I tracked my time all day today, as he recommends that you do for three days.

I find it interesting that the mere FACT of recording everything that I do causes me to stay on task more. If I've written down that I'll start making the bed at 8:35 am, then I don't do my usual deal where I'm making the bed, brushing my teeth, checking Facebook, feeding the cats, loading laundry, and shopping for exercise equipment online, all at once. :D

Anyway, anyone interested in joining me in this?

Sandy.

mrs. dobbs
01-22-13, 04:23 AM
I really want to, as I am screwing up majorly with my projects. But I:

1. Haven't read or listened to the book, is it possible to skim it?
2. Have a baby. Which throws lots of spontaneity into things.
3. Have very low energy (messed up thyroid/cortisol) so pretty sluggish at the moment.

On the other hand, I have tons of guilt and turmoil from not being on task, can't relax, and completely panicked about money and making a living.

I really need to calm down, stop multi-tasking and make better use of my time. Slow and steady wins the race.

amberwillow
01-22-13, 06:36 AM
I'm interested, but also have not read the book mentioned. I'll try and get hold of it Sandy.

Sandy4957
01-22-13, 11:23 AM
Hey folks,

Check your libraries. The book was first put out in 1989. There was a re-release (in paperback) in 2007. I see it on Amazon for $10 or so, and there's a Kindle version and and audiotape. Mrs. Dobbs, when I first "read" it a few years back, I listened to the audiotable while I exercised, because I was not able then to focus long enough to read a whole book.

If you go with the audiobook route, there is some benefit to being able to see the charts that he does, just fyi. But we can work around that.

You all don't have to be caught up with me to do this with me. I'll get as much benefit from "leading" this group even if we're not all on the same page. I suppose that the only thing that I'd ask is that those who participate actually attempt to get through it, at least while we're working on it.

Right now, I'm working on tracking my time for three full days. I've got one under my belt, and already I can see that my sleep aid has me sleeping over 10 hours a night, so I'll probably cut that out and see if I can get through a full night without it, and how much sleep I need then.

mrs. dobbs
01-22-13, 02:16 PM
Yes, I will get my hands on it tonight.

I have a major problem with reading when it's non-interactive text or I'm not cramming for something.

I hope you get more people in your group so you can flex your leadership skills!!

String
01-22-13, 05:39 PM
I have the book. I read most of it a few years ago. One of my favorites. I was just thinking yesterday that I should reread it.

I need to reset and figure out the whole guilt-free play/unschedule stuff again. I'm not sure how we'll use this thread, but I'll check back.

I need a lunch break right now. Thinking about this book has just helped me decide to leave my desk for a few minutes. Bye!

Sandy4957
01-22-13, 06:45 PM
I need to reset and figure out the whole guilt-free play/unschedule stuff again. I'm not sure how we'll use this thread, but I'll check back.

Yeah, String, that's my big issue, too. I'm not entirely sure how the thread will help, but I'm thinking that we can share insights into what is working for US, the ADHDer procrastinators.

So one thing that I pretty much blew off last time is the whole bit on self-talk. I'm not a warm fuzzy and I don't tend to care for warm-fuzzy approaches. I want insight. I don't care if it's delivered to me in a nice way, or if someone "hurts my feelings" in the process.

Thing is, though, when I try very hard to speak to myself in terms of "I will," "I choose," and "I would like to," I am far less resistant. I never thought that resistance was a big thing for me, but more and more, I'm beginning to think that it's a huge one. I am self-employed, now, so there's no one to "resist" anymore, other than circumstances, and yet, I still sometimes procrastinate a lot on some things.

And at the same time, I am absolute CRAP when it comes to "guilt-free play." I'm not sure that I ever knew how to do it. Seriously, I suspect that I couldn't do it even as a kid... But I really WANT (stops self from saying "need") to start exercising, because my back hurts all the time, I have high blood pressure, and I've gained weight. AND I know that it will help my brain. It's just time for me to get this **** down pat. If I don't start now, I'm heading down a road that won't be very fun for me in my 50s and 60s.

And it's time for other reasons. I'm financially stable again. My hubby is supportive. I no longer work for ******* sons of *******. :D I'm self-employed, so I can go for a walk in the middle of the day. There is no good reason on Earth why I am sitting at my computer, procrastinating, thinking that I can't afford to go for a walk today, and then feeling deprived.

It's time to finally whip this thing. :) I made it halfway before. Now it's time to kill it dead. :D

String
01-22-13, 08:29 PM
I've got the exercise thing down pretty well. But I do that early in the morning by myself. It's kind of fun, but not extremely recreational and not social at all.

And I used to be really good at the guilt-free play when I was younger. I didn't feel much guilt because I was always forgetting all the stuff I was supposed to be doing and spacing off into my own little world anyway. But now that I'm older and my spacing out has caused a lot of past problems, I still space off and think about play, but I seldom play. And I seldom finish any of the fun things I want to do in my life. Sometimes I'm not even sure what those are nowadays.

I'm also trying to figure out how to do the fun things in a way that will recharge me better so I'm more productive at the not-so-fun things. And I need to be way more social as part of my guilt-free play. I'm single parenting right now and need to find time for guilt-free play with the kids and making friends and even dating. I'm a little introverted. Amiable with lots of acquaintances, but kind of introverted. If I remember right, the Now Habit made a point that part of guilt-free play was often doing stuff with others.

But I think I need to look at the book again to get some ideas on how to move forward. It'll be good to discuss this with someone. Thanks for starting this thread!

Sandy4957
01-22-13, 09:48 PM
Sometimes I'm not even sure what those are nowadays.

This is the crux of the problem for me. I come from a pretty bizarre family. There's a photo that my brother has of him and me driving these little cars at Knott's Berry Farm in Southern California, when we were kids. I'm probably 8 years old, maybe 9. He's 3 or 4. I have my hands PRECISELY at 10 and 2 and am intent on making sure that the little guide under the car never hits the metal guide in the road. My brother is looking out the side of the car, bored, obviously trying to figure out why he's there.

His caption for that is, "Two Children Who Don't Know How to Have Fun."

Bingo. :(

I have to (strike that), I WANT TO. I CHOOSE TO unlearn those instincts, 'cause I'm 46 years old and I don't want another 30 years of it. I want to feel good about myself for once. :)

BTW, just an FYI to my friends on here, that may be why I'll be in and out at bit. I'll jump in, post on something, jump back out. If you want my attention on something, please PM or VM me.

I'm very happy about Dr. Fuzzy's victory today. It is always good when one of us achieves what we set out to do, even if it comes at a cost. :)

Sandy4957
01-23-13, 07:55 AM
Ok, so I finished re-reading Chapter 4 on Guilt-Free Play, Quality Work last night and went to bed feeling kind of depressed that I can't come up with anything that I think of as "guilt-free play." Even when I had my horse (which is probably the thing that I love most in the world: playing with horses), I still felt guilty every time I went out there, and as a result, I didn't go much and then felt guilty about that. :(

I'm such a mess about this stuff. :(

So anyway, this morning when I couldn't sleep because I took half the dose on the sleep aid, I decided rather impulsively that I will join a neighborhood martial arts gym for three months and take every class that I can. It's $99 for the whole three months, so very reasonably priced. And the gym is about three or four blocks from our house, so within easy walking distance, even in the wintertime.

Other things that occurred to me can be guilt-free play for me right now, 'cause I'm going to have to take baby steps, here...

I like to cook, but only when I don't have to clean up. S'okay, 'cause the hubster will clean up after me if I've cooked. :)

I like to go grocery shopping, but not at the big stores, just the little grocery stores, like coops, and I gotta check that a bit 'cause they're REALLY expensive. :eek: But maybe I'll reward myself with guilt-free runs to Penzeys and my local coop for specialty items.

And I like planning for, making, and consuming fancy cocktails. :o

String, I'm kind of your opposite, actually. I'm very extroverted, and the problem that I'm having is that now that I'm self-employed, I don't see any of my chick buddies very often. They all have little kids and work in new places, so that's natural. But I find myself feeling lonely. So this morning I'm going to walk with my neighbor and her dog. Anyway, it occurs to me that you're likely best off seeking out one-on-one interactions, rather than groups, don't you think? Do you have a workout buddy, maybe?

So what do you guys do for guilt-free play? Are you able to make it truly guilt-free?

And Dr. Fuzzy, if you're checking in, my hubby was picking up my copy of The Now Habit last night and pledging to read it, because he was razzing me about how I'm trying to change my "self talk," 'cause it's supposed to help, and I said, "Yeah, big man? When last did you get me a draft brief ['cause we work together] any earlier than the day that it's due???? Hmmmmm?" :D He had to reluctantly admit that I'm not alone with this issue...

If Mr. Dr. Fuzzy (also Dr. Fuzzy, I guess), would be willing to pick up the book and read through it, he'll see how much his own approach to this is likely making it WORSE for you, not better. :(

Ok, all, signing off now. Heading to Florida tomorrow morning with some friends (we're going to DisneyWorld! :rolleyes:), so not sure how much I'll be able to check in, but I'll be interested to hear what insights, struggles, breakthroughs you all are having...

String
01-23-13, 02:22 PM
String, I'm kind of your opposite, actually. I'm very extroverted, and the problem that I'm having is that now that I'm self-employed, I don't see any of my chick buddies very often. They all have little kids and work in new places, so that's natural. But I find myself feeling lonely. So this morning I'm going to walk with my neighbor and her dog. Anyway, it occurs to me that you're likely best off seeking out one-on-one interactions, rather than groups, don't you think? Do you have a workout buddy, maybe?

Yeah. I've never been that good at close friendships. Then my wife left me and I realized that all of my guy friends are still married and, for some reason, that makes it a little hard because I'm now in a different situation. Not sure about an exercise partner. Although, that would probably be good. I'm starting to kind of get out more, though. I was just asked to a dinner party with some other single people.

Your guilt-free play ideas sound awesome. I think you're on the right track. I brought the book to work with me today and I'll start going through it a bit.

Another reason I'm glad to be looking at this book again is that I just started taking Ritalin (at the moment, not sure if I'm going to continue). When I'm taking Ritalin, I need to be more careful about doing the fun things. I get less spacey, but I sometimes get a little bit too serious.

mrs. dobbs
01-23-13, 05:59 PM
I'm listening to the introduction now. I scanned the Six Warning Signs of Procrastination and it helped me realize why I am procrastinating... well, several reasons. Number five was a big one:

5. Are you indecisive and afraid of making a mistake?
- Do you delay completing projects because you try to make
them perfect?
- Do you fear taking responsibility for decisions because you're afraid
of being blamed if some thing goes wrong?
- Do you demand perfection in your work?
- Do you expect to be above mistakes and criticism?

My number five is that my mom and sister got interested in what I was doing. My sister looked at other products of the same type and she said "oh I'm not worried you can do better than that" but the fact is I can't just yet, not enough money or the right equipment, or time. So I'm procrastinating because I feel I need to create something simpler and disappoint/not get the encouragement I need. They keep asking to see what I'm doing. I don't feel like showing it to them because they don't understand the process. In the meantime, I don't have anyone to cheer me on and I'm failing to cheer myself on. Add constant anxiety over my baby not getting enough... whatever... and it's easier to escape here to ADDF.

Abi
01-23-13, 06:09 PM
I'm in. I've cycled out of my latest psychiatric episode, and plan on getting back to my dissertation work tomorrow.

I also start a new part time job in under two weeks. This is the first time I'll be working in almost 5 years.

I'll get the ebook ASAP.

Abi
01-23-13, 06:36 PM
I suggest we each choose a specific colour for our posts and progress reports. I choose purple.

Sandy4957
01-23-13, 06:52 PM
Awesome, Abi! Glad to have you and glad to hear that you're back on track (didn't know that you were off-track, but it's good to have you back anyway).

I'm down for colors, although you chose my favorite. :( I'll go with blue, then.

Mrs. Dobbs, this book is really the ONLY thing that I ever came across that made SENSE to me with respect to why I do what I do, and (when I did it this way) so pathologically. I knew that I didn't want to do it, but I was powerless to change it.

And like I said, just having that insight made a difference. I'm far better now than I was, but still, there are certain projects (generally ones where I worry about being "judged" by someone that I particularly respect :o) that are harder for me than others.

Sandy4957
01-24-13, 12:46 AM
So, ok, I sort of "did it" just now. :)

I was sitting on my bed. It was about 9:00 pm, and I'm tired because I slept poorly last night and ended up getting up at 4:00 am or so.

We're going out of town tomorrow and I wanted to do two things before we left: 1) (ehem) wax my legs :o, a messy and time-consuming project; and 2) pack. We're only going to be gone for four days.

Thing is, though... I'm tired. So I was sitting here on the bed feeling that... "inertia" is really the best way to describe it. I was thinking: "I don't want to do either of these things now; I just want to go to bed." And I was also thinking "If I start either of those two projects now, I'll be up all night, whereas if I just leave them to the morning, I'll be scrambling, but I'll still somehow manage to get them both done." This latter point is also true. I managed to accomplish the same two tasks in about two hours one morning back in September, but that time I was packing for a THREE WEEK vacation overseas. :eek: So I would make it either way, but it would inevitably be a scramble, because in addition to resisting starting now, I would also resist getting up on time, etc.

So, ok, I was sitting there thinking these things, and I thought, "This is you procrastinating. This is a part of what you do."

So I analyzed what sort of "self-talk" I was using, and it was, "I don't want to," and "if I start now, I'll never have any rest; I never get to rest." And then finally, I was feeling a little overwhelmed because I didn't know whether it was "better" to do the one or the other tonight, since doing both tonight didn't seem possible.

What was interesting was that then my rational, adult, mature, intelligent self said, "That's all just dumb," and I hopped up and started gathering things together to pack.

Now, mind you, I'm not packed YET, but the hard part is over. I have everything laid out. I've got my clothes for tomorrow set out (because we're needing to pack just one bag for both of us). I've got the toiletries packed up. I'm very much ready to go, and fact is, I can likely still even manage to get the waxing done before midnight if I want to. It takes about 45 minutes to do.

Usually, my MO would be to worry about it, then go to sleep, but sleep fretfully (because I'm still worrying about whether I'll be ready in time) and then scramble around in the morning to make it.

Just thought that I'd share that little teeny, tiny victory with you all. :D

I even have time to post this!!! :lol:

Sandy4957
01-24-13, 01:55 AM
So, second update. I actually packed after that last post and was done by 11:22 pm, so I've been "rewarding" myself with "guilt-free ADDF time."

Ok, signing off now and hitting the hay, and thanks for joining me on this, guys.

mrs. dobbs
01-24-13, 03:09 AM
I will claim cerise as my color. I hope it doesn't hurt the eyes too much. Tell me if it does.

Sandy, it sounded like your "I can't" "I don't want to" self-talk is a clever way of making you pass the time while the background anxiety would have you avoid making any moves. The old familiar scramble is what we know, anxiety comes with changing routines and doing things ahead of time. I'm glad you had a voice to cut the ********, and tell you that you could handle it.

You are so right about the domino effect of putting things of procrastination. There's no reason to believe that you would have been any more motivated in the morning to get everything done.

I like how you picked the most essential thing to do first, too. And you did it in steps. Just laying things out-- not saying "it all must be packed."

Well done!!! And good demonstration of the process. Thanks!

amberwillow
01-24-13, 05:01 AM
I'll choose green because you took my favourite Sandy.

I had to be very strict with myself in order to resist reading this thread at work today. I'm very excited by this project and will look in my local library tomorrow (since it's one of my days off).

Fuzzy12
01-24-13, 05:52 AM
I'm in. Well, I'll try :rolleyes:

I've skimmed over the book. It made a lot of sense to me but I've already forgotten most of what I've read. I'll try to read it properly again. Anyway, chapter two. So I'll try to record tomorrow and day after, everything I'm doing and for how long. :)

mrs. dobbs
01-24-13, 11:49 AM
This book is great. I am understanding my early training about getting things done. My parents were major procrastinators and discipline and duty were miserable and entailed alot of suffering. They were hard workers who took on heavy responsibilities. Emphasis on a subjective experience of hard and heavy. It's as if my dad hated waking up every day. My parents were constantly overwhelmed and never did anything guilt free. My dad couldn't play. So he when he wasn't working miserably, he dissociated his life away in front of the TV. I think he never felt he was enough.

I don't believe in laziness either, not in anyone. People naturally want to do things.

Abi
01-24-13, 11:58 AM
This book is great. I am understanding my early training about getting things done. My parents were major procrastinators and discipline and duty were miserable and entailed alot of suffering. They were hard workers who took on heavy responsibilities. Emphasis on a subjective experience of hard and heavy. It's as if my dad hated waking up every day. My parents were constantly overwhelmed and never did anything guilt free. My dad couldn't play. So he when he wasn't working miserably, he dissociated his life away in front of the TV. I think he never felt he was enough.

I don't believe in laziness either, not in anyone. People naturally want to do things.


I'm not so sure about the last line.

I've started reading, and some of the stuff "just doesn't speak to me".

I do not have, and never have had "a desire for fruitful activity" and such.

I really am LAZY. I don't even consider the word a pejorative.

The ONLY reason I study and work is fear of poverty. Well, okay, I enjoy my studies, sort of.

If someone gave me 10 million dollars tomorrow, I would retire.

I would probably continue with my research, but at a much slower pace, and on my own terms, possibly not satisfying the requirements for a degree.

But apart from that I would sit on my ***, eat pizza, drink (more expensive) alcohol, travel, and sleep with high-priced hookers.

mrs. dobbs
01-24-13, 12:11 PM
The ONLY reason I study and work is fear of poverty. Well, okay, I enjoy my studies, sort of.

If someone gave me 10 million dollars tomorrow, I would retire....
eat pizza, drink (more expensive) alcohol, travel, and sleep with high-priced hookers.

Like you, if I had a bunch of money I'd travel, eat, go see weird plays, stay in hotels and if I were single... try love for hire.

But that's not lazy!! That's doing things, lots of things. If you didn't have to "work" you'd probably do so much more. Fear of poverty is at the root of why we think we are lazy if we are happy.

TheChemicals
01-24-13, 12:16 PM
Hello All,

Ok, so I'm pretty enamored with The Now Habit, A Strategic Program for Overcoming Procrastination and Enjoying Guilt-Free Play, by Dr. Neil Fiore. I don't have any relationship to him or the book other than that I paid for a few telephone sessions with him, which were helpful.

I'm convinced that his insights are the key to overcoming a procrastination habit, but I'll admit that I have not followed his advice to the letter. I've accepted the insights and incorporated them a bit into my life, and that gave me some improvement. But I need to get better at it, particularly so that I can, in fact, have some "guilt-free play," which should include (in my case, anyway) some exercise.

Is anyone interested in working through his steps with me, and maybe using this thread as a place to check in with one another and talk about what's working and what isn't?

I am currently re-reading the book and just finished the second chapter. I tracked my time all day today, as he recommends that you do for three days.

I find it interesting that the mere FACT of recording everything that I do causes me to stay on task more. If I've written down that I'll start making the bed at 8:35 am, then I don't do my usual deal where I'm making the bed, brushing my teeth, checking Facebook, feeding the cats, loading laundry, and shopping for exercise equipment online, all at once. :D

Anyway, anyone interested in joining me in this?

Sandy.

ill check it out tonight and add to the thread.

ADDAWAY
01-25-13, 01:40 AM
Hey, HB. Book's on order. Safe travel & minnie fun times! I choose this font color! :D

I'll start with cheering y'all!

dogluver358
01-25-13, 09:52 AM
I'll choose this font color. I'm ordering the book when I get paid. And until then I'm going to see if my local library has a copy! :) Sounds like a good book!

Sandy4957
01-27-13, 04:21 PM
I am so glad that y'all are doing this with me! :D. Can't do color 'cause I'm on my phone. So what sort of projects are people working on right now?

Sandy4957
01-27-13, 04:29 PM
Especially great to see you, Hon. Bun.!!!! Luthien has a thread up now, did you see?

Sandy4957
01-27-13, 04:32 PM
Abi, you say that, but I'd lay odds that if you actually had that opportunity, you would find some sort of fulfilling "work," like, perhaps, creative writing... :)

Sandy4957
01-27-13, 05:11 PM
OK, so I sort of "did it" again, here. We're at the airport, and the wireless isn't working. That's certainly usually enough to shut me down. I thought, "I 'need' to write this short memo., but I can't w/ out internet, because the draft will be incomplete [imperfect]." But I knew the gist of what it needed to say. So I wrote a draft completely free-form, then shut down my computer and went for a walk around, and now I'm reading chapter 5.

I am extra motivated because you all are with me!! :)

Sandy4957
01-28-13, 02:10 PM
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. :D

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?

String
01-28-13, 04:52 PM
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. :D

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).

Sandy4957
01-29-13, 09:23 AM
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.

Sandy4957
01-29-13, 02:52 PM
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. :(

mrs. dobbs
01-29-13, 03:35 PM
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.

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.

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.

"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.

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."
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.

Drewbacca
01-29-13, 05:11 PM
I am now blind... but will attempt to read again later!

String
01-29-13, 05:39 PM
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.

mrs. dobbs
01-29-13, 05:52 PM
I am now blind... but will attempt to read again later!

Did my font color blind you? Shall I change it?

Sandy4957
01-29-13, 06:35 PM
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. :(

Drewbacca
01-29-13, 09:41 PM
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!!!)

Sandy4957
01-30-13, 11:46 AM
Abi suggested it, Drewbacca.

Abi, you coming back, dude? If not, then maybe we'll switch back to black for Drewbacca, sake. :)

mrs. dobbs
01-30-13, 11:52 AM
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 ^

String
01-30-13, 02:02 PM
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.

Drewbacca
01-31-13, 02:06 AM
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... :eyebrow:

Footsore Ramble
01-31-13, 10:38 AM
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.

String
01-31-13, 02:43 PM
I'd rather not use color font. :)

I'm really not into the colored font thing either and no one has kicked me off the thread yet. :)

Welcome!

Footsore Ramble
01-31-13, 06:37 PM
OK, so I read this book thanks to Sandy recommending it in some thread or other, and I was impressed with it. I am trying (hah, CHOOSING) to work on the self-talk thing when I notice it, and I'd like to try the meditation exercises he describes. Has anyone done those?

I have been keeping track of my productivity by using this 'Emergent Task Planner': http://davidseah.com/blog/node/the-emergent-task-planner/

which I think is compatible with the unschedule idea, but I haven't yet gotten around to actually doing the unschedule.

I have also set Beeminder (https://www.beeminder.com/) goals for some of my 'guilt-free play' activities, and that is working out nicely so far. I will share links via PM if anyone is curious to see them by way of example.

Sandy4957
01-31-13, 09:01 PM
We can forego the colored fonts. They are a bit of a pain on the phone.

I've been working on the reverse calendar. I use software for my law practice, and it has the option of setting up a "precedent" for various tasks. In other words, you set up the tasks, link them according to due dates, and then you can "assign" a whole set at once based on the "precedent."

I set up two today, and set the due dates to work backwards whenever they fell on a weekend or holiday. That was an eye-opener, because I am forever seeing weekend days as "available" for work, which (of course) has me failing to budget much in the way of "free" weekend time.

On a marginally related note, I worked out for about 1.5 hours today, 30 minutes of which was spent watching part of an episode of Game of Thrones. YEAH BABY! (And I've been much more productive all day as a result!).

P.S. As soon as I'm done with the reverse calendaring chapter, I'll address the "meditation" issue. I've been somewhat successful with using the Deepak Chopra freebie "Meditation Challenges" when they're available. They're short, which is important to me. More soon.

Footsore Ramble
01-31-13, 09:33 PM
I've been working on the reverse calendar. I use software for my law practice, and it has the option of setting up a "precedent" for various tasks. In other words, you set up the tasks, link them according to due dates, and then you can "assign" a whole set at once based on the "precedent."


That sounds very useful. Is this commercially available software?

Nachons
02-02-13, 12:48 AM
Just got this book. I'll read it through and see how it works for me :)

Sandy4957
02-02-13, 06:14 PM
Footsore, it is not something that you'd buy unless you were a lawyer. I think that I paid $1700 for it when I first bought it. It ain't cheap, unfortunately. Too bad Outlook or Google calendars don't have a similar function.

I am in a funk today. I felt great yesterday, but I have one project that I've been struggling to get done, and my failure to finish that is starting to really bog me down and make me depressed. When this is an issue for me it's just such a snowball. Ugh. I completely hate it. It just gets harder and harder to dust myself off and start over on myself, over, and over, and over, and over. :(

mrs. dobbs
02-03-13, 04:52 AM
Hugs. I am struggling with a project, too. I am sick, though and can hardly think. I am panicking actually.

The time frame I had to finish a prototype is all blown apart because I'm leaving the country for a couple of weeks, and I really need to work instead.

I have no idea how to take my work with me, and I can't actually afford, financially, to be traveling right now. But with visiting old folk and family, and babies, you kind of have to make time, sometime.

The whole guilt-free play thing is really hard to organize when you're struggling for money and constantly thinking "I should be doing something to make money right now."

sarahsweets
02-03-13, 07:48 AM
Sandy..havent read the whole thread yet...once I find where the f**k my kindle is (its lost in my house) I would love to get on board.

PS You Rock.

Sandy4957
02-04-13, 01:02 PM
Yes, Mrs. Dobbs, I feel you on the "I should be making money" issue. I've been in that rut since 2008 and it's just overwhelming. :(

Thanks, Sarah. :) I'm not really someone who seeks out "hugs." Not my strong suit, really, but I appreciate the positive feedback, 'cause I am so overwhelmed right now.

Sigh. Just never gets easier. :(

mrs. dobbs
02-04-13, 01:28 PM
It just gets harder and harder to dust myself off and start over on myself, over, and over, and over, and over.

Sandy, I guess each time there's the chance of a breakthrough-- that's what keeps us going at least.

What are the details of the project that has snowballed?

Footsore Ramble
02-04-13, 02:06 PM
Sorry to hear about the overwhelminess (I know it's not a word, I don't care) that's happening to you guys.

I have a semi-victory over procrastination to share -- I actually got my vehicle emissions test and registration renewal done before the deadline this year for the first time ever. Granted, it was on the day of the deadline itself, but I'm still stoked because, FIRST TIME EVER!

mrs. dobbs
02-04-13, 02:35 PM
I will post my things I'm choosing to prepare for in reverse chronological order:

Leaving Friday morning to Amsterdam
- Need to be packed by Thursday night
- starting to pack today
- open suitcase, put lighter, thinner clothes in
- enough outfits/undies to wear for several days w/o washing machine

Cleaning for visitors arriving Wednesday night
- wet cleaning done last
- should organize bills and papers I need this month first instead of throwing them in a bin
- recycling
- preliminary sweeping
- wash everything i can
- organize clothes to pack (means get them out of a pile and put them away or in a suitcase)

Visitors arriving Wednesday night for dinner
- confusion over what to serve them
- have a food delivery but not certain about the tastiness of the recipes or safety of the unpasteurized local hard cheese

Prioritizing normal tasks down:

Too sick & busy right now to cook food delivery, can't let food spoil
- can freeze the ingredients
- how well does pollock (urp) freeze? broccoli? how to freeze them?

Ongoing pressing tasks
- design monogrammed version of motif in circle, arc, cylinder and corner for square
- maybe having "ongoing pressing tasks" is jackballing everything!

Use free Time Boxing app. posted by ADDF member.

Sandy4957
02-04-13, 05:27 PM
- how well does pollock (urp) freeze? broccoli? how to freeze them?

Coat them in water and then flash freeze them on a tray. That's how I'd try it anyway. They may not come out in great shape, but at least the broccoli will work for soup, for example.

The snowballing project is an opinion letter. They're the hardest to contain for me. I tend to keep looking for new information, and then I get way behind and am embarassed and ashamed to face the person to whom I owe the opinion. :(

I used to work with a partner of mine who was as bad or worse than me. We once put together a 69-page, single-spaced opinion letter, which was (of course) ridiculous. No one reads that. I'm like the Now Habit anxiety-perfectionist-procrastinator poster child... :)

mrs. dobbs
02-05-13, 03:12 AM
Thanks for the freezing tips Sandy! The broccoli doesn't need to be crunchy.

So, yeah this opinion letter. It's going to take a scary leap of faith to stop researching and finish it. Even cut some stuff out. Is there someone else (not the partner who you wrote the 69 page latter with) who can help you edit it for concision?

Usually when I get anxious and keep searching for information it's because I'm not really sure what I'm trying to say. I don't have faith in a thesis or opinion that I have to put out there.

Would it help to list your specific anxieties about the letter, and the information you do have? Why do you need to be completely right and up to date? Is there alot at stake? Or just anxiety and pride? What's the worst that can happen if it is mediocre?

I guess maybe dissect your anxiety, what parts you don't feel confident about.

Sandy4957
02-05-13, 03:58 PM
Yes, it's anxiety over not knowing my thesis, but my rational self knows that the thesis is pretty simple. What's getting me here is that my ultimate opponent is a friend for whom I have a lot of respect, and I don't want him to "catch me" making a mistake. I feel like I have to do a "better" job than him, just because I don't want him to think of me as less capable.

It's ridiculous. Rationally, I completely get that. But "getting" it doesn't make much of a difference in terms of action, unfortunately.

The hubster is helping me finish it, which works fine because he can get it drafted and then I edit it, and that's something that doesn't shut me down.

mrs. dobbs
02-07-13, 07:44 AM
Sandy! I am proud of you for handing your opinion letter to your husband. I hope it's going well, you're feeling less blue and you can stay in your groove.

Froze the food.

Using backward chronological feels weird... but it does feel less pressurizing, kind of better.

Choosing also feels much better, if scary. I did alot of anti-perfectionist self-talk yesterday and was successful. Have to preserve whatever sanity I have left. It is not necessary to pressure myself into paralysis. As a result of letting go, I was able to get more done.

I went to pick up the baby's passport yesterday. Trudging through a fresh snowfall for about 30 minutes with a stroller I got a good workout. I went to the market and the plan for braised lamb chops went sunder when I discovered they didn't have any lamb chops.

ADD and general disorientation took over and I ended up at the seafood counter (mesmerized by the many varieties of fish that I don't know how to cook) asking for small amounts of everything. I panicked, could not think, my list was moot... and that was the best I could do. I ended up making celery root/turnip soup with cream and ouzo in chicken bone broth and just laying out a platter of random Swedish seafood things and hard breads. It went fine.

I did not get to work on my design files. :(
Which is what I was I wanted to use the Now Habit and this thread on.
I'm not taking my computer with me, so I'll have time to listen to the book all the way through. Hopefully it will help me in the future.

I am packing right now and trying to get the apartment in order to leave at 5am tomorrow morning.

Sandy4957
02-08-13, 04:54 PM
Here's the thing that I'm finding now. You have to work on the top priority FIRST, but just for 30 minutes. That's what really does buy you the "guilt-free" periods. We got our opinion letter out the door and now we're working on things where we're not behind, and it is a piece of cake (I'm finding) to just do 30 minutes on a top priority. Then maybe 30 minutes more. Then maybe 30 more. Then 30 on something else that's a high priority but not a top priority, etc.

We both (the hubster and me) are using this rule, in part because a piece of what was shutting me down was that HE was working on things that were not bringing in money. They were important projects, to be sure, but not PAYING projects, and that was giving me a lot more anxiety and freezing me up. So now we both have a rule. We both spend four hours on PAYING projects first, and then the rest is whatever we want to do, and that's working just fine.

Turns out that he's right: you get a heck of a lot done in four hours of focused work... :eek: And then you feel just fine taking a break. :)

Britainton
02-08-13, 04:58 PM
Ooh, is it too late for me to get on board? Sandy, you may remember me from a year or two ago (I forgot my password and had to re-register). I'm the burning-out lawyer from Pennsylvania, who's still burning out, but slower now, and looking to "reignite".

Sandy4957
02-08-13, 09:20 PM
Not at all, Britainton. Welcome to the party! :)

If you're in crisis mode and can't focus long enough to read the whole book, here's what I recommend. Download the audiobook to your iPod or cell phone (or check it out from a local library, which I only discovered was possible after I'd bought it), and listen to it. It's helpful to have the hard copy because you can see the charts and stuff, but either way, you'll get the gist from the audiobook.

I have yet to really PRINT OUT and block out the Unschedule for myself, yet. And I'm not getting exercise like I want, but I am starting to think "like a producer," as he puts it. I find myself asking when I can "start" on something and worrying much less about finishing, which really does freeze me up BIG TIME.

But the proof will be in the pudding next week because I just had a big writing project assigned to me due next Friday, so here we go... :)

Gilthranon
02-09-13, 05:42 AM
I want to participate sooo badly in this... but the amounts of text overwhelm me... I feel so tiny now :D

Drewbacca
02-09-13, 11:49 AM
I want to participate sooo badly in this... but the amounts of text overwhelm me... I feel so tiny now :D

Screw the text! Just make it up as you go! :D :D :D

Sandy4957
02-09-13, 04:59 PM
Yeah, just jump in. Can you find the book in German?

Ok, if the Google translation is right, here it is in German, Ocyan:

http://www.amazon.de/exec/obidos/ASIN/3867310033/tipshilfezumb-21

Gilthranon
02-10-13, 02:59 AM
Great, now it's certain I won't understand it... why not Japanese ? =P Why the hell German ? I live in the French part of Switzerland, almost trilingual with English (written mistakes are rather clumsyness) and originally am Dutch, appreciate the input but... =P

String
02-11-13, 02:08 PM
I want to thank Mrs. Dobbs and Sandy for reminding me of the reverse chronology ideas in the Now Habit. Maybe some of my own anxiety and current difficulty looking ahead can be resolved if I start applying them.

Footsore Ramble
02-11-13, 04:37 PM
I have 2 projects that I want to apply a reverse calendar to. Ironically, I'm procrastinating on that, although I'm being productive enough on my regular tasks.

I think the thing holding me back is fear that I will forget a dependent step or something. But here's the deal: I'm going to spend the next 15 minutes working on this, and not worry about whether the result is perfectly correct.

Footsore Ramble
02-11-13, 05:10 PM
Ha! Did it. One of them is pretty vague still -- it's a creative project, and I basically just set a deadline for the final draft that gives me time to frame it.

The other is a work project, and the reverse calendaring was quite useful. I know what my halfway point is now, which isn't simple a matter of dividing the number of days 'til it's due in half, because I had to take into account previously scheduled field days. But I know what daily pace I need to be setting in order to finish in time, and it is quite reasonable. :)

Sandy4957
02-11-13, 06:39 PM
Footsore, oral argument preparation is a bit like that. There's a final deadline, and you can lay out steps, but basically, you just have to come up with a "speech" that feels compelling. So there's a fair amount of creativity involved, and here's what I found really works for that:

Set up appointments in which people you respect will see your "draft" of whatever it is. Make sure that they are people who you are just a little bit intimidated by (i.e., not your spouse, or someone whose opinion about you will be good regardless of how this project goes over), because that will force you to make the project presentable by that date.

I had a big oral argument a while back and it was very intimidating to me, but I mocked it twice to people whose opinion mattered to me, and even though I was not showing them my A game, yet (because I didn't have it yet), what they saw had to be presentable.

Make sense?

Footsore Ramble
02-11-13, 09:41 PM
That does make sense, and it's great advice. I'll try to schedule a couple of 'critiques' along those lines.

Sandy4957
02-12-13, 02:21 PM
Ok, got derailed for a couple days and did my "thing," which is to binge on some TV show for a night or two, but now I'm back AND I have a new Rx for Adderall again. I had pretty much run out and was also reluctant to take it because of my blood pressure. But the doc. ok'd a "test run" of a month of my eensy weensy dose (with regular BP checks) to see if I can jump start an exercise program... :)

Twiggy
02-12-13, 02:33 PM
Would this book work if a person is a chronic time waster and a procrastinator?
That's what I am. I can waste away the whole day and not get anything done.

Sandy4957
02-12-13, 04:57 PM
It is WRITTEN for folks like you, Twiggy. It's not written to the average gee-I-just-don't-feel-like-doing-dishes-today person...

Sandy4957
02-12-13, 05:00 PM
I should say, folks like us, 'cause I do that too, sometimes...

Footsore Ramble
02-12-13, 07:51 PM
Ok, got derailed for a couple days and did my "thing," which is to binge on some TV show for a night or two ...

Ha, that's my thing too. Bingeing on either books or TV. Once I start, get outta my way, because I am finishing TODAY (or possibly tomorrow), beeyotches! If only I could work like that ... :lol:

Sandy4957
02-12-13, 09:29 PM
If only I could work like that ...

I actually DO work like that sometimes, but generally only when I have the pressure of a looming deadline.

Thing is, I ENJOY the work when I do that, but somehow it's pulling teeth to "force" myself to do it, which is how I know that the Now Habit ideas are right. I enjoy my work, but I'm terrified of it being judged and found wanting in any way...

So, ok, Footsore, I just finished the first season of Game of Thrones, as well as Netflix's House of Cards. Other favorites are: Dexter, Justified, MI-5, Lost, The X-files... hmmmmmmmmm... sensing a pattern, here?

OMG: Damages. I can't believe that I forgot that one. That's a one-day deal because I can NOT stop once that one is going...

Oh, and Breaking Bad. Yes, there is a serious pattern developing, here... :giggle:

Lest one think that I lack class, I also enjoy Downton Abbey... Oh, and Sherlock... And just about any documentary.

Gilthranon
02-13-13, 03:40 AM
I make lists and than secondary lists with only several elements of the last one on it. One for the week - one for each day. (and obviously one in general for all the sh*t that's got to be done)

Sandy4957
02-13-13, 02:02 PM
I am finding that there is very real benefit in putting in 1/2 an hour on your TOP priority thing first, and if you struggle to figure out what is the top priority (as I often do), then go with your gut. Whatever is keeping you awake at night, or seems the least palatable, or (in my case) is most likely to generate cash flow ('cause we're in a crunch right now) is my top priority.

Then the lower priority stuff that is less noxious, or anxiety provoking, or whatever, becomes a "reward" even.

Sandy4957
02-13-13, 03:26 PM
Ocyan, I have similar lists, but I use software for it. The big list can be completely overwhelming if you don't break it down that way.

I make them recurring so that they'll pop back up again eventually if I don't get to them.

And the thing is, sometimes listing an item gets it off my mind. Then when it pops up on my list of "to dos" I can say, "Yeah, that's not that important right now," and check it off, so that I don't worry about it again for, say, six months.

Footsore Ramble
02-13-13, 04:09 PM
Thing is, I ENJOY the work when I do that, but somehow it's pulling teeth to "force" myself to do it, which is how I know that the Now Habit ideas are right. I enjoy my work, but I'm terrified of it being judged and found wanting in any way...


I am right there with you. I love my job, and I know I can deliver the quality when I am in the groove ... which just makes the fear of failure so much worse (and dare I say, self-fulfilling, sigh).


So, ok, Footsore, I just finished the first season of Game of Thrones, as well as Netflix's House of Cards. Other favorites are: Dexter, Justified, MI-5, Lost, The X-files... hmmmmmmmmm... sensing a pattern, here?

OMG: Damages. I can't believe that I forgot that one. That's a one-day deal because I can NOT stop once that one is going...

Oh, and Breaking Bad. Yes, there is a serious pattern developing, here... :giggle:

Lest one think that I lack class, I also enjoy Downton Abbey... Oh, and Sherlock... And just about any documentary.

I have Breaking Bad on my list, but haven't started it yet. Everyone keeps telling me how awesome it is, so I'm sure I'll get around to it. I'm pretty well behind the curve with most TV -- just finished season 2 of Mad Men. I'm a big fan of Doctor Who, too. I also love documentaries. I'm actually pretty reluctant to start watching/reading something I know has a lot of books/episodes, because I will feel compelled to finish the WHOLE THING at an unreasonable pace. And, yes, I will skip classes or call in sick at work to do so.

Britainton
02-18-13, 12:30 PM
Got to work at just after 9:00 today (have a cold, slept in, still have cold), and it's just about 11:30 and have done precisely nothing productive.

So, Sandy, it seems your first step was keeping track of all your time, so I'll start with that, and then just do _something_, because I don't think I have the psychic energy to do the _most_ onerous thing I could do right this second.

As for the book, I'm working through (i.e. casually browsing) "Stress Management for Lawyers", and if that doesn't work, the book you recommended is next; I'm always up for something.

Sandy4957
02-18-13, 02:09 PM
Just spend 30 minutes on the most onerous thing Britainton. That's the only way to do it. Just jump in and do whatever you can for 30 minutes.

By the end of it, the panic will subside a little ('cause that feeling is a lot like panic) and you'll start to see what you can do NOW on it.

And, as the book will tell you, NOT WORKING on that one onerous thing is itself WORK for you, because it will continue to haunt you until you work on it. At least if you do SOMETHING on it, you'll feel better when it comes time to go to sleep.

Britainton
02-18-13, 02:44 PM
[...] NOT WORKING on that one onerous thing is itself WORK for you, because it will continue to haunt you [...] when it comes time to go to sleep.

There is much truth here spoke, though, alas, I wish it were not so.

Lo, many a night (including last one) did I kindle the reading lamp to peruse tomes of ancient lore (read Acts I & II of Macbeth last night!) whilst my spirit did wrestle with the burdens of unfinished time sheets, incomplete discovery, and poorly attended-to trial preparation.

Is that a Property Settlement Agreement which I see before me?

Methought I heard a voice cry 'Sleep no more!
MacBritainton does murder sleep', the innocent sleep,
Sleep that knits up the ravell'd sleeve of care,
The death of each day's life, sore labour's bath,
Balm of hurt minds, great nature's second course,
Chief nourisher in life's feast,--

Anon, I must phone the expert witness, the client, the pension administrator, opposing counsel, and draft the Agreement, lest one more month of spousal support pass.

So, 15 minutes is long enough for 20 mg of Adderall to kick in, I suppose I should get on this, then. Thanks!

Sandy4957
02-19-13, 06:37 PM
Ok, so I thought that I'd give y'all a progress report, here. Apologies in advance for the length. :o

I re-read the book up through the last chapter on managing procrastinators. I'll finish that, as well, but just haven't yet.

And I've implemented almost everything he says to do, with the exception of the mindfulness stuff. I do that on occasion, when I'm hugely overwhelmed, but it doesn't seem to be necessary otherwise.

So, just for reference, here is what the "old me" looked like. It's what brought me to this forum about five years ago.

I was basically Fuzzy. (Sorry Fuzzy, but it's too easy to explain that way :D). I felt like my job hinged on every little piece of work product, EVERY time. So I was afraid to ever let anyone see a half-finished piece of work product, and yet, I could never finish things. Give me a high-priority, emergency project where everyone will think me a hero and I was all over it. I'd pull all-nighters and bust out outstanding work product. But give me "plenty of time" to work on something and I wouldn't get to it and wouldn't get to it and wouldn't get to it until it was the latest crisis, and then I'd kill myself like it was any other last-minute project to get it done. And the work product was always good, but I was dying. I was living on less and less sleep and had constant anxiety. My BP was 200/100 and I was DESPERATE FOR AN ANSWER. I wanted an immediate fix, something that would allow me to become the person who I wanted to see myself as, the person who I planned to become, every weekend telling myself that THIS WEEK I'll get to work by 9:00 am, and THIS week I'll bill X number of hours per day, and THIS WEEK I won't go onto ADDF or read news sites, or clean my kitchen until all hours of the night just because it was soothing.

Fast forward to the more recent me, but still not the "new" me. The anxiety is largely gone because I no longer work with crazy people. But fixing the issues and developing a routine has still been a bit of a struggle, in part because I have a new anxiety about cash flow, basically. I will usually be fine, but then something comes along that rattles my cage and I get behind and am useless for a couple weeks.

That's why I decided to re-read the book and to really dedicate myself to trying to follow its advice.

It's dawned on me that there's a lot of faith involved, here. If you, like me, have NEVER had "normal" work habits, it doesn't seem possible that any one program will make the difference. So we try them, and we read a lot of self-help books, etc. (or as a good friend here would say, we skim the Tables of Contents of a lot of self-help books... :o), but then we either implement only a little, or implement briefly and then give up when it isn't an instant fix, etc.

It became clear to me that this was going to have to be like a few other things that I've learned about recently. It would be like business development. No one relationship will make or break your business. No one project is likely to make you "set" for life. What works are the cumulative effects of a lot of small relationships, plugging away, getting the bills out, etc. And the only thing that was stopping me from being able to get those things done was worrying that each time I sat down to do them, my whole reputation or livelihood was on the line...

So, this time, I decided to put the faith in the system itself, and see what happened.

At first, the answer was, "not much," and that was very frustrating. But then somehow I "got" the need to work on the top priority project first. I'd heard that, of course, and it made intuitive sense, but I kept waiting for it to feel "right," before I would just DO IT. When I decided to put faith in the system itself, I did it without knowing whether it would work. And lo and behold, it clearly did. Spending 30 minutes in the morning, first thing, on whatever kept me up the night before made me feel good about myself, and it opened the door to a lot of other stuff.

Like truly "guilt free" periods. I have to admit that I've had VERY FEW truly guilt free periods IN MY LIFE. I always feel like I "should" be doing something, and the only time that I ever gave myself a break was after a truly mind-boggling 5-day marathon work session (with no sleep). Otherwise, if I didn't "have to" work, I still "should be" working out, or cleaning things, or even visiting my horse (which I loved, but couldn't get myself to do very often)... Meanwhile, I did things like go to ADDF and Facebook and read news sights to take mental breaks all the time, and when something was looming over me and making me anxious, I did it all the more.

The other thing that has made a big difference was getting my doctor's permission to try taking a very low dose of Adderall daily (while monitoring my blood pressure), to see if I can get a routine going and get my conditioning up so that I can exercise more strenuously again, at which point (we hope) I may not need the Adderall anymore (or, alternatively, if my BP drops because of improved weight and conditioning, then the Adderall may not make my hypertensive).

Ok, so here's what my routine is now. This method is working so well that I'm posting about it now, even though we've only been doing it for a little while. I can just tell from the way that it's going that this routine is finally going to STICK. So here it is:

My alarm goes off at 6:00 am, regardless of what time I went to bed. I have set out the following the night before: my calendar for the next day, printed out, and enough material for me to be able to work on my biggest priority project for 30 minutes.

The hubster turns on all the lights immediately, and brings me a cup of decaf. coffee, a tablespoon of fish oil, and my "vitamins," which include the 2.5 mg of Adderall that I take twice a day right now. I take my vitamins and the fish oil, and the first thing that I do is set out my "unschedule" for that day in my calendar. (I use electronic calendars, but doing the Unschedule on the electronic calendar is too much of a pain).

Then I work on my highest priority project for 30 minutes, or sometimes an hour. Then I get up, make the bed, brush my teeth or whatever, and work out.

I am actually working out ROUTINELY now, and ENJOYING IT for the first time since college.

We often have protein-fruit shakes around 10:00 am, and then we're eating lunch for about 1/2 an hour midday, when I take my second dose of 2.5 mg Adderall. We cook and eat dinner together starting at 5:00 pm.

And I am being highly productive. I'm ahead of schedule, even on large, usually overwhelming projects. It feels GREAT to be the person that I want to be, instead of the person that I always fear is lurking in the background, waiting to fail. :)

So how cool is that? :yes:

String
02-19-13, 07:34 PM
So how cool is that? :yes:

That's very cool! Thanks for motivating us with your example.

This book addresses all the things I'm working on right now: reducing anxiety, mindfulness, staying organized and productive. And it addresses them with an honesty that I don't find in many other books with similar "programs" for success.

I've just started reading it again. I hope that as I work on these things I'll be able to do half as well as you, Sandy!

Sandy4957
02-19-13, 10:03 PM
That was the thing that struck me, String. Other books on procrastination seemed to me to fail to address the psychology of it. They just made me feel more inept and more shameful. This book made perfect sense. I just didn't have the ability to have "faith" in the system when I first read it.

The proof will be in the pudding, so we'll see whether we're able to maintain this system ('cause the hubster is an important component in it), but so far, so good.

Today I took a "guilt free" bath and read the last portion of the last chapter, just because I said I would. :)

Mr Digital 01
02-20-13, 04:22 AM
*puts up hand enthusiastically*... Miss Sandy, Miss Sandy...
I know it's late and all but I would really like to join you guys if you'd let me? can I? can I? can I? please?

I downloaded the e-book book last night and I'm going to try to read it tonight. I really won't be too much trouble. Please?

Britainton
02-20-13, 11:36 AM
I've been working nonstop from 7:30 to 10:30, even though I was up this morning from 4:00 to 6:00 reading.

It would normally be at this point that I would congratulate myself with a nice binge of notworking, but in light of Sandy's inspirational chronicle from paralysis to effectiveness, there's no reason I can't be firing on all pistons as well, right?

Also, welcome to the "club," Digital.

Sandy4957
02-20-13, 11:49 AM
Yes, Britainton, BUT!!! ;)

Make sure to reward yourself with something every half hour, even if it's merely a 15 minute break on a less onerous task. Because I work from home, I often switch in chores for that. Works great!

And when you've got 4 or 5 hours in, give yourself a REAL break, like going for a walk, or having a beer with a friend, or whatever makes you HAPPY.

Do that just a few days in a row, and you'll find yourself asking (as he says you will), "When can I start [on whatever you need to work on]?" You'll see the work as directly connected to the reward. It's like it's Pavlovian... :o

Sandy4957
02-20-13, 11:57 AM
Of course, Digital. Come on in! The more the merrier. :D

I am always a "more the merrier" kind of gal. The only thing that I wanted to make sure with this group was that the participants would try to read the book, or listen to it, not because I want to sell the book ('cause it's in the library, too, in a lot of places), but because it wouldn't be fair to the author to sort of "restate" it too much on here, if that makes sense... :)

Now if we could only drag Fuzzy over here... Hmmmmmmm.... :eyebrow:

Mr Digital 01
02-20-13, 12:31 PM
Of course, Digital. Come on in! The more the merrier. :D

I am always a "more the merrier" kind of gal. The only thing that I wanted to make sure with this group was that the participants would try to read the book, or listen to it, not because I want to sell the book ('cause it's in the library, too, in a lot of places), but because it wouldn't be fair to the author to sort of "restate" it too much on here, if that makes sense... :)

Now if we could only drag Fuzzy over here... Hmmmmmmm.... :eyebrow:

Thanks Sandy
I have downloaded the e-book and will start reading it tomorrow.
I know I will be behind the main pack, but hey, that's the story of my life!

I have read the whole thread so I have an overview of where you guys are at and the content of the book.
I will check in when I get somewhere with the reading. I'm looking forward to this, I'm not usually a groupy
kinda guy but I'm sure this will be helpful and fun!

Cheers
Dig

Britainton
02-20-13, 12:44 PM
Regarding Pavlov, I would love to "de-condition" a great many of my cognitive/behavioral patterns, and "re-condition" them with helpful ones.

I'm going to court briefly to process a support order (nice brief walk), and when I get back, I've got to tackle Onus Number One and promise myself not to do anything else until it's done.

There is also apparently, "The Now Habit at Work: Perform Optimally, Maintain Focus, and Ignite Motivation in Yourself and Others ". Would that be a better buy if my uselessness is primarily work-oriented, or should I stick with "The Now Habit: A Strategic Program for Overcoming Procrastination and Enjoying Guilt-Free Play"? I know myself, I'll only read one.

Sandy4957
02-20-13, 01:48 PM
Yes, Britainton... My epiphany this time with re-reading this book is that it really is about re-conditioning yourself, which is why it's like training a dog, or cat, or horse, or whatever. (Maybe kids, to some degree...)

You're teaching your brain, "If I do X, I get a reward," and reminding yourself that doing Y (i.e., procrastinating) is not REALLY an escape from what you're trying to escape (i.e., anxiety). You think that it is because it's an escape from work, but in reality, procrastinating is its own form of "work" and actually increases what you don't want (i.e., anxiety).

I have read both books and found the second to be largely repetitive of the first, but a little more focused on management. It more or less expands on the last chapter of the first book.

I'd say if you only read one, make it the first book.

And if we expand this thread to any of his other books, I would suggest that it be "Be Your Strongest Self," which I also read, but which is a larger holistic thing, and I really wasn't capable of "getting" it when I read it. I still needed to conquer this basic problem.

Sandy4957
02-20-13, 02:03 PM
P.S. Britainton, if I may suggest something, I'd re-think this strategy slightly...

promise myself not to do anything else until it's done.

Promise yourself that you'll START on Onus Number One and work on it for 30 minutes and see what develops. Don't focus on finishing it. Focus on starting it.

Now, back when I tried this a long time ago, I tried to do that, but in the back of my mind, I kept thinking "Yeah, but I still gotta finish it by X date because it's a court deadline," so I was still pretty locked into my old thinking on it. I went from court deadline to court deadline without any breaks. I never started projects that were further out from the deadline because they weren't due yet, and I would tell myself that I only needed to start a brief, say, a week or so before it was due.

The Unschedule reveals the fallacy in that thinking, because a week is not 40 productive hours. A week is maybe 20 productive hours, at best, and yet you need 40 to write the brief.

The epiphany here, for a litigator like you and me (who, for the rest of y'all have court deadlines that CANNOT be missed), is that it was critical to start on a project that WASN'T due. So even though you have Onus Number One (and it will help to spend 30 minutes on that), plan to spend another 30 minutes somewhere today on a project that will be Onus Number One in about a month, as well.

Early on, you'll still be playing catch-up and crunch times will be unavoidable. But a month from now you'll be starting that other project in earnest, but you'll already have 10 hours in on it. And in the meantime, having STARTED it will mean that you think through things like, "I should order up these records now," or you'll delegate things out to people so that when the new month-from-now Onus is Onus Number One, it will not be stressful.

Make sense?

String
02-20-13, 02:26 PM
I know I will be behind the main pack, but hey, that's the story of my life!

You won't be behind. Many of us are really just starting to work through the book.

Sandy4957
02-20-13, 03:56 PM
Yeah, not at all, Mr. Digital. The more the merrier. I started this up knowing that I would be "ahead" of most of the participants. Mainly, I knew that starting up a thread like this would help motivate me to keep at it. So it was a selfish reason, to be honest... :o

Britainton
02-20-13, 04:24 PM
Promise yourself that you'll START on Onus Number One and work on it for 30 minutes and see what develops. Don't focus on finishing it. Focus on starting it.
Started on O#1 at 1:30 (pretrial statement due Monday -- ha!), now 3:15; taking a break.

I went from court deadline to court deadline without any breaks. I never started projects that were further out from the deadline because they weren't due yet, and I would tell myself that I only needed to start a brief, say, a week or so before it was due.
The familiarity is uncanny...

The epiphany here, for a litigator like you and me (who, for the rest of y'all have court deadlines that CANNOT be missed), is that it was critical to start on a project that WASN'T due. So even though you have Onus Number One (and it will help to spend 30 minutes on that), plan to spend another 30 minutes somewhere today on a project that will be Onus Number One in about a month, as well.
This will be difficult. I'm only a week behind in my timesheets; does that count?

Early on, you'll still be playing catch-up and crunch times will be unavoidable. But a month from now you'll be starting that other project in earnest, but you'll already have 10 hours in on it. And in the meantime, having STARTED it will mean that you think through things like, "I should order up these records now," or you'll delegate things out to people so that when the new month-from-now Onus is Onus Number One, it will not be stressful.
I just realized, now, that there are some bank statements that I very much need by Monday. This could indeed have been avoided...

Make sense?
This makes perfect sense. To finally work without mortal dread would be unimaginably gleeful. I shall now cease stealing intellectual property and order the book.

Sandy4957
02-20-13, 09:30 PM
I'm only a week behind in my timesheets; does that count?

:o

I have a month and a half's worth of time to enter.... :D

For the non-lawyers, we often bill in six-minute increments, so that means that I have to account for 45 days worth of roughly 4-hour time blocks ('cause I bill an average of 4 hours per day), where I can have as many as 10 blocks per hour...

That's... (tries to do math in head and gives up and grabs calculator...): up to 1800 time entries. :faint:

Chrimineys, I never did that math before. Yikes!!! :eek:

Britainton
02-21-13, 09:06 AM
:o

I have a month and a half's worth of time to enter.... :D

For the non-lawyers, we often bill in six-minute increments, so that means that I have to account for 45 days worth of roughly 4-hour time blocks ('cause I bill an average of 4 hours per day), where I can have as many as 10 blocks per hour...

That's... (tries to do math in head and gives up and grabs calculator...): up to 1800 time entries. :faint:

Chrimineys, I never did that math before. Yikes!!! :eek:

It sounds like timesheets might be the sort of thing you just grit your teeth and bear in 30-minute bursts, before running off to do something not quite so tedious and soul-destroying.

Sandy4957
02-22-13, 04:44 PM
Oh, I'll get it done in a marathon session this weekend. I have software that helps a lot because it tracks emails, and that lets me know where I was spending my time.

Now that I'm working with my new "system," it's easier to track the time because I actually enter it with each half hour. So going forward, I'll be fine again.

And back when I was in a larger firm, I entered my time almost every day, just because you have to to "capture" that much time. But I've slacked since being on my own.

Sandy4957
03-02-13, 12:09 PM
BTW, all, I'm working on an update for you.

Suffice to say that this new "system" of mine is working hugely, and I'm able to see what happens now when I "slide" a bit, which is a huge help because it makes it clear that that AWFUL, "I suck" feeling that I lived with for SO ******* LONG is avoidable. It's manageable. It GOES AWAY, guys! It goes away and STAYS GONE if you stick to the program. :eek:

In fact, when you fall off the program a little, you're fine for a day or two. But after about two, you start to get that "I suck" feeling back :(, and then it'll stay (it doesn't get worse, because you can see that there's a solution, at least). But the only remedy is to get back on the horse and wake up again the next morning "in the program."

Not sure if that makes sense. But last month was a remarkable, TRANSFORMING experience for me, so please don't give up on this concept. It's the only thing that has ever really WORKED in my 46 years on this planet.

:yes:

Sandy4957
03-02-13, 12:12 PM
P.S. I am now re-reading The Now Habit At Work. It's repetitive, but it's a newer book, so the statements are pithier, and a little helpful. Oh, and I did not recognize this before, but he pretty clearly states in the first chapter of that book that he has ADHD and dyslexia. I'll get you guys a quote and you can see what you think, but I think that that's what he says.

yellowflowers
03-04-13, 06:46 AM
Hi Everyone, really delighted to find this thread, I have the ebook of the Now Habit, my procrastination/resistance so bad right now thou can't even read it, I'm gonna try though, I'm driving my self nuts ������

Footsore Ramble
03-04-13, 09:17 AM
A quick progress report: I passed the deadline for those 2 projects that I reverse-calendared earlier in this thread. I got both projects done. I still ended up doing a lot of the work at the last minute for each of them, but I think I whittled down the procrastination by planning ahead.

One of the things I'm seeing is that this will probably be an incremental process for me. So I am trying not to compare my actual behavior (whether I procrastinate on a task or not) with the ideal, but rather with what I might have done in the past. And I am committed to steady progress in that direction.

So far, so good this year! :)

String
03-04-13, 01:20 PM
It's been great to hear everyone's progress. As reported back a bit, I'm rereading the book. Now on page 43. And I'm identifying the reasons I procrastinate.

I think with ADHDers we have some reasons in addition to the ones mentioned in the book. Sometimes we simply keep "forgetting" what we're supposed to be doing. Also, I don't know if the book mentions this, but some of us have a lot of learned helplessness from not being able to deal with our ADHD symptoms very well.

Sandy4957
03-04-13, 09:16 PM
Yellowflowers, try downloading the audiobook and listen to it when you're in the middle of something else. You won't absorb it all that way, but you'll absorb enough to make it easier to read it later.

Footsore, glad to hear it!

String, I was surprised to see that, in the Now Habit at Work book, he more or less says that he has ADHD and dyslexia. Did you see that? So this book really WAS written for US. :)

I am still going strong. The incremental progress is key. It's like something that I often say about cooking. If you've ever made buttercream (real buttercream), then you know that you've got your custard or meringue in the bowl, and you're beating it, and you're adding in chunks of softened butter, and more chunks, and more chunks, and you're thinking, "This is going to curdle. This isn't going to work. I'm going to have to throw it all away..." And then all of sudden, woosh, you have buttercream!

This is like that. You do the pieces. It doesn't seem to work. You do other pieces. Still no results. You're starting to despair, and then you try that last step or piece or whatever it is, and woosh, you're there. You SEE precisely what he describes. You find yourself asking "When can I start?" and you have faith that you'll finish the last time that you start, and you finally, FINALLY have glimpses of the actual, blessed, guilt-free periods, even if they are brief. But those brief periods reinforce all the rest, and then you're committed to the strategy. That's when you see the benefits, 100%.

String
03-05-13, 01:09 PM
String, I was surprised to see that, in the Now Habit at Work book, he more or less says that he has ADHD and dyslexia. Did you see that? So this book really WAS written for US. :)

Thanks for sharing this, Sandy! No wonder this book resonates with me so much better than so many other self help books I've tried to implement.

Sandy4957
03-05-13, 08:37 PM
Here's the statement, btw. It's on page xvii of the introduction to The Now Habit at Work. See if you guys agree with me:

"If you're like me, you may have suffered from some childhood disadvantage that taught you to persevere, overcome obstacles, and pursue your dream. You, like me, may have had a form of dyslexia or attention deficit disorder (ADD) before they diagnosed such things in grammar school. So we who are relatively successful today have learned to turn lemons into lemonade and disadvantages into advantages, to compensate for disabilities, and to develop our own methods of learning and retaining information. It's not unusual to discover that successful people have had to overcome many obstacles on the journey to achieving their goals."

So yeah, he's our peeps. :)

Britainton
03-06-13, 08:49 AM
I bought the book! It's still sitting unopened on the coffee table, but I bought the thing! I've been in trial for 2 straight days, so I haven't had much time to think about any of my other cases, and organization has been easy with two straight days of working with my dearest mistress, Adrenaline.

Now I'm sitting at my desk facing two days worth of e-mails, phone messages, mail, and deadlines on my other cases. Adrenaline has left me for my best friend, Motivation, and they're both off having a tryst somewhere warm and un-frozen while I'm here all alone with only Dread and Guilt to keep me company, and they're nice and all, but noisy.

Tonight I'll read chapter 1. Chapter 2 if chapter 1 is mostly fluff.

Sandy4957
03-06-13, 05:05 PM
my dearest mistress, Adrenaline.

Hahahahahaha! Ah, yes, my one true addiction!! That, and sugar...

Hang in there, Britainton.

First, just do what you do, but track your time. And I don't mean track it like you're billing it. I mean track it every waking moment. See where you're spinning your wheels on things that, in the clear light of day, you know aren't as important as they feel at the moment that you do them.

Then the next thing that you'll do is train yourself to notice when you're doing those things, and pay attention AT THAT MOMENT to why you're doing them.

So, for me, it's cleaning, or going onto FB or ADDF, or sometimes watching TV. I'll get all wound up about something and binge on late night TV, or I'll clean the whole house when I have a brief due in two days. Ditto with FB. I start on something and then feel compelled to check FB or ADDF. And if I pay attention to why I'm doing those things, it's because I'm anxious about whatever the thing is, and simply diving into it makes me MORE anxious, so I seek relief from that.

Do those two exercises for a few days, and eventually what you'll do with that knowledge is you will learn to let the "symptoms" (cleaning, FB or ADDF, or TV, for me), be your signal that you're anxious, and then you'll train yourself to "treat" the anxiety with a better drug. The new, better drug will be WORKING ON THE THING THAT MAKES YOU ANXIOUS for just 30 minutes, no matter what.

Eventually, you train yourself to do that FIRST THING IN THE MORNING, and that gets you off and running every day, so that you're no longer on the treadmill day in and day out. You're on top of your files, and you feel GOOD about your own abilities, and once that fear is taken away, you're actually MORE CREATIVE, MORE PRODUCTIVE, BETTER PREPARED, and just generally more sane feeling...

Go Britainton, go!!! :)

Britainton
03-07-13, 08:22 AM
Hang in there, Britainton.

(picturing that old motivational poster of a cat hanging from a tree branch)

First, just do what you do, but track your time. And I don't mean track it like you're billing it. I mean track it every waking moment. See where you're spinning your wheels on things that, in the clear light of day, you know aren't as important as they feel at the moment that you do them.

Then the next thing that you'll do is train yourself to notice when you're doing those things, and pay attention AT THAT MOMENT to why you're doing them.

Fair enough. I've just opened an Excel spreadsheet and put: 6:44: "tea, ADDF" Why am I doing this? Well, I happen to like tea, and I wanted to check up on ADDF. Maybe I'll close this "Izismile" tab I have open, because I really don't need to look at more pictures of cats doing cute/funny/dangerous things. There, that was satisfying. I'm still going to check on "Language Log" and "Strictly Speaking" because those are fun and rarely too time-consuming.


So, for me, it's cleaning, or going onto FB or ADDF, or sometimes watching TV. I'll get all wound up about something and binge on late night TV, or I'll clean the whole house when I have a brief due in two days. Ditto with FB. I start on something and then feel compelled to check FB or ADDF. And if I pay attention to why I'm doing those things, it's because I'm anxious about whatever the thing is, and simply diving into it makes me MORE anxious, so I seek relief from that.

Your FB, TV, and housecleaning is my peripatetic web surfing, language/linguistics stuff, and crossword puzzles, but I get you. These things are clearly anxiety-avoidance behaviors (although the anxiety remains present during these "escape" activities), but this morning I told myself: "You're going to go into your office, make tea, sit down, and clean and organize your office", and yet here I am. I don't want to say I can't just jump into work first thing in the morning, it's just that it appears that way, and that I lack the force of will to do so.

Do those two exercises for a few days, and eventually what you'll do with that knowledge is you will learn to let the "symptoms" (cleaning, FB or ADDF, or TV, for me), be your signal that you're anxious, and then you'll train yourself to "treat" the anxiety with a better drug. The new, better drug will be WORKING ON THE THING THAT MAKES YOU ANXIOUS for just 30 minutes, no matter what.

This drug is a bitter pill indeed. But maybe "30 minutes" instead of "until it's done" will be the spoonful of sugar that will make it go down easier. Yes, I just referenced "Mary Poppins". I'm anxious, okay; odd things spring to mind.

Eventually, you train yourself to do that FIRST THING IN THE MORNING, and that gets you off and running every day, so that you're no longer on the treadmill day in and day out. You're on top of your files, and you feel GOOD about your own abilities, and once that fear is taken away, you're actually MORE CREATIVE, MORE PRODUCTIVE, BETTER PREPARED, and just generally more sane feeling...

From your mouth to God's ears. Okay, while we're on the topic of theology, I'll take this "leap of faith" with you and see where I land. I'll briefly look over my two favorite websites, and then immediately clean the office and update my case list for 30 minutes. Then, I'll start on my Superior Court brief for 30 minutes. I'll post an update at lunch, but no internet until then. If I have a "break", I'll get more hot water for tea or make small talk with someone

Go Britainton, go!!! :)

Thanks! We'll see. Re-reading my post, it comes off as an exercise in confessional narcissistic exhibitionism, but without such things, what would the internet be, right?

Sandy4957
03-07-13, 10:03 AM
This drug is a bitter pill indeed. But maybe "30 minutes" instead of "until it's done" will be the spoonful of sugar that will make it go down easier.

Yes, that is a key part. I often find it hard to stop, but then I burn out later.

I'm glad that you made the point about not having the "will," because it raises an important issue. Early on, try having the file that you choose to work on first thing in the morning be something that isn't due for, say, two weeks. You'll be less anxious over it, then, and it will be easier to start. Then two weeks later, when that thing is due, you'll see the benefit, and it'll get easier and easier to pick up projects.

BTW, sometimes, when my office is a disaster and I need to clean it before I can work on the next thing (just because otherwise I'm paranoid about mixing up files), I ask my paralegal to help me clean it. She and I laugh about it because we're pretty much the same people, except it's easier to clean someone else's office than your own.

I'll be interested to read your report, but I may not get to until tomorrow, just fyi.

Sandy4957
03-07-13, 11:27 AM
Heh heh. Man, I woke up in the middle of the night and couldn't sleep last night, so I watched stupid tv for a few hours and I am a *******' basket case today. I can't focus on anything. :o

Lest you guys think me immune to these sorts of things... ;)

stef
03-07-13, 12:43 PM
I just know this book will freak me out - so I've decided to buy it when I'm in the states this summer. September is the best time of year for me to implement changes.

I can't believe I'm procrastinating, on buying a book on overcoming procrastination!

thanks for posting all of this.

(I am also really wondering what stupid TV you were watching, but that would derail this thread..)

Sandy4957
03-07-13, 01:36 PM
I can't believe I'm procrastinating, on buying a book on overcoming procrastination!

Heh heh.

I can't recall most of the stupid tv. It was too late for my favorite TPT documentaries, etc., so I think that it was mostly old tv shows. Mr. Ed was one of them.

Why will this book "freak you out?"

Britainton
03-08-13, 09:15 AM
Yesterday and today are the worst setups for me -- no court appearances, and only 1 client meeting, so my time is my own. That is rarely a good thing. Keeping track of my time seemed to help, though; maybe today will be even better? Who knows. I have to get this brief done today because I do not want to come in over the weekend!

5:30 Alarm, teeth, shower, dressed

6:05 bus

6:44 Tea
ADD forums
Language Log
Futility Closet

7:30 Case list updates
Phone call from client
File review, memo to self

9:05 Tea
Voicemails
Phone call to client

9:29 Begin organizing appellate brief

9:30 annotate hearing transcript.

10:00 meeting with secretary.

10:04 Back to appellate brief

10:10 Internet break

10:21 Back to brief

10:30 chit chat, internet break

11:00 Back to brief

11:43 Slowing down, hungry, anxious about finishing brief before too late on Friday. Not taking lunch, so quick internet break.

1:00 "quick" Break over, back to brief

2:15 tea, chit-chat, net.

2:45 client meeting

4:00 Internet game

5:00 bus

stef
03-08-13, 09:24 AM
Heh heh.

I can't recall most of the stupid tv. It was too late for my favorite TPT documentaries, etc., so I think that it was mostly old tv shows. Mr. Ed was one of them.

Why will this book "freak you out?"

I don't want to note EVERYTHING I do
I don't want to start my day with the thing I least want to do. UGH.

Mr Ed? wow it must have been really late...
I think I woke up to that once after I fell asleep because of jet lag.

Sandy4957
03-08-13, 10:12 AM
Well, you don't have to share what you note with anyone else, Stef.

So, Britainton, notice a few things (which is the reason to make note of all of what you do):

From 6:44 to 9:30, you were engaged in "preparatory" things that did not advance the ball on the thing that makes you anxious (the brief that you "have to finish" today, which was in the future yesterday (as in, today was yesterday's future)).

Then between 9:30 and noon, you do real work on the brief for about one hour. This is good; this is progress. But by noon, how are you feeling? Are you feeling like you made progress? No. You're beating yourself up because you have to FINISH, and you're telling yourself that you're going to have to be deprived. You aren't allowing yourself to take 30 minutes for lunch, and you're worried that you'll end up having to spend the whole weekend working on this thing. You've moved your brain into the future "I have to finish by 5:00 pm tomorrow," and your brain is getting more and more anxious about that fact. :(

So you take an hour and 15 minute break (you could've had lunch, couldn't you? You could have talked to a colleague, maybe even brainstormed on this brief, or met a friend, or done something that made you feel less alone and less deprived, but you forewent that because of time, and that, in fact, made you spend MORE time on something that doesn't soothe you). :(

Then you do real work on the brief for an hour and 15 minutes, and you reward yourself with a break, which is good. But then the client meeting eats up another hour and 15 minutes of your day, and by the end of it, I'll bet that you feel lousy, don't you? You've only really put two hours and 15 minutes into the thing that makes you most anxious. That anxiety-producing thing is likely a 40+ hour project, right? And it's due when? Monday, maybe? And all of that preparatory time, all the bus riding time, etc. is not "available" to you to process what you are doing with the brief, because you're not far enough along.

And you're anxious, which is the worst part, because you're focused on finishing. So with that baseline anxiety then every little bump up in anxiety that is just the litigator's normal day will make you so anxious that you need to do something to relieve it, so you're on the internet playing games. :(

Don't focus on finishing. Trust that you'll finish the last time you start.

And try letting yourself take care of yourself no matter what. So you get a lunch break. Period. At noon, stop whatever you're doing, and eat something, and walk around or whatever, for 30 minutes. The non-procrastinators around you take care of themselves better than you do, don't they? They take lunch breaks, or smoke breaks, or something. You're allowed to do that too, not just when you've "been good," but because you're a human being who needs to eat and needs social interaction.

You're doing great, Britainton. This is the first step. Once you start paying attention to what you're doing, you'll see how right Fiore is, which will help you commit to choosing a different path for yourself.

I'll be interested to hear how your next few days goes. :)

And BTW, thanks, Britainton. Because, to be honest, "coaching" you helps me take care of myself better and commit more to doing what I know works for me. So I really appreciate your willingness to put yourself out there.

Do you get paid by the hour, btw? Or are you on contingencies or flat fees? Just curious, because I'm now self-employed and get paid by the hour on many of my files (but not all of them), and that's a big help. Knowing that I've "paid myself" for the day by doing four hours of work on hourly files is a big emotional boost for me. But to be honest, it's hard to do many days. Between administrative stuff and non-hourly deadline driven work, it's a challenge to get that much work in every day.

Britainton
03-08-13, 04:42 PM
[Lots of uncomfortable truth]

I really appreciate you spending the time to pick apart my day as you've done. Having someone else's take on the unfortunate realities that I often suspect but rarely acknowledge or confront is extremely illuminating, especially since recognition of what's going on is so important to the process.

Do you get paid by the hour, btw? Or are you on contingencies or flat fees? Just curious, because I'm now self-employed and get paid by the hour on many of my files (but not all of them), and that's a big help. Knowing that I've "paid myself" for the day by doing four hours of work on hourly files is a big emotional boost for me. But to be honest, it's hard to do many days. Between administrative stuff and non-hourly deadline driven work, it's a challenge to get that much work in every day.

I get paid a salary, but we charge by the hour for the most part, because contingency fees in family law cases are illegal. We're supposed to get in about 150 billable hours each month, which hasn't been all that difficult so far. I'm not burning the midnight oil tonight because I need the hours, it's because the damned thing's due on Monday!

And BTW, thanks, Britainton. Because, to be honest, "coaching" you helps me take care of myself better and commit more to doing what I know works for me. So I really appreciate your willingness to put yourself out there.

I'm glad that this is helping someone other than me. At the moment, both Stef and I are not yet ready to make the unpleasantest thing the very first item of the day, so this might be a long thread.

Britainton
03-09-13, 02:21 AM
Going home now (1:25 a.m.). Brain has turned to goo. Brief not done. Will have to come back tomorrow, maybe after the kids are in bed.

Ugh.

Sandy4957
03-09-13, 05:48 PM
First thing of the day.

Think of it as like a flu shot. Working on it first thing (I don't even get out of bed), takes all that anxiety and focuses it on a tiny bit of progress. Mostly, you'll just come up with ideas, but you'll be diving right in, which will make it less stressful later.

Trust me. It works. The problem for you, Britainton, is that you're so close to the deadline on this project that it can't really work, because you DO have to finish by a particular time.

So spend 30 minutes in the morning on something else, something due in two weeks or more, but anxiety provoking.

If you're going to procrastinate on the brief, it may as well be doing something more productive (more likely to pay you back later) than internet games. :(

Not trying to be preachy here. I'm just saying that that first thing in the morning rule is a pretty critical one to help you "see" the alternative universe that you could be living in.

Britainton
03-11-13, 12:59 PM
Well, I finished the brief "first thing in the morning today", and there was some reward there, and I'm taking a full hour for lunch today, but I have another project that I have to get done by Thursday afternoon to start on now, plus catching up on all my other cases, so not quite reward enough. I'd love to just hit the "reset" button and start from scratch again; I don't know how long it'll take before I stop playing "catch up". But this morning was good -- no distractions, no diversions, no internet wanderings...

Sandy4957
03-11-13, 03:17 PM
You'll feel some relief after two weeks, and it'll be much better in a month.

This is provided that NOW you are spending maybe just 30 minutes per day on something due in two weeks. Make sense?

You're taking advantage of your brain's ability to unconsciously process things...

Britainton
03-12-13, 09:18 AM
Hokay. I'm pretty much flying in "urgent" mode all this week until Thursday (depositions, hearing, motions, etc.), but, on Thursday, I'll spend 30 minutes working on an exceptions brief that isn't due until the 28th, which might as well be 1,000 years in the future as far as my brain usually works.

Also, why am I the only one here transforming my organizational habits? I don't remember taking a step forward -- did everybody else take a step back? C'mon, Stef, show a little solidarity! Sister Sandy can't just be preaching to 1!

Also, funny story -- at 3:51 yesterday, my secretary comes in my office to tell me that the runner hasn't been back yet to pick up my Superior Court brief for filing. Superior Court closes at 4:00. Brief due today. So, I grab the box of briefs, run to the Grant Building, and try to stall the Prothonotary employees to keep the office open until the runner shows up with the copies of the reproduced record.

So, I just managed to keep from getting disbarred and sued by my client for blowing an appeal deadline by about 15 seconds. Life with ADD is fun!

stef
03-12-13, 10:02 AM
hello B.,

well I'm an assistant in a law firm (but for management, very little actual legal work) so I don't have the longterm deadlines. I haven't bought the book, really this is my project for late summer!

I start my day doing "at least something" to get going. whatever I want to put off is usually urgent enough that I can't ignore it more than 1/2 day. this is a huge improvement from coming in and "just checking CNN for a couple of minutes" for example...

Total solidarity though!

Sandy4957
03-12-13, 10:52 AM
Stef, you're in an entirely different position. You really just have to be able to MANAGE the ADHDers in your life (i.e., the lawyers) and your life will be much less stressful. BTW the last section of this book, and the whole book The Now Habit at Work may well be better for you.

Even when you're in urgent mode, Britainton, throw 30 minutes to something else, for a few reasons: 1) those short 30 minute bursts will not cost you anything, because you're going to spend that time doing something else (internet games?) anyway; and 2) they'll really add up over the next few days, so that you'll be able to delegate something, or order something that you'll need, etc., rather than having to do it right at the deadline. The idea here is to have you starting projects as soon as they come in, and giving them progressively more and more of your day as they come due. That way, they're never OFF your radar, which allows your unconscious mind to "take care of them" a little for you.

Just try it. Give 30 minutes to something due next week. Use it as a break from the grind of working on the thing that's due this week.

And no, nearly missing an appeal deadline is no fun at all. I haven't had that, but I once missed a filing deadline in federal district court and it just sucked. Thankfully the court was totally cool about it, but it was the same sort of thing you described. I didn't know that it hadn't been received by local counsel until 1/2 hour before the deadline, and then once they had it in hand, it was too late to make it. I sweated bullets all night after that.

No fun at all. You can't live like that. 'Cause one day surely you'll miss it. And that's a heart attack waiting to happen. :(

You're doing great, Britainton. Hang tight for a couple more weeks and I guarantee that you'll see progress.

What can you spend 30 minutes on TODAY that isn't due this week? Just 30 minutes... :)

Sandy4957
03-12-13, 11:03 AM
Stef, this is just a suggestion, because whether you could actually do it depends on what sort of people you work for. But I've gathered that at least one of your assignments is a lot like Britainton and me.

So here's what you could offer him (it is a him, right?) that would be very valuable for him, and would likely alleviate some of your stress. You could put together an "Unschedule" for him (so that he sees how much of his days are eaten up by basic things that he's not thinking about now), and you could also reverse calendar some of his projects, so that you are giving him little nudges about two months out: "Do you need me to gather together the pleadings that you need to review for the such-and-such brief on the blankety-blank file?" "Any research materials I can grab for you on the blahdy-blah matter, due in four weeks?"

If he gets used to using you that way, you'll become completely essential to his livelihood.

Also, if you're not sure how much time these projects take, just look at his time sheets and see how much he typically bills for them, then use the Unschedule and reverse calendaring to figure out when he should be starting (as opposed to when he likely is).

To give you an idea, I used to typically start a major brief or motion about two weeks before they were due. That's because I knew from experience that they usually take between 50 and 100 hours. But of course, there's no way, when I budget in all the stuff that I do per day, that I could EVER make room for all that without foregoing something (sleep, meals, exercise, etc.), so I went from one crisis to another.

If you know that he always spends 40 hours preparing for trial, then you can figure out what tasks he's doing to prepare (just from his time sheets) and back them up based on the Unschedule and reverse calendaring, then "nudge" him by giving him the materials that he needs to do it, well in advance.

You pull that off and you'll become the most valuable assistant in the office, I guarantee it. :D

stef
03-12-13, 11:06 AM
Stef, you're in an entirely different position. You really just have to be able to MANAGE the ADHDers in your life (i.e., the lawyers) and your life will be much less stressful. BTW the last section of this book, and the whole book The Now Habit at Work may well be better for you.

I also need a diploma in psychology! and perhaps a Taser :)

Sandy4957
03-12-13, 11:13 AM
Ha! Totally! I hear you! :)

I never had an assistant who could help me out of my habit, but I had one who came close. She was good at anticipating what was coming down the pike...

BTW, I was just posting in one of Fuzzy's threads that procrastination is like a drug, and we are addicts. Breaking the habit is like breaking any other habit, it turns out. You find healthier alternatives and stick to them, one day at a time, and bit by bit, you like your new life more than your old life, so you lose interest in the old habit.

Ok, gotta get cracking. :)

stef
03-12-13, 11:35 AM
by the way my last remark (taser!) was not for anyone on these forums, nor my direct bosses.
actually I'm good at anticipating on a small scale, I figure, "I bet he's going to ask about that!" so I'll look up the previous emails, etc...

Sandy4957
03-12-13, 01:57 PM
Totally understood, Stef. I'd have happily let my assistants taze me if it would have meant that I'd have focused on what I needed to do!!! LOL!

Yes, that sort of anticipation makes you very valuable. It's very nice to have that little stack of what you need sitting there when you're, say, about to head out the door for a client meeting or what have you.

Britainton
03-15-13, 10:07 AM
So, I've been continuing to work in "urgent mode" for most of this week, between depositions that I was given responsibility for at the last moment, catching up on work from last week that I didn't get done because I was writing my Superior Court brief, and other emergent situations.

Also, since Wednesday, I've been somewhat glued to the Vatican website and other media watching the Conclave, Pope Francis' benediction / homily, etc., so that's been one major (but historic) distraction.

But today, no more media, but it's Friday, so I'll be tempted to shoot off early, and my boss wants this Pretrial Statement done today, so I need to motivate myself to just do the thing.

Any suggestions?

Sandy4957
03-17-13, 02:39 PM
Sorry I missed this, Britainton. I was in the middle of settlement negotiations on something and didn't log in much.

My advice would have been to dive into it for 15-30 minutes, just to see what happened, and then go take a short break doing something rewarding (like getting lunch, or talking to a friend, or planning part of the weekend). And then I'd have tried to do several 30 minute stretches for the rest of the day with the thought that IF I finished it by the end of the day, I could avoid going in over the weekend.

I'll bet that not working on a weekend is an unusual treat for you, eh?

Footsore Ramble
03-17-13, 04:08 PM
So, this last week was interesting. I am pretty much caught up on my urgent stuff, and so I was able to put time into some non-urgent things of varying importance. My normal habit would be to slack off at this point.

Well, I did slack off some, but not all the time. I cleaned my office on Monday, which resulted in me finding some useful papers and tools that I'd been missing. I finally finished reading a paper that a colleague gave me back in September (!) and put some thought into the response I want to give him.

I want to re-read the book at this point, especially the bit about changing your self-talk. I keep catching myself when I say 'I need to . . .' but I keep forgetting other scenarios. And I really want to try the meditation, but I can't hold the words in my head. So I guess I need to either make or find a recording.

Sandy4957
03-17-13, 08:21 PM
Footsore, if you buy (or download) the audiobook (our local library has it online), you more or less have it as a guided meditation because it's his own voice. I found his own voice soothing. The reader that he had for "Awaken Your Strongest Self" annoyed the **** out of me... :)

anonymouslyadd
03-18-13, 01:55 AM
You'll feel some relief after two weeks, and it'll be much better in a month.

This is provided that NOW you are spending maybe just 30 minutes per day on something due in two weeks. Make sense?

You're taking advantage of your brain's ability to unconsciously process things...
How much are you making off of this, ma'am. ;):rolleyes:

This sounds like it's worth a shot.

Sandy4957
03-18-13, 02:34 PM
Heh heh. Not a dime. I wish that I could make money doing this. Might be more fun than lawyering. :D

amberwillow
03-18-13, 03:09 PM
I had a big success last evening :). It had already been a big day with a (wobbly) sick teen, a Student Support Gathering at his school (for said teen), a first marriage counseling session and juggling a power shut-down at home from 8:00am to 2:30pm.

Normally I would be done at that point. I did put my feet up for 15mins after getting home, but when Dd21 arrived to request help in her scheme to move her caravan out of the back yard I rallied and even though it was nearly dinner-time we all worked together to move the darned van out.

It wasn't easy... The job required all of us, even the wobbly one.

I was impressed at seeing my DH work so well with Dd21... They actually got down and problem-solved together... There was really positive communication happening.
The whole family worked at the problem and the van is now out of the way of the shed, which was one of my non-urgent but important tasks.

I did a quick rubbish cleanup before going in for dinner, but that area will be my yard task focus for the next couple of weeks.

Drewbacca
03-18-13, 05:54 PM
This is a rare example of a thread that actually deserves to have 10+ pages. Nice job, Sandy!

Sandy4957
03-18-13, 11:35 PM
Heh heh. Glad that you approve, Drewbacca.

Funny, I had an incredibly productive day and I am GRUMPY AS HELL, nonetheless.

The whole day was spent on administrative stuff. Once upon a time, I'd have felt GREAT at the end of such a day. Or at least, I'd have felt optimistic about all the stuff that I would get done the next day, etc. Instead, I am RAGING at the fact that I didn't get anything substantive done. :(

Sigh. We all have our lapses, and tomorrow is another day... :)

On the upside, I do have a much shorter to-do list now. :)

anonymouslyadd
03-19-13, 12:56 AM
I'm planning very poorly, Sandy. I'm working with a guy and have been behind on sending him samples for approval. Typical of ADD, it gets very late, and we're behind. Some of it has to do with my poor planning.

I make lists and I do them!

I think I'm not looking far enough in advance.:(

Sandy4957
03-19-13, 07:24 AM
Ok, so Anon., tomorrow morning (actually, THIS morning), first thing, before your first cup of coffee, or whatever, spend 30 minutes on developing samples. Don't think; don't plan it out; don't require that the samples be perfect. Just tell yourself that you only have to spend 30 minutes at it, and see what happens.

Report back. :) I'm curious.

P.S. Anon., have you read the Now Habit book? You can find it in a library. I suspect that his techniques would work especially well for you since you're self-employed. :)

Sandy4957
03-19-13, 07:34 AM
BTW, all, I am doing something else to help to train myself to go into "observer" mode more readily. It's one of those Deepak Chopra 21-Day Meditation Challenges. You can find it here:

https://www.chopracentermeditation.com/Bestsellers/LandingPage.aspx?BookId=178

This one's with Oprah Winfrey and is about "perfect health," but that's not necessarily the critical part to me. For me, the critical part is that it's a lightly guided, approximately 15-minute daily meditation, and I find Chopra's voice to be soothing. :cool:

Oh, and it's free, so this isn't a sales pitch or anything. :)

Sandy4957
03-19-13, 08:49 AM
How funny that I spent all day yesterday clearing out clutter (actual and mental, in the form of a long to-do list of stupid administrative stuff, and today's meditation was on just that... LOL. Maybe my brain is ahead of me. :)

anonymouslyadd
03-19-13, 10:02 PM
Ok, so Anon., tomorrow morning (actually, THIS morning), first thing, before your first cup of coffee, or whatever, spend 30 minutes on developing samples. Don't think; don't plan it out; don't require that the samples be perfect. Just tell yourself that you only have to spend 30 minutes at it, and see what happens.

Report back. :) I'm curious.

P.S. Anon., have you read the Now Habit book? You can find it in a library. I suspect that his techniques would work especially well for you since you're self-employed. :)
Ugh, I didn't see this until now. I'll start tomorrow morning. Do you mean don't get dressed or feed the cat? I have my routines that I like to stick to.:cool:

I haven't read the Now Habit book. I can barely get through a murder mystery book, and I love them.:p;)

I think I need to check this book out.

Sandy4957
03-19-13, 10:11 PM
Get the audiobook and listen to it.

Here in Minneapolis, we can download the audiobook from the library, even.

Yes, I spend 30 minutes on something before I get out of bed. I don't know if you have to be that extreme, but the advantage is that then your brain is processing things while you, say, brush your teeth...

anonymouslyadd
03-19-13, 10:13 PM
Get the audiobook and listen to it.

Here in Minneapolis, we can download the audiobook from the library, even.

Yes, I spend 30 minutes on something before I get out of bed. I don't know if you have to be that extreme, but the advantage is that then your brain is processing things while you, say, brush your teeth...
I see your point.

I don't have a problem accomplishing things. My issue involves planning for things days and weeks in advance. Can the book still help me?

I would probably prefer the audio version.

Sandy4957
03-21-13, 04:41 PM
Yes. Like you, I don't have trouble accomplishing things. I have trouble prioritizing, so that when I have a major project due in four weeks, I'll spend the first two of them dinking around with things that matter very little, and then have to sprint to get the thing done.

Or I should say, that's what I USED to do, because honestly, now I'm picking away at things, AHEAD OF SCHEDULE, and having ideas pop into my head that I can actually execute without having to scramble, all because of what we're talking about here.

You saw that this guy has ADHD, right?

anonymouslyadd
03-21-13, 06:16 PM
Ok, so Anon., tomorrow morning (actually, THIS morning), first thing, before your first cup of coffee, or whatever, spend 30 minutes on developing samples. Don't think; don't plan it out; don't require that the samples be perfect. Just tell yourself that you only have to spend 30 minutes at it, and see what happens.

Report back. :) I'm curious.

P.S. Anon., have you read the Now Habit book? You can find it in a library. I suspect that his techniques would work especially well for you since you're self-employed. :)
I did what you told me to do. I think I even skipped my coffee.

I managed to complete one sample, which was awesome. How can I use this towards future events? I guess I'm referring to the planning portion.

anonymouslyadd
03-21-13, 06:17 PM
You saw that this guy has ADHD, right?
The author? I didn't know that.

Sandy4957
03-22-13, 10:25 AM
You really ought to get that audiobook from a library or something, because it's a process to use it to learn to "act like a producer," which is how he describes it.

The reasons are multiple that that 30 minutes worked. You let go of fear of failure and self doubt, which is what is preventing you from being able to think creatively. You also overcame the initial anxiety that comes from a rush of ideas. Learning to do that more regularly will help with planning.

More later because typing on my phone sucks.

Good job, Anon.!!

String
03-22-13, 12:38 PM
I'm still slugging through the book slowly.

One good thing to report is that I've actually been using my schedules and calendars for the last two months (I separated my work calendar and task list from home stuff so I now have two of each). I realized this huge success for me as I was emailing my doctor yesterday. I've never continuously used anything other than the most simple paper list for more than a few days. I think some of the basic Now Habit principles, like guilt-free play and unschedules, are helping to keep me from getting overwhelmed by my task lists and calendars. Yeah!

Sandy4957
03-22-13, 12:59 PM
Yeah, String!!!

anonymouslyadd
03-22-13, 08:47 PM
You really ought to get that audiobook from a library or something, because it's a process to use it to learn to "act like a producer," which is how he describes it.
They don't have it at my local library, and it's $22 bucks on Amazon.

I was proud of myself. It seems like you re-train your brain.

Sandy4957
03-22-13, 09:16 PM
So did you get it off of Amazon, then?

Yes, I think that it is very much like re-training your brain.

Actually, I've found it easy to think of it as similar to addiction, in a way.

You become addicted to procrastination as a strategy for relieving an intolerable level of anxiety. And before you can "break" the procrastination "habit," (i.e., like a drug habit), you have to find healthy ways of relieving the anxiety. Then, as those healthy methods prove effective, you become less and less dependent on procrastination. :)

Sandy4957
03-23-13, 11:07 AM
Ok, guys, I need a little encouragement.

I fell completely off the wagon for several days. The reason was good, in a way. We won a big case and landed a great new file, all in the same day. But phone calls and emails with the press and various people congratulating us, plus other people taking us out to celebrate means that I'm waking up Saturday morning behind on a work project and with a messy house. Oh, and I haven't worked out in a while.

I usually don't take Adderall on the weekends, but I'm thinking that maybe I should today just so that I can get my **** together again. :(

Fortunately, I do know for a fact, that my **** can be put back together, and how to do it. :) It's just that right now I have that old, recognizable anxiety/inertia. :(

anonymouslyadd
03-23-13, 09:27 PM
So did you get it off of Amazon, then?

Yes, I think that it is very much like re-training your brain.

Actually, I've found it easy to think of it as similar to addiction, in a way.

You become addicted to procrastination as a strategy for relieving an intolerable level of anxiety. And before you can "break" the procrastination "habit," (i.e., like a drug habit), you have to find healthy ways of relieving the anxiety. Then, as those healthy methods prove effective, you become less and less dependent on procrastination. :)
I didn't buy it. I might have to.

anonymouslyadd
03-23-13, 09:30 PM
Ok, guys, I need a little encouragement.

I fell completely off the wagon for several days. The reason was good, in a way. We won a big case and landed a great new file, all in the same day. But phone calls and emails with the press and various people congratulating us, plus other people taking us out to celebrate means that I'm waking up Saturday morning behind on a work project and with a messy house. Oh, and I haven't worked out in a while.

I usually don't take Adderall on the weekends, but I'm thinking that maybe I should today just so that I can get my **** together again. :(

Fortunately, I do know for a fact, that my **** can be put back together, and how to do it. :) It's just that right now I have that old, recognizable anxiety/inertia. :(
Hang in there, Sandy.

Dane Harris
03-24-13, 08:27 PM
So I'm new to the ADDF, I only got diagnosed last Tuesday. I'm 17 and in my final year of high-school but will probably have to redo the whole year on account of failing pretty much all my subjects :P One of my biggest problems has been procrastination. Every time I have to do something for school, whether it be a small bit of homework or something that could be the deciding factor in failing/passing a subject I always leave it to the last minute and then finish it in a big rush. And recently it's been getting to the point of just simply not doing things and making up excuses why. I've been on ritalin since Wednesday but it hasn't helped the procrastination. It helps me focus while I'm in class but I still regularly fail to complete tasks that don't give immediate results. I can for instance clean my room if my parents give me a couple of Euros (I'm from The Netherlands) for it but otherwise I will always "do it later". This means it never gets done :P

I can never seem to find the motivation or energy to do anything that I don't enjoy unless I am being forced to do it at the time (completing exercises in class) but if it has to be handed in at a later date I just wont do it. I think the problem may be that I have no sense of the future and what problems it will bring. I just think it will sort itself out later. Also I sometimes spend as much or even more time trying to get out of something than it would take do it.

I'm wondering if these thoughts were familiar to you guys or if they might be more likely to be caused by the ADD/Depression combination. (I'm visiting a psychologist for the depression)

Would be nice to hear what you think about it!

Sandy4957
03-25-13, 08:21 AM
Yes, Dane, I recognize all of what you describe. I lived my whole life as you are (until age 42) with the sole difference being that I felt intense, unrelenting anxiety all the time, so that I would always eventually get everything done, but only after procrastinating awfully, and then cramming at the last minute.

This thread is dedicated to my efforts to once and for all CURE that problem for myself, and I have come up with my own tailored program to do that (based on the methods talked about the book in the thread title). It is working for me. But I have to stick to the program. When I fall off the wagon (and I do), then I have to jump back on the horse before I feel good again.

So if you can find that book in Dutch (it's been out since the '80s and seems to have been translated into many languages), by all means, pick it up and join us. Your library may even have it.

And obviously, your English is so good, you might also be able to read it in English.

Good luck and welcome!

P.S. Adderall didn't cure my procrastination issue, either.

P.P.S. For me, anyway, fixing the procrastination ends depression. So it went that direction in my case. But it's a vicious cycle, and you probably have to do both: treat the depression, but then also work on habit changes.

Sandy4957
03-25-13, 08:25 AM
Ok, all. I'm diving back in, here. I got up promptly at 6:00, took my fish oil and vitamins, and meditated. And now I'm diving into my first hour of productive work, which I'll follow with exercise.

Wish me luck getting back on the horse, here. :)

Footsore Ramble
03-25-13, 01:49 PM
Just keep on keeping on, Sandy. I know you can do it.

As for me, I'm doing reasonably well, although it's hard for me to judge how much of that is attempting to apply the principles of this book vs. just being medicated.

I went unmedicated from June 2012-February of this year, and it is pretty glaringly obvious on hindsight that the meds help me enormously with my procrastination problems. It didn't seem that way before, when I was working on my thesis, but now I shudder to think of how that would have gone if not for meds.

Still, I find it useful to remind myself of the basic insights of the book. Especially that anxiety and procrastination actually takes a lot of effort.

Sandy4957
03-25-13, 02:13 PM
They are helping me, too, Footsore, even though I take such a small dose. And my BP is under control with medication, so my doctor and I decided to keep trying for another three months to get me on a regular exercise program, because it's a little difficult to do that where I live in the winter, given my exercise-induced asthma (unless I joined a gym, and I tried that; but even then, I didn't go enough because I much prefer working out outdoors). I believe that once that happens, I'll be able to maintain myself without medication for ADHD.

I guess that then I'll be an ADHS (syndrome?), no "D." :)

I tried medications without this program in the past, and it didn't seem to work for me, not with respect to THIS issue, anyway. It helped, but it wasn't a "cure."

But I think that that's just because my issue with this was ENTRENCHED. I really could not see how to work any other way. I had to "see" the work product before I could write, and I wouldn't "see" it until I began reading things relevant to it, but I was never starting that part until shortly before it was due because I was always flying from one cramming project to the next. Now I'm starting much earlier and making use of a lot of down time to process things.

Frankly, I think that this has made me a better lawyer. :)

Footsore Ramble
03-25-13, 03:43 PM
Yeah, meds aren't a cure-all, that's for sure. But they do help you see which of your issues are caused by habits, and that is helpful too!

For instance, I can see that while I do have the tendency to procrastinate, it isn't as pervasive as I thought. It comes up with Really Big Things (like the thesis) even with meds. So the relationship it has with anxiety is much clearer than before, since I'm not in the middle of this procrastination-anxiety feedback loop, and I can trust that techniques to reduce my anxiety will help with the procrastination, rather than thinking that I need that anxiety to get anything done. And that's HUGE, really. And the book is one good guide to breaking that feedback loop. In fact, I'm not sure I would have had that insight w/o reading it.

Sandy4957
03-25-13, 04:27 PM
Yeah, I hear you, Footsore. We're probably not that much different; it's just that I have to "publish" every couple weeks or so. LOL! :)

anonymouslyadd
03-25-13, 05:52 PM
I think I really need this book do o the nature of my work. Its very time sensitive, literally!!!

However, I already have a book to read and I 've sworn to myself not to start two books at once.:-(

Footsore Ramble
03-25-13, 06:34 PM
Yeah, I hear you, Footsore. We're probably not that much different; it's just that I have to "publish" every couple weeks or so. LOL! :)

Yeah, and I only have to 'publish' once a quarter.

Here are some of the lovely things that have happened to me over the last few months because I let go of procrastination and prioritized guilt-free play:

I'm reading some incredible books. I'm in the middle of 'Consilience' by E. O. Wilson, and because I am reading it guilt-free, I talk about it with people in my work environment.

I collaborated on a great art project, and I got to enjoy the social aspects, not just the mechanics of it. I didn't let any (well, much) guilt about the project itself or other things drive me away from unstructured discussions about it.

I'm practicing music on a regular basis. I take time every evening to do this. I'm making progress.

I've been lifting weights at the gym. I'm getting stronger, have more energy, and I am starting to look better. And it evens my keel, so to speak. I'm less vulnerable to low-grade anxiety because of the exercise I'm getting.

I'm getting back into riding my bike to work, which is something that I have loved and missed, but I find it hard to do when I feel like I have to stay at work for a really long time.

All in all, I'm somewhat more productive at work, but the real difference is that I've been more effective -- taking less time to get the same amount of work done. And that hasn't turned me into a miracle worker. I'm using the time I've freed to make me a better person overall, to be who I want to be in ways that aren't defined by my job. And I think that helps reduce the anxiety for work-related things, because if it isn't going that well, I've got other measured of my worth and performance to turn to.

Take the time to play in really nourishing ways. I used to try to make up for procrastinating by doing things like going in to work over the weekends. I'd do that, so I couldn't go hiking or read a real book or anything that was 'proper' leisure, but I couldn't be %100 at work either since it was a weekend, so I'd end up nibbling away at my work while spending most of my time surfing the web. The web surfing turned into my main leisure activity, but it isn't what I wanted deep down in my heart to do. So it didn't give me the renewal that true leisure does. And I also didn't get much work done.

One of my new rules is NO office time during weekends. If I'm behind by Friday, I'll need to bust my butt on Monday, but I will be relaxing over the weekend.

Sandy4957
03-25-13, 07:09 PM
Wow. :goodpost:

:yes::yes::yes::yes::yes::yes::yes::yes::yes::yes: :yes:

So, ok, Anonymous has been all over me accusing me (teasingly) of deriving some sort of profit from my proselytizing over this book. But I did not lie, Footsore, did I???!!!! :)

(And no, I have no relationship to this book or its author, other than that a few years ago, I paid --- full price! --- for a few of his phone counseling sessions.)

Footsore, you are an inspiration. You're kickin' my ***, now, because I've overcome the procrastination, but I am NOT engaging in truly guilt-free play much. I think that this has something to do with being self-employed, so I'm always concerned about money.

What I am doing is transitioning back and forth between "easy" administrative tasks (which must be done) and the REAL WORK, i.e., the stuff that I get paid to do.

I am also considerably more productive at work. And more innovative. As I said above, I am a better lawyer. I'm more creative, and I can plan out my litigation strategy using (what does he call it?) four-dimensional thinking (or maybe it's three-dimensional? LOL... Maybe that's my astrophysics training peeking through, there...).

Good for you, Footsore. What an incredible accomplishment!!! You go, girl (boy? I forget!)!!! LOL! :D

Footsore Ramble
03-25-13, 08:07 PM
Girl. :)

And it sounds to me like you are actually doing much better than me in overcoming procrastination habits on a daily level. But yeah, the unstructured play is important! Worrying about money doesn't help, though, does it?

My best suggestion on that front is what I said already -- figure out what you really want to do as play on a deep level, and make a little time for that. For me that means choosing things to do where I am active (art, music, reading with discussion of ideas as part of it) instead of stuff where I'm passive (teh intarwebs, watching TV, reading shallowly). All those things are on my calendar, and they are beemindered so I don't either forget or shove them off for 'fake useful' stuff, like trying to work on weekends.

Sandy4957
03-26-13, 08:31 AM
Yeah, I have exercise on my calendar, but somehow often end up failing to do it because I feel pressure to get more work done.

This has been a perennial problem for me. All the sports that I did as a kid were felt more as obligation (often to the team) than as a "I want to do this." The only thing that I consistently did solely because I enjoyed it was be with my horse. But even then, I came to feel obligated...

I'm just not good at it, but I'll keep trying. Thanks for the tips!