View Full Version : Procrastinating AKA The Problem of Many Truths.


ChrisNewZealand
09-29-10, 06:19 AM
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5.4pt 0cm 5.4pt; mso-para-margin-top:0cm; mso-para-margin-right:0cm; mso-para-margin-bottom:10.0pt; mso-para-margin-left:0cm; line-height:115%; mso-pagination:widow-orphan; font-size:11.0pt; font-family:"Calibri","sans-serif"; mso-ascii-font-family:Calibri; mso-ascii-theme-font:minor-latin; mso-fareast-font-family:"Times New Roman"; mso-fareast-theme-font:minor-fareast; mso-hansi-font-family:Calibri; mso-hansi-theme-font:minor-latin;} </style> <![endif]--> The problem of many truths.


Keep reading, this is the right decision, what you learn in here will help.


Your mind tells you many things you should or could be doing, all of them are true. Your mind only tells you things that are true, otherwise it would be unusable. For instance your mind will never tell you a blue pen is red.


When your mind says you should be working on your test, or whatever else it is youíre avoiding, it's telling you the truth. The problem is that [I]at any time, many things can be true. It is true that your Playstation is more fun than your study, and it is true that your work could be postponed to a later date. Your mind can do this all day long.


Although your task is the most important, the number of other things that your mind can come up with (and the associated reasons why you should do them) is infinite.

Here is the answer to your problem.


Stop doing things for a reason.
You donít need a reason to do things.
YOU DONíT NEED A REASON.


Once you have decided to do something, realize that your mind has an infinite number of reasons to do something else. So do what you should be doing, but forget about having a good reason for doing it. There isnít one, there wonít be one, itís mathematically stacked against you.


Iíve illustrated this with a simple formula.


If a is your reason for doing something, and b is your minds reasons to do something else, and your mind has an infinte capacity to do so, it works out something like this.

Chances of you doing it = a/(b x <!--><xml> <w:WordDocument> <w:View>Normal</w:View> <w:Zoom>0</w:Zoom> <w:TrackMoves/> <w:TrackFormatting/> <w:PunctuationKerning/> <w:ValidateAgainstSchemas/> <w:SaveIfXMLInvalid>false</w:SaveIfXMLInvalid> <w:IgnoreMixedContent>false</w:IgnoreMixedContent> <w:AlwaysShowPlaceholderText>false</w:AlwaysShowPlaceholderText> <w:DoNotPromoteQF/> <w:LidThemeOther>EN-US</w:LidThemeOther> <w:LidThemeAsian>X-NONE</w:LidThemeAsian> <w:LidThemeComplexScript>X-NONE</w:LidThemeComplexScript> <w:Compatibility> <w:BreakWrappedTables/> <w:SnapToGridInCell/> <w:WrapTextWithPunct/> <w:UseAsianBreakRules/> <w:DontGrowAutofit/> <w:SplitPgBreakAndParaMark/> <w:DontVertAlignCellWithSp/> <w:DontBreakConstrainedForcedTables/> <w:DontVertAlignInTxbx/> <w:Word11KerningPairs/> <w:CachedColBalance/> </w:Compatibility> <m:mathPr> <m:mathFont m:val="Cambria Math"/> <m:brkBin m:val="before"/> <m:brkBinSub m:val="--"/> <m:smallFrac m:val="off"/> <m:dispDef/> <m:lMargin m:val="0"/> 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<w:LsdException Locked="false" Priority="31" SemiHidden="false" UnhideWhenUsed="false" QFormat="true" Name="Subtle Reference"/> <w:LsdException Locked="false" Priority="32" SemiHidden="false" UnhideWhenUsed="false" QFormat="true" Name="Intense Reference"/> <w:LsdException Locked="false" Priority="33" SemiHidden="false" UnhideWhenUsed="false" QFormat="true" Name="Book Title"/> <w:LsdException Locked="false" Priority="37" Name="Bibliography"/> <w:LsdException Locked="false" Priority="39" QFormat="true" Name="TOC Heading"/> </w:LatentStyles> </xml><![endif]--><!--[if gte mso 10]> <style> /* Style Definitions */ table.MsoNormalTable {mso-style-name:"Table Normal"; mso-tstyle-rowband-size:0; mso-tstyle-colband-size:0; mso-style-noshow:yes; mso-style-priority:99; mso-style-qformat:yes; mso-style-parent:""; mso-padding-alt:0cm 5.4pt 0cm 5.4pt; mso-para-margin-top:0cm; mso-para-margin-right:0cm; mso-para-margin-bottom:10.0pt; mso-para-margin-left:0cm; line-height:115%; mso-pagination:widow-orphan; font-size:11.0pt; font-family:"Calibri","sans-serif"; mso-ascii-font-family:Calibri; mso-ascii-theme-font:minor-latin; mso-fareast-font-family:"Times New Roman"; mso-fareast-theme-font:minor-fareast; mso-hansi-font-family:Calibri; mso-hansi-theme-font:minor-latin;} </style> <![endif]-->∞) x 100% ~ = 0%!!

So, there you have it. The secret to not procrastinating is to do the right thing for [I]no reason.


I hope that helps someone out there,


Chris.

sarek
09-29-10, 06:39 AM
That looks about as zen as you can get.

stef
09-29-10, 06:43 AM
That looks about as zen as you can get.

well perhaps to someone who works in tax law! LOL

excellent idea though but I had to zap the mathematical part.

sarek
09-29-10, 07:09 AM
I really need to rein myself in now. If I start associating on this I could write a whole chapter.

Maybe no reason is more than just no reason but rather the some of all reasons.

Maybe not all the reasons are of equal weight? What if there is a descending hierarchy or reasons and they don't add up to infinity but to a discrete number instead.
Maybe there is a constant. Something like h = 1/137
Maybe this dividing factor is higher for NT's and lower for ADDers?

And of course a very practical observation: How exactly do you do something for no reason. Is there such a thing as an effect without cause?

Still, to get back on the original post. I think we have a valid point here. But how do we implement this method?

Abi
09-29-10, 07:12 AM
I prefer the notation lim (b --> ∞) a/b x 100 = 0%, but yeah, I get your point :)

Abi
09-29-10, 07:17 AM
Sarek, I like your point.

Even if their IS an infinite number of possibilities, the limit of the sum of their weights may be finite.

Then we have a case of Sum(i from 1 to infinity) a(i) = c, where c is constant.

Then a(j)/c is the optimal outcome, where a(j) is the maximum of all the a(i)'s.

:)

sarek
09-29-10, 07:32 AM
It think the dividing constant c can serve as a measure of linearity of thought. C= infinite is the case of the ultimate NT(reason number 2 and onward getting a value of zero), whereas C = zero(reason number two and onward carrying the same weight as reason 1) is the case of the ultimate ADDer.
Of course, both are theoretical creatures that exist only in the mind of mad scientists who themselves suffer from a very low value of C.

Mind you, C is of course not a real constant but rather a statistical value derived from a large number of practice cases.

Abi
09-29-10, 07:55 AM
lolololololololololol :)

ChrisNewZealand
09-29-10, 08:20 AM
I knew a mathmatician would smell blood in the water :D (you can ask what I mean, that might be a really bad metaphor).

It's bad enough that I used an equation at all, let alone putting in something like limits.


I implement this technique (borrowed from someone smarter than I) in a completely uninteresting way:

Get a post it note (or blu tack and paper, or a dry erase marker and a surface, use your imagination). Then do the next three steps: 1. Write down the most important thing you should and can do right now (if there's more than one, do the one you least want to do!). 2. Write what successful completion of that task entails. 3. Then write the first physical step you need to take to do that.

For example:
1. Study for Physics Exam
2. Complete revision of all lecture notes, and understand all learning objectives.
3. Clear desk, get out physics coursebook, textbook, pens and calculator.

Then stick this post-it to your desk, and don't leave (other than going to the bathroom, or getting a snack from the kitchen) until you've completed that task.

While you do this, remember that having a reason for doing it is irrelevant. Be comfortable with the fact that you don't have a reason for doing it.

Why the hell should I do that?

Because you actually have a very good reason for doing it, you decided it was the most important thing you should be doing.

Unfortunately, because you're concentrating on your task, you will have forgotten this. Your brain will add reasons for doing other things into your train of thought, based on really shoddy logic.

This will seem just as compelling as your reason for doing what you ought to be doing, mostly because it will be true! But because your brain didn't go through the above steps, it's not going to be the right thing to do!

So if you rely on reasons for doing things, you leave yourself open to distraction.

So decide what you're going to do (i.e. how will you know when you've finished) how you're going to do it. Then do what's on your post-it before you do anything else!

Trust the thinking and logic that went into that little piece of paper. That piece of paper proves that your important task is what you should be doing, because no thought that comes into your head has had the same logical process applied to it.

This means you don't need a reason for doing it, you don't need to argue with your mind whether or not what you're doing right now it the right thing to do. It's on the piece of paper, and that means the reasoning is already done for you, action is all that's required.


Let me know if and where you think I'm wrong, maybe we can work together to make something really compelling and helpful to us procrastinators/ADDers (and maybe ADHDers? but that's out of my experience field) :D

Cheers,

Chris.

Abi
09-29-10, 08:30 AM
Don't think that it would work for me, tho' I admire your friend's creativity and I do think it would work for a lotta people.

But not for me... I'm no good of "convincing myself" of things of this sort.

For example, when I was first diagnosed with Major Depression and GAD some years ago, I read a great deal on CBT (Cognitive Behavioural Therapy)... and I knew it would not work for me; mainly because:

[1] I am extremely emotionally volatile... my moods and impulses frequently overcome my rationality.
[2] Perhaps paradoxically, I'm too 'smart' to 'bluff' myself into ways of thinking that contradict my own beliefs and feelings.

But yeh, I'll reiterate that I think its a good strategy for many people. Kudos to you .. and welcome to the forums btw :)

PS: Mathematicians? Sharks? Blood?

ChrisNewZealand
09-29-10, 09:07 AM
Only the 3 step process isn't mine, It's borrowed from the book "getting things done".

Re: Mathmaticians... It's like how sharks can smell blood in the water from hundreds of miles, whenever bodge mathematics, no matter where or when, a mathmatician shows up :D

I get Anxiety also, especially with stimulants, and you might be able to use your emotional volitality to your advantage.

I know what you mean about being too smart to bluff yourself, I'm the same way. Whatever you do, it has to be based on what you absolutely believe is true. It's impossible to actually kid yourself :D

Perhaps you could work on self-superintendence (a rare term, ask if you need a definition). Build and submit to and internal authority greater than yourself. Akin to an internal God of sorts (God as in an ultimate authority).

If you're like me, you probably find it very hard to subject to authority. Unfortunately it doesn't stop at self authority!

Abi
09-29-10, 09:12 AM
I'm extremely anti-authoritarian (ask the mods).. and atheistic..

But have no object to hearing more from you,

ChrisNewZealand
09-29-10, 09:29 AM
I'm the same.

But in order to do something different, you have to do something different :p

Can you see how our lack of reverence for something greater than ourselves, and our inability to submit to authority could be exacerbating our self control issues?

We've tried most everything, perhaps the answer could lie where we don't want to look!

Submitting to, and having reverance for a greater authority within yourself has got to be in that catagory.

Abi
09-29-10, 09:45 AM
Chris... be careful... religion and politics (amoung other things) are banned topics here.

Can you see how our lack of reverence for something greater than ourselves, and our inability to submit to authority could be exacerbating our self control issues?

We've tried most everything, perhaps the answer could lie where we don't want to look!

Submitting to, and having reverance for a greater authority within yourself has got to be in that catagory.

I agree. It does exacerbate it... but it doesn't CAUSE it (just noting). This greater authority within yourself thing scares me... could lead to narcissism, megalomania, solipsism (popular amoung some around here) and any number of other things,

ChrisNewZealand
09-29-10, 09:52 AM
Chris... be careful... religion and politics (amoung other things) are banned topics here.

Noted, and altered my post accordingly. Just trying to make sure you understand that I'm not trying to promote anything theological.

ChrisNewZealand
09-29-10, 09:55 AM
I agree. It does exacerbate it... but it doesn't CAUSE it (just noting). This greater authority within yourself thing scares me... could lead to narcissism, megalomania, solipsism (popular amoung some around here) and any number of other things,

Which is a bit like saying alcohol could kill you. I'm not suggesting self worship, just developing the ability to give yourself a kick in the pants at the appropriate time.

bumblebe
09-29-10, 11:02 AM
I dont know........I am a "feelings" person. So my procrastination stems from not wanting to feel uncomfortable.

So for me it would be " you dont have to feel good to do a task, just do the task"

I guess most people dont like doing the things on their "to do list"
I dont know why it took me so many years to realize Ive been acting like a child not wanting to do their chores because "I dont feel like it"

Abi
09-29-10, 11:07 AM
bumblebe

Eeek :eek:

I'm the same.

Lets just say it's the ADHD and not us "being like children"

Please? :)

Abi
09-29-10, 11:07 AM
Reminds me of something I've been wanting to post...

ginniebean
09-29-10, 11:16 AM
There's a few problems with these ideas.




<STYLE> v\:* {behavior:url(#default#VML);} o\:* {behavior:url(#default#VML);} w\:* {behavior:url(#default#VML);} .shape {behavior:url(#default#VML);} </STYLE>The problem of many truths.







Your mind tells you many things you should or could be doing, all of them are true. Your mind only tells you things that are true, otherwise it would be unusable.


The mind lies like a rug. If this were true on my "I hate myself" days all the assertions of the mind would be 'true'.

Secondly procrastination due to ADHD is not caused by the mind it's caused by the brain. (software vs hardware)


Although your task is the most important, the number of other things that your mind can come up with (and the associated reasons why you should do them) is infinite.

Procrastination caused by ADHD is not rooted in faulty reasoning but rather executive function. It's an output disorder which means commands to 'do' die in the execution stage.

Things like planning and prioritizing are also executive functions known to be impacted from moderate to severe in those with ADHD.



Stop doing things for a reason.
You don’t need a reason to do things.
YOU DON’T NEED A REASON.

If reason is not the problem it cannot be the answer.


Once you have decided to do something, realize that your mind has an infinite number of reasons to do something else. So do what you should be doing, but forget about having a good reason for doing it. There isn’t one, there won’t be one, it’s mathematically stacked against you.

Just to turn this all upside down for ADHD this is actually wrong and right at the same time.

Because of the deficits in executive functions in order to execute various tasks people with ADHD use a much less efficient pathway located in the lymbic system. People with ADHD use the emotional part of the brain to get things done. We tie an emotional meaning to an action or inaction in order to execute whatever task needs to be done.

What's true about the above statement is that performance is mathematically stacked against us because we won't find sufficient meaning in many tasks and the emotional pathway cannot function identically to the more efficient means used by the pre-frontal cortex. The pathway used by those with ADHD cannot sustain long term efforts.


I’ve illustrated this with a simple formula.


If a is your reason for doing something, and b is your minds reasons to do something else, and your mind has an infinte capacity to do so, it works out something like this.

Chances of you doing it = a/(b x ∞) x 100% ~ = 0%!!

This equation doesn't account for the effects of ADHD or the neurological basis of it so.. a better equation would be more like.. (oh dear here come my math blindness)

If a task that has been determined as a priority by a faulty prioritization system then the probability of the task to be performed needs to be taken into account. This will be represented by and u is the uncertainty of functioning times the potential variables that may affect that ability the equation and these variables would be finite would look a bit more like....

u=logbase(1-n)/ ui(1-m)(1-n) x 100% ~ = SURPRISE! (I'll be just as surprised as you if I get anything done )

<TABLE style="WIDTH: 100%" border=0><TBODY><TR><TD style="WIDTH: 95%">

</TD></TR></TBODY></TABLE>

I'm pretty sure this is not helpful.... but it has inspired me

to have a nerdy avatar for my debut in math humour.. :D

String
09-29-10, 02:30 PM
I don't know how "unhelpful" this initial post is. I kind of like it. I think the philosopher in me, my brain trying to figure out why I should do such and such instead of such and such, is a cause for procrastination at times.

I think the real cause for me most of the time is simply brain function, though. Sometimes there's a very real inability to get my mind wrapped around a task, to plan, or to stay with a task.

ChrisNewZealand
09-29-10, 07:35 PM
Nice points! Well if you can be bothered, you're more than welcome to rewrite my post :D

You can't possibly write off all changes in software, the brain isn't static, using the write software can help change the hardware. Learning about why we're doomed might be interesting, but it's not necessarily productive.

Abi
09-29-10, 07:42 PM
ChrisNewZealand are you Fitness Guy?

ChrisNewZealand
09-30-10, 01:15 AM
No, but I did go to the gym today :D

ginniebean
09-30-10, 10:50 AM
Nice points! Well if you can be bothered, you're more than welcome to rewrite my post :D

You can't possibly write off all changes in software, the brain isn't static, using the write software can help change the hardware. Learning about why we're doomed might be interesting, but it's not necessarily productive.

I didn't mean to re-write your post. Your response has made me aware of something that I wasn't before tho.

I have never seen understanding adhd as 'being doomed' actually more the other way around.

When I can not only know what the problem is intellectually but also see it in action and then go "ohhhhh I see how that executive function works/doesn't work" I've felt I can then make more precise strategies for myself which increase the effectiveness of them. Also, not properly accounting for the source of the issue leads almost inevitably towards minimization of the actual issue.

I can't change the hardware and no one else can either. Writing software is great but if it's incompatible it's not going to work. We've all been doing this in order to cope. All potential relief outside of medication is in the software so you make a good point but if the template is off or made for completely different hardware it might sound fantastic but simply be ineffective. That's the message I thought I was giving tho I did get off on a humour tangent with screwballing around with entropy.

ChrisNewZealand
09-30-10, 08:10 PM
Your critical thinking skills are supurb. I'm sorry if I came off as being stingy, it's pretty safe to assume that at no point am I ever insulted, I love criticism! :D It's just that I often write my posts in between lectures, and I probably don't spend enough time on intonation as I should.

On reflection, your post may have given me my biggest breakthrough yet. I had a feeling that in order to get past procrastination, I need to just do things without "feeling like it" be relevant to the task.

Perhaps when I do this, I'm exercising that more efficient pathway, and skipping the less efficient emotive route. It certainly feels different. It's kind of like just doing it, but not trying, because if I try, it's an emotive thing.

Maybe this is why I'd always end up taking the longest possible way to get anywhere when I drive :D

P.S. Viva la order!

ginniebean
10-01-10, 01:18 AM
I'm so glad I didn't offend :) Actually I do know what you mean about not trying. I find there is an adhd way of doing things that neutralizes the resistance I feel too!

Just as an example, when I do housework giving up how I should do it and just wandering around in the moment makes for a very odd do a bit here then a bit there because when I start I find myself having to take something to another room, while in that room I forget the other room so I just stop trying to force myself to tidy in the 'normal' way and my house is now tidier than it's ever been.

It's hard to say but maybe we do have an effiecient pathway but it gets interfered with because of how things are supposed to be.. neuroplasticity is pretty cool stuff.