Do you procrastinate? I do. Why can I be so productive some days, then barely get myself out of bed on others?
The answer is in motivation. If I am motivated enough, then I do what I need to do. When I lose sight of my motivation, then I naturally procrastinate. So what motivates me? This is hard! It changes with each season of life (sometimes even day-to-day). I remember when I was in college something as simple as a bag of m&m's could motivate me. I would lay the bag in front of my books, and say "every time I finish a problem, I get 3." Or something like that. :) Silly, but at times it worked!
Wednesday night I had the opportunity to go to the library for a little over an hour while the kids were at church. I enjoyed it so much that I may just make this a weekly habit. I had a list of books already looked up that I wanted to check out (thus my motivation for going), but while I was there I figured that I might as well do some other research that I had been thinking about lately. I wandered to the appropriate section, then just browsed books. I selected 3, then found a comfy place to read. I didn't think I would bring these books home...another time, perhaps...I already have enough to read with the list that I had brought. It was cool how much I could digest in an hour! (Yay for doing book reviews--my reading skills are definitely improving).
I can't even remember the name of the book, nor the author, but I did pick up one book that I really enjoyed. I toyed with the idea of bringing it home to copy the particular chapter that I most enjoyed...but figured I can check it out some other time. Browsing through the rest of the book though, I came across a chapter on procrastination. Here is how the author describes his method of banishing procrastination from his life (again I apologize for not being able to give credit where credit is due):
The author had written two manuscripts, spending hundreds of hours developing them, then just let them sit. He didn't even bother to send them to the publisher. Why was he procrastinating? These were good books, he determined, and books that he predicted would help many people who read them. He finally came to admit that part of his issue dealt with money. He had become accustomed to being poor--and he felt comfortable there--and having a successful career as an author just might mean that he would be launched out of poverty. [How often do I become comfortable with "status quo" and resist change?] So he developed a visualization concept. I can't remember what he called it...something and swish. Anyway he imagined himself sitting in front of a large t.v. He was flipping channels because "nothing good" was on. He visualized the channels flipping past--65, 66, 67, 02, 03...and so on. Then he picked a channel in his mind...02...and every time that number popped up in this rotation, he would imagine he was watching himself on the screen getting up and doing that project which he had been avoiding (in this case, going to the computer and sending out proper emails). Then he allowed the picture to be shrunk to a picture-in-picture screen as he continued to flip channels...it was always there, him doing what he was supposed to be doing, but smaller...as channel 02 would come up again, it would "explode" to be full screen, visualizing himself doing what he was supposed to be doing, while the boring channel flipping scene was shrunk to the small picture-in-picture. Then he added a scene where he was rewarded for doing the job that he was supposed to do (in this case, it was receiving payment for the books, being able to pay bills, AND receiving letters and emails from people whose lives were changed by his books). So he continued this visualization of flipping the channels and having the screen explode on 02 every time to play the full scene of doing what he was supposed to do, then receiving the reward, for approximately 40 min. or so, until it was SO compelling that he could not resist getting up and doing what he needed to get done. He claims that he has never procrastinated since then, that this visualization always works for him.
After reading this chapter, I realized that in some ways this is how I work. Though I haven't ever really put it to words before or done it at that extent. But I do form visual pictures of what motivates me, and that's what helps me to be so productive on some days. Lately (especially during the first trimester of this pregnancy) I have been very un-motivated and have procrastinated on pretty much anything "extra". It has been difficult for me. Pressing deadlines seem to be the only thing that gets me moving. But I don't want to live that way! So I think I might try this visualization technique to tackle a project and see how it goes for me. As long as I can think up some good rewards to visualize. ;) I think maybe that's my stumbling block right now. I'm a very visual learner anyways (I like to see things as I hear them...not just hearing alone), so I think this will work for me.
Confession time. The author calls it a form of self hypnosis. And the book was about self hypnosis. I am not so sure. It doesn't seem weird enough for it to be self hypnosis. Good. Because I'm really wary of stuff that is "out there". Why was I even researching self hypnosis in the first place? That's a long story...but I am researching ways to relieve pain through relaxation (as well as studying how the brain controls the release of endorphins). I studied The Bradley Method of childbirth when I was pregnant with Malachi, and I want to work on some holes I experienced with his birth. But I don't want any of the "breathe in the positive energy around you" kind of crap! So I figured if I could find some scientific books that perhaps I could avoid the new-age garbage. ;) I think that armed with some scientific knowledge of why techniques like this work, I can write my own scripts...possibly even just selecting Psalms or other Scripture to focus on. For example, rather than breathing in the positive energy around me, how about praising God as I inhale, for each breath is His gift!
I know...with me, it's always something interesting! Sorry this post was so long...LOL...