Lie 2: “X is more rewarding right now”

This is the second post addressing the three lies we believe that lead us into procrastination. See the introduction post here and the first post in the series here.

 

lie2-bucket-list

When it comes to procrastinating, I think this is the most familiar problem. How many times have procrastinators chosen TV, movies, video games, Facebook, or Netflix instead of doing their essay for class? More insidious is when we do good things instead of the task we should be doing. At work I always have tasks I prefer over others, and sometimes the only thing motivating me to do the crummy jobs was the fact that I was being paid to do them. This doesn’t apply as well at home or in our personal lives. Even the idea that we’re paying for our courses isn’t motivation enough for us to do our work sometimes. This is all because of the lie we believe that this other more fun thing is more rewarding than doing the crummy task.

I was starting this lie in the face last week. Jack was down for a nap and I could watch TV or clean. The day before I felt AWESOME after doing some cleaning. As I was tempted to watch TV I remembered that this idea that I would feel better if I watched TV instead of cleaning was totally false. TV would be fun right now, but then I’d be left with the icky feeling that I avoided what I really needed to do AND left with the mess.

Until you’ve learned through experience that Doing The Thing is, in fact, more rewarding than Not Doing The Thing, it’s so much harder to believe that not doing It isn’t better. It’s also easy to quickly forget.

The way I deal with these lies is to remember the times I Did The Thing and felt GREAT. It’s an exercise that requires intentional thinking, but I find is fairly useful. The other thing that helps (I talk about this in my ebook) is building momentum.

How do you battle this lie? 

Lie 1: “It will take too long to do right now”

This is the first post addressing the three lies we believe that lead us into procrastination. See the introduction post here.

Original photo by William Warby

Original photo by William Warby

How many times have you thought, “I need to do _____” only to “realize” you don’t have enough time. Let’s be honest with ourselves: 9 times out of 10 that is not true in the least. When I first started attacking this idea that I didn’t have enough time, I started timing myself. I would stare at the pile of dishes and think, “I should do this but I’ll be late if I start now.” After I timed it, I realized it was a 3 minute job and I often had 5 to spare. This was such a freeing  realization because I sincerely believed both things: that I needed to do the job and that I didn’t have enough time. Soon I realized that this part of my brain was broken and I needed to acknowledge that the thought “it will take too long” should be treated as an unreliable calculation.

I’m not sure how this lie started worming its way into brains everywhere but it really needs to stop. If you think you don’t have time – try anyways and see how far you get. Half done dishes are better than never done. After you time yourself doing several activities that will “take too long” my guess is you’ll notice that they were a 10 minute job, not a 30 minute job your brain exploded the situation into.

Stresshacker.com affirms this and explains:

Learning to better estimate time to task completion is a skill that needs to be developed by procrastinators who, for whatever reason, seem to fall short of its mastery.

There you have it. Next time you think, “I don’t have time to do that right now” call your own bluff and give it a try!

 

Chronodex: an introduction to the visual time management system

chronodextitle

There are two places I get good ideas about my life: Pinterest and my husband. This week my cousin-in-law (is that a thing?) pinned a picture of the chronodex/hyperdex/spiraldex and if you’re looking at these for the first time you’re probably thinking, “How the heck does this work?”

As I started googling it I found out a few things:

  1. It’s time management for visually oriented people.
  2. It’s created by Patrick Ng at Scription
  3. Chronodex is the original but since then people have adapted it to suit their needs. Now there’s hyperdex, spiraldex etc.
  4. It’s super useful if you want to track how you’re multitasking/layering OR track different schedules

How do you use it?

 

CHRONODEX

A chronodex version of 2 schedules. It's less obvious there are 2.

A chronodex version of 2 schedules. It’s less obvious there are 2.

Let’s take a look at the Chronodex first. It’s fashioned after a clock and depending on the version you have it has 12h-24 on it. Basically, you colour in when you’re busy either before your day starts or after to track what you did. I usually did this with my Google Calendar at work. In some ways it’s the same as having a Google Calendar or using multiple calendars on the same view, except that this is for people who like to use paper and probably those who like to make things pretty. 

What’s very different from a clock (and from the hyperdex & spiraldex) is the different widths of certain hours. This is how I’mJulie explains it in her review:

Many people wonder why there are 3 different lengths to the time section (short, medium and long). The idea behind it is quite smart: It’s made for all you multi-taskers out there. When you are doing a task that can not be mixed with anything else (like filming a video, creating an outline for your future online course or writing a blog post) you will fill in the time slot to it’s full length (even if the time wedge is shorter, you’re allowed to go outside the lines). If the task was something you can mutli-task (like exporting a video while you make lunch) you will color a part of the height of the wedge with one color and the rest with the other (to represent 2 types of tasks that you did during that piece of time).

In the above picture I was trying to track when Jack eats and sleeps so I can plan what I do during or around those times. The blue is when he naps (though not nearly as long as an hour). But my plan got broken down because I couldn’t quite figure out the chronodex. Do I colour outside the line? Plus, it has aspects of the spiraldex where the hours build on each other like a spiral. For this reason I  the hyperdex.

LM-Hyperdex

HYPERDEX

The hyperdex was derived from the chronodex by DIYfish. It features the 24h clock which is why I like it. It has 24 slots around and multiple rows which enables better layering/scheduling tracking (in my opinion at least).

hyperdexroughHere’s what I threw together in terms of a typical day for Jack and I.I used an image I found on Google images.

His eating schedule is determined by when he wakes up and then follows 2h after, then every 3h, then kind of whenever come the evening (usually 2h-1h). So if we wake up at 7am then it goes 7,9,12,3,5,6 then he’s down for the night. It’s kind of odd maybe but that’s what he seems to like and it works fine for me. We’re still working out regular nap times and the last week he’s only been napping for 30 mins so we’ll work on that.

The smallest circle is Jack’s life, the next one out is me. If I want to build a routine based around morning, evening and his nap times, this works well as a visualization tool for me. I just do that stuff in the fuchsia (it looks more red here) block.

SPIRALDEX

spiraldexThe spiraldex has 24h in it but only one row, so if you want to track layering, then you’re on your own to divide the boxes. The spiral is also smaller than the full 24h circle which may appeal to you for whatever reason. Other than those features it works the same way.

More reading

If you want to know more you can check out these links:

So, do you think you’ll make use of this? I’m still wondering if I’ll like it.

Rethinking my morning routine

Photo by jencv

Photo by jencv

I guess its been a few years (!) now since I first wrote about morning routines. Since then I’ve had varying success and most recently since my son was born, continued varied success.

I’m sure you can relate. If you couldn’t you likely wouldn’t be following this blog.

You have a good routine or daily organization system going and then something happens and it messes it up. You fumble around for a little (or months?) until you remember it doesn’t have to be this way!

And so you reboot your system and try again.

This happens to me all the time and is the reason I tell people not to give up on a system until they’ve failed in this cycle a few times. If it worked for awhile then there’s hope. If it never ever worked then you should probably keep looking.

Routines

Since Jack was born I’ve had a few different routines that have helped me stay sane. For awhile I did at least 2 loads of laundry a day: one in the morning of Jack’s barfy clothes and one in the evening of his cloth diapers. Now I have more clothes and more diapers so I do laundry every other day.

Other mornings I had a routine of waking up, starting coffee, drinking a glass of water, feeding Jack, then shower and get my day in order during his first nap.

Then that got messed up.

So here I am working on a new routine to help me have a decent day despite the unpredictability an infant can bring. There are other routines that I would like to establish so that I don’t have to decide what I want to do or feel like doing. Because I will never feel like cleaning. Ever.

I went back and read those blog posts again and actually found them helpful!

Things that are helpful in a routine

These days I need habits that will help our life work more smoothly. This means that things like laundry, dishes, quiet times and meals get done naturally rather than haphazardly. I think something I need to institute is a consistent wake-up time. I usually wake up when Jack wakes up, which was 6:30 for a long time, then 7:00 for a long time, now it’s 7:30. I think I actually had better days when he was waking up earlier, even though I always needed a nap.

The other thing that has helped me operate well is dealing with clutter quickly, whether it’s unloading the dishwasher right away so it can be loaded as dishes are dirtied, or fold and put away laundry right away. (Sidenote: I have never folded laundry or put it away until Jack was born so let’s just all do a slow clap for me right now because I’m finally a grown up. It only took me becoming a parent).

So we’ll see how this goes! If anyone has any tips on what worked for them (or their mom) please leave me a comment!

Fall, Imminence, and Change

hello fallThere’s something about the imminence of fall that just gets my gears going (in a good way). Suddenly, I got my game face on and I’m crocheting again, and blogging, and reading, and being a contributing member to society. Why fall? Especially when fall is usually the time when my brain starts going to mush and my soul starts getting sluggish because winter is coming (you have to whisper that word). I even read an article this week about how this winter is predicted to be even worse than last winter.

Sweet Jesus, have mercy.

But let’s not think about that. Let’s go into our happy place of Pumpkin Spice Lattes (HELLO, I HAVE MISSED YOU!), spicy smelling candles, cool breezes, pants, and cozy sweaters but no need of a coat yet. Automne, je t’aime.

Imminence & Change

W and I have been thinking a lot about change and imminence lately, mostly related to becoming parents. When else in life do you have to wait a long time for a change that WILL come? Even with marriage, graduation, etc. there’s the (unfortunate) slight chance it wont happen. But at this point, I will give birth. Thanks to modern medicine there’s almost no chance we’d lose the baby in the process.

So we sit here and wait, try to expect and prepare for the inevitable. It’s kind of a mind game.

We did our wedding a little non-traditionally. We had a morning service, lunch reception, no dancing party or anything. When the MCs invited my parents up to give their parental speeches, my mother shot me surprised look and a glare and mouthed the words, “You didn’t tell me I was doing a speech!”

She was right. I had assumed. She knows convention and tradition. I had confirmed with my dad, but not my mom. Later, mom explained that because we had done enough things differently, she didn’t assume anything would be the same. Oops.

But no one at the wedding had any idea my mom composed her Mother of the Bride speech on the spot. I wish I had it on video because that was the best speech that has ever been winged.

A year later, my older brother was about to get married and I get a text from my mom thanking me for forgetting to tell her about the speech part of my wedding. The imminence of her delivering a speech at her first-born son’s wedding was eating her alive. She had been up at 4AM most nights trying to think of what she would say.

I can adapt pretty easily; I think it’s one of the positive sides of having moved so many times as a kid. But staring down the barrel of a proverbial gun to watch change come at you is a bit of a different animal.

So now, I’m trying to enjoy the things that have not yet changed: like being able to get 8h of sleep, do what I want (mostly) whenever I want, and not having someone depend on me for their entire existence.

Bullet Journaling

I have been having a hard time keeping consistent with one method of keeping track of my tasks and thoughts. I was using a combination of paper and digital for awhile, but started moving more towards digital as I started working more with other people. We started using Asana, where we could assign tasks to each other and track with them. I’m kind of tied to this system, but I’m not finding it working excellent for me. BulletJournaling

I was pretty excited when I found about Bullet Journaling. The website does a great job of explaining it, but if you like creativity, there are a few examples on Pinterest to help inspire you.

Bullet Journaling isn’t journaling exactly. It’s like a GTD inbox where you write everything down that you need to keep track of, to-do items, and events. To-dos are indicated by a box, a dot indicates something to remember or a note, an open circle is an event.

I haven’t tried it yet, but it looks like something that could work. Willy has been using it a bit, which he’s said it’s been helpful.

I just wanted to share it in case it was useful to you.

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