Tag Archives: Procrastination

How to gain control of your free time

March 1st will mark two years since I retired.    Now that I have all the time in the world I have much more time to procrastinate.  During retirement I have fine-tuned my procrastination skills. 

I also have a continued quest for self-improvement.   In between TV shows and relaxing I squeeze in reading articles and watching videos that inspire me to develop better habits.

Here’s the latest video which I found so inspirational I turned off the TV.

After listening to this Ted Talk I decided to do a trial run before my actual  two-year retirement anniversary. 

I’m going to treat the things I keep saying I’d like to do like a flooded basement.  (you’ll have to watch the video).  So!  here’s what my emergencies are for this coming week:

  1. Do something everyday (as opposed to doing nothing)
  2. Cut out sugar from my eating “habits”.

I’ll let you know next week . . . or two . . .  how I did.

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Blame game: roosters, virus and my dorsolateral prefrontal cortex

It’s the Year of the Rooster – I was born under the Chinese sign of the Rooster.  Always thought it to be a curse I was born under a sign that wasn’t fertile enough to lay an egg or two.

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According to my friend Sharon Bonin-Pratt (whose last post inspired this post) People born under the sign of the Rooster are hardworking, funny, trustworthy and talented.

I’m not hardworking, at times am funny, almost always trustworthy, and have latent talents that get laid but never hatched.

This Rooster year started off with a cold virus that delights roaming the cozy recesses of my sinus passages.   It’s day 11 (but who’s counting).  I’ve been a total slug – no energy, no resolve which gives me a perfect excuse for not making New Years’ resolutions.

(The truth be told, I never make resolutions for the New Year – learned long ago that when I inevitably fail to keep a resolution it leads to feeling badly.)  

What energy I have has been directed toward resolving to be more creative this year. 

In preparation I’ve been obsessively reading everything I can find on how to break my creative block and stop procrastinating.

Most everything I read about procrastination indicates that we procrastinate when we don’t want to do something that is not enjoyable.   Being a master procrastinator I also procrastinate with things that bring me enjoyment.

For inspiration, I read blogs of people who write, read or draw daily – all things which bring me enjoyment.  I feel badly I’m not like them  which leads me to read articles on procrastination and meeting goals (I know how to set them, just not meet them).

Finally the article below has liberated me! I know what to blame:

My dorsolateral prefrontal cortex is lazy . . . not me.

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Creative block here’s neuroscience how to fix it.

by Elizabeth Shockman

“What is it exactly that helps us be creative? What fuels us when we get into an especially productive work flow? What makes the hours disappear when our brains focus on a task?”

“What, in other words, is happening in our brains when we’re being creative?”

“Cognitive neuroscientist Heather Berlin at the Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai says we know a little bit about what’s going on. Berlin studies the neuroscience of imagination, creativity and improvisation. And for those people who might be facing writer’s block? “There’s really no prescribed medication,” Berlin says. “There is no real magic pill.”’

Instead, she says, creativity depends on which part of the brain you might be using.

“When [people] are improvising, there tends to be a pattern of activation where they have decreased activation in a part of the brain called the dorsolateral prefrontal cortex,” Berlin says. “And that part of the brain has to do with your sense of self, your sort of inner critic, making sure that your behavior conforms to social norms.”

“Translation? When you’re at your most creative, “basically you lose your sense of self,” Berlin says. “You kind of release your inhibition. The second you become too self-aware that comes back online and you lose that flow state.”’

“In addition to losing inhibitions, people who are in a creative state have increased activation in a part of the brain called the medial prefrontal cortex, which has to do with the internal generation of ideas. In other words, the ideas are coming from within.”

“Some people, when they’re in the flow state … a lot of people say ‘It feels like it’s flowing through me. It’s coming from someplace else,’ you know, ‘It’s coming so naturally I don’t even have to think about it,’” Berlin says. “It’s called liberation without attention. You can only keep a certain number of variables in mind when you’re thinking about something consciously. But if you let it go, you actually can come to a greater understanding because the unconscious can do much more complex processing.”

“For those suffering from creative block, Berlin has some practical advice:”

“You have to take in all the information and then go for a walk,” Berlin says. “Go out, do something else. Because those people who sit there and just obsess over thinking about it too much, using your prefrontal cortex you’re actually limiting yourself. So letting it go can actually help you get over, let’s say a writer’s block or a creative block.”

I’d go for a walk but I have a cold.  Maybe some other time . . .

 

 

My Gestaltified Brain (no relation to Gefilte fish)

Manny Mo Motivator

Several people have asked me to review some of the info from the Motivation to Beat Procrastination Workshop & Presentation Laurie Miller (www.hypnosisconcepts.com) and I did.  I aim to please.

To review the differences between the Linear and Gestalt  processing brains click on this post:

https://judithwesterfield.wordpress.com/2011/08/13/prediction/

Basic FACTS about how my gestaltified brain works:

  1. I can make lists but I can’t maintain them.  Just accept that as a fact.  Maintaining a things-to-do list is for Linear thinkers. I  do lists when things are over-whelming or I need clarity.
  2. Out of sight, out of mindMy things-to-do  has to be visible – not filed or put away.
  3. Things-to-do will not be done on a priority, logical basis.  It will look “hodge-podge” to others but I’ll get it done.

Here’s some of the ways I do my TO-DO’s

Go Postal: I write a short list on a large post-it-sheet that I move from day-to-day or week-to-week in my appointment book.   Then RRRRRRRRRRip it up when done

Weak by Week: I write lists in a weekly calendar book that’s just for TO-DO’s.  I don’t write them on the days I want to/should do them, just group them under major topics.  Cross off what I do. What I don’t do that week I rewrite on the next week’s page.  After several weeks if I’ve kept moving from week to week it isn’t a critical to-do and I just cross it off.

Wite-it-out: I write on a white-out board that is in front of me at my desk.  That way it’s always in sight.

Picture-it: Mind-map with pictures which I’ll  describe in  another post.

Back-into-it:  I do a project list instead of a detailed to do list – write project (goal) at the top of the paper; Starting at the bottom I write the steps I need to do to get to my goal, working my way backwards to the project at the top.  As I complete certain steps I often have to rewrite my list to include things I didn’t originally think of.  Kinda like reading a magazine from the back to the front and then going back to reread certain articles.

Kinda like I write posts for this blog!

Procrastination & Motivation Take on New Meaning

I am clearly split.  Here’s my two finger puppets from the Motivation Beats Procrastination workshop:

My Motivator Puppet “Manny Moe & Jack” (I must delve into that name — it came out of nowhere during the imagery)  is a little angel, a star.  She’s a bit too sweet (sweet! did I just write that?!!)

  Oh my gosh!  SHE’S been the one eating all the pastry, pie and candy. . . .eating enough to fill Manny, Moe AND Jack)

(A clear example of the unconscious process.  Until I started writing I never had those thoughts)

My Procrastinator Puppet Isabelle has a heart ( you can barely make it out in the photo).  She tickles my fancy.  She’s a bit scary looking.  Maybe she should ring her bell and scare me from eating junk.  Ah, but she procrastinates.

The plot thickens (just like my waist . . .)

Prediction

Judy's Snail

I predict that of the 10 people signed up to come to tomorrow’s workshop MOTIVATION to Beat Procrastination 9 will be what I call A Gestalt Thinker.  The 10th person  lives or interacts with a Gestalt thinker and needs to figure out how to survive in that relationship

What the hey? You say!  Gestalt is a German word that has no English counterpart.  Think of it as  WHOLE picture rather than as pieces of the picture.

VERY simplistically these are two types of  brain HARD wiring:  Gestalt and Linear.  It’s not about personality, intelligence, intention, character – it’s how the brain is wired to perceive the world.

Linear thinkers rarely procrastinate. Procrastination drives them crrrrrrrrrrrraaaaaazy.  They need to know where they are going, what time, how and when they will get there.  If they are forced to take a detour (they will only detour if forced) they get a bit cranky.  With tasks they go from A to B to C to D and finish each before proceeding to the next.  Linear thinkers are thought of in our society as organized, dependable, tidy and factual.

Gestalt thinkers have an idea of where they’re headed but if something interesting happens along the way they will take a detour, spend as long as it FEELS RIGHT and try out many forms of transportation finding each one interesting.  With tasks they start at A and then get sidelined when M pops up and on the way to N they detour to Q and then F on their way back to A leaving each a little finished and a little unfinished until it’s a deadline and then they get it all done by staying up all night.  Gestalt thinkers are thought of in our society as procrastinators, undependable, messy,  scattered, disorganized and emotional.

In my estimation Gestalt thinking gets a really bad rap.  Our brains are hard-wired differently and our view of the world is different.  We see the whole picture first before noticing detail.  We do NOT like tedious linear tasks (like balancing checkbooks, paying bills, making do-to lists.)

We are very creative in that we see POSSIBILITY in EVERYTHING.  That’s why we never throw anything away.  There’s always some use, need or value in everything.

Don’t throw my prediction out.

I’ll let you know if it’s right. 

And if it isn’t right I have the feeling

I’ll figure out how to POSSIBLY explain it.

Gestalt from Webster: psychology : something that is made of many parts and yet is somehow more than or different from the combination of its parts
▪ the gestalt of human consciousness ; broadly : the general quality or character of something
▪ the gestalt [=feel, atmosphere] of the place ▪ the gestalt [=spirit] of the era

Motivation & Procrastination 8 Phases

Not too late to register for the MOVING from PROCRASTINATION to MOTIVATION 2 hour presentation this FRIDAY August 5th.
Four Phases of Motivation

Four Phases of Motivation

  1. Ow! Avert the task that hurts
  2. Oooh! I’m getting the task done
  3. Mmm: I have time to do things I love
  4. Wah! Here comes another task . . .

Continue repeating all 4 phases, knowing the Mmm’s are worth their weight in gold!

Four Phases of Procrastination

  1. Ow!  The task hurts
  2. Oooh! I’ve found something else to do that feels better
  3. Mmm:  I do the activity that feels good & is interesting
  4. Wah!:  The original task hasn’t miraculously gone away.

 Continue repeating all 4 phases  to become an expert procrastinator.

Moving from Procrastination to Motivation – FRIDAY, AUGUST 5, 2011

Costa Mesa, CA

6:30 pm to 8:30 pm

$20.00 per person (pay at the door) Reservations a must.

Contact Laurie@hypnosisconcepts.com or (949) 250-7355

More information: https://judithwesterfield.wordpress.com/workshops-groups-retreats/

Hell yes! I procrastinate!

The Four Phases of Procrastination

Hell!  I’ve figured out what hell REALLY is:

Going to heaven and

procrastinating for eternity.

As Laurie Miller www.hypnosisconcepts.com and I are putting the finishing touches on our  August 5th two-hour presentation Moving from Procrastination to Motivation I have been all too keenly aware of where and how I procrastinate.  Laurie, on the other hand, has undoubtedly been keenly aware of how she is a complete failure at procrastinating.

I take some pleasure in the fact that it will be apparent to all who come to the presentation that I am an expert on procrastination while Laurie is a mere novice.

Judy’s Four Phases of Procrastination

  1. Ow!  The task hurts
  2. Oooh! I’ve found something else to do that feels better
  3. MmmI do the activity that feels good & is interesting
  4. Wah!:  The original task hasn’t miraculously gone away.

Continue repeating all 4 phases as long as the fires are still burning.

If you have already mastered Judy’s Four Phases of Procrastination you might want to join us on August 5th.

Click here for more information:

https://judithwesterfield.wordpress.com/workshops-groups-retreats/

Productive Procrastination (Parenthetically Speaking)

My personal physician Dr. Oz sent this to me.  He wanted to validate that my day dreaming was NOT a form of procrastination NOR detrimental to my well-being.

Part of my mission is to help people understand that those of us who are perceived as procrastinators have GOOD reasons for our behaviour.  Mehmet.Knows!

“You might think of daydreaming as a slacker habit, but it turns out that it’s good for your brain.  (yippi) So let your mind wander a little bit today.”

“Zoning out doesn’t mean your mind is on vacation. Just the opposite. New research involving brain scans showed that when people daydream, the brain actually works harder, and in different ways.”  (Beginning to make sense why I’m exhausted all the time!)

“Stop Paying Attention (who said I ever began)
A new study compared brain activity during two different conditions — when people played an easy game and when their minds simply wandered freely. And daydreaming lit up the brain areas that researchers expected it to, such as those areas that handle routine daily activities.”

“But, surprisingly, the activity of daydreaming also activated the lateral prefrontal cortex and the dorsal anterior cingulate cortex — the so-called executive network of the brain, where complex problem-solving happens. Which led researchers to conclude that giving your brain a break allows these higher-function areas to work on the weighty questions humming in the background of your thoughts. You know, those big things, like how to solve a problem at work, resolve an argument with your spouse, or start a new business venture.” (how to figure out how to get someone else to do the things you were going to do when you were daydreaming, resolve world peace, make plans to move to a château in the South of France and/or a Tuscan Villa)

“Make It a Habit  (I’m waaaaaaaaay ahead of the game.  It’s not a habit with me but a way of life)
The researchers suggest people encourage daily daydreaming with simple, mindless activities. Washing the dishes, knitting, doing jigsaw puzzles, or weeding the garden are all good choices.” (These researchers that came up with these were all born before WWI and never burnt their bras)

Update by Max

Dear ALL my best friends,

Since my Human has been toooooooo poooooooooped tooooooooo pop I thought I had better let you know all the important things that have happened.  Here’s my update:

  1.  I was taken to the Vet today!  I got tricked.  I was told we were going for a ride.  Well, I got taken for a ride.  I DO NOT like that place.   I don’t trust anyone in that office.  I was very upset.  You see I had a staph infection a few weeks ago and they were checking up to make sure it’s all gone BUT NO ONE told me that was all they were doing.  One time I got left there for several days and it was a very harrowing experience.  I did get to have a few treats and a walk afterwards because my Human felt guilty for tricking me.  She SHOULD.
  2. My Human got some sleep last night!!!!!! I’m so relieved because she’s been disturbing MY sleep every night and I need my sleep.  I always sleep through the night and NEVER disturb my humans with coughing and snorting . . .  enough said.
  3. My human Judy’s new studio is at a standstill because my Human Dave has a sore elbow.  My human’s are falling apart right in front of my eyes.
  4. My human is working on a new workshop with her friend Laurie Miller. www.hypnosisconcepts.com  It’s about procrastination.  Laurie wants to do it with my Human because Laurie doesn’t know the first thing about procrastinating and My human is an expert procrastinator.

THE END