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To Stop Procrastinating, Look to Science of Mood Repair

Stashed in: Time, Emotion, Productivity, Awesome, life, Willpower!, Begin!, Procrastination, Life Hacks, Most Important Stash Ever, Organization, Performance

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"Increasingly, psychologists and time-management consultants are focusing on a new strategy: helping procrastinators see how attempts at mood repair are sabotaging their efforts and learn to regulate their emotions in more productive ways.

The new approach is based on several studies in the past two years showing that negative emotions can derail attempts at self-control. It fills a gap among established time-management methods, which stress behavioral changes such as adopting a new organizing system or doing exercises to build willpower."

That's fascinating to think that mood is a key contributing factor in procrastination.

It makes sense. It's hard to manage our emotions!

fill your time with more things that you enjoy, so you know you have to work more productively

It is hard not to feel guilty filling our time with things we enjoy when we know there's work to do!

Thank you for posting this!

From the article:

"Emotion is at the core," Ms. Chodos says. "Just knowing that gives me a little bit of fight, to say, 'Fine, I'm feeling discomfort, but I'm going to feel more discomfort later' " if the job is left undone.

Doing something - anything - can help me feel like I've moved forward.  The whole thing might not get done, but at least I can feel good about what I did do.  And usually, that provides more motivation to tackle the uncertainty of doing the rest of whatever it is.

Valerie, you are right on. The hardest part is the start: Begin, and it gets easier to take the next step.

Also when I get like this:

Most procrastinators beat themselves up even as they put things off, repeating negative thoughts such as, "Why can't I do what I should be doing?" or, "I should be more responsible," says Gordon Flett, a psychology professor at York University in Toronto. "That negative internal dialogue reflects concerns and doubts about themselves," Dr. Flett says.

I read this:

Whether you think you can, or you think you can't--you're right.” ― Henry Ford

And remind myself that I deserve, like every other being on the planet, to feel confident about what I am doing. Why let self-doubt get in the way of trying?!

You used the right word: LET.

Self-doubt cannot get you if you do not LET it get you.

I do love that quote! Here's a few versions from Pinterest and one from Facebook covers:

henry ford quote whether you think you can or think you cant youre right

henry ford quote whether you think you can or think you cant youre right

henry ford quote whether you think you can or think you cant youre right

I don't know about the science of mood repair, but I do know I'm unclear why you say "it's hard", Adam.  

Please tell me, what is so specifically hard about feeling something?  I imagine you'll say, 

"It's hard NOT FEELING something, like feeling GUILTY when there's work to be done."  

Is that correct? If so, I respond by saying,

"Let's just break this down, try the opposite framing as your preferred outcome: 

INSTEAD OF attempting to NOT FEEL guilty, try feeling whatever more desired emotional state you'd prefer at that moment.  It helps immensely if the particular emotion you prefer is somewhat aligned to your circumstances in present time and place; or, if you prefer an incongruous one, which can be as productive, then simply choose whatever feeling is most enjoyably entertaining for yourself, and/or others."

I've found it much easier to meet the challenge of FEELING MORE of something I desire, than LESS of something I'd prefer not to FEEL at any given moment. 

You want a quick example, a precedent you can immediately apply right now?  Think of your favorite actor or your favorite movie scene, and play it out.  Or if you've got a really good imagination muscle, put yourself on a casting call to read a small scene you've written with whatever emotional content you'd most enjoy to play at during this very moment ... and ...


"Do it again, please, BIGGER.  Good, yes.  That's it!"

Wash, rinse, repeat.  It's gets effortless in a hurry.

Imagination.  It's what's for dinner... and you'll like the feeling of it.


PS  The best definition I ever heard of "discipline" was shared with me by one of the former Presidents of Dell, Lee Walker:

"...remembering what you really want."

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