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Using GTD to kill a bad habit

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  • Using GTD to kill a bad habit

    Has anyone successfully used GTD to kill a bad habit? I would like to
    hear your approach and methods you used to do so.

    I am addicted to an online computer game and I spend hours every night.
    I can't do much reading, thinking, planning (aka GTD activities) because
    of this habit. Other than resolving to gradually cut down the # of
    hours I spend playing the game, I don't have a game plan. Of course,
    that resolve goes out the window once I start playing.

    Any help, pointers appreciated. Thanks

  • #2
    Well, when I get addicted to computer games, it's usually because the things I need to do are Projects and haven't been broken down well enough into Next Actions. I would start by checking that - if you're Next Actions aren't specific enough, you feel overwhelmed which doesn't feel good and then you go play the computer game which makes you feel good, at least in the moment.

    The next suggestion I would have would be to reward yourself with computer game time after completing certain Next Actions - pick a few to complete and determine how much computer time you'll earn. That way you get both.

    Another observation...I'm not good at doing GTD thinking in the evening - I review my lists and plan my day in the morning. By the time the evening rolls around, if my Next Actions are not specific and clear enough and if they require any thought at all, I easily get distracted by things similar to computer games where what I am doing is very familiar and feels good. You might want to take a look at your daily schedule and perhaps set your alarm to rise a little earlier so you can get your productive things done and then relax in the evening and forget about being productive. That seems to work really well for me.


    • #3
      Originally posted by pakodaram
      Has anyone successfully used GTD to kill a bad habit? I would like to hear your approach and methods you used to do so.
      In addition to pageta's great advice, I'd recommend this article: Installing a new habit and breaking an old one.


      • #4
        Start a timer

        If you use a timer when you are playing games, when it goes off it will remind you that you only intended to play for a limited amount of time. Of course, this is where self control comes in and you actually have to stop playing.


        • #5
          It sounds to me like you have a procrastination problem rather than a GTD problem. Check out the thread on procrastination. It may help you.


          • #6
            First, separate work and videogame activity completely. That is, play the videogame on a separate computer in a separate room from where you work on a work computer. Separate the two activities, so that your work computer triggers only thoughts and experiences of work and your play computer reminds you of play. Do not cross the two.

            Basically, keep a separate study/work area and a living room / den area.

            The reason is that we are all about triggered responses. When a person goes in their exercise room where they always work out, for example, all they think of is exercise. It would be weird to think of say sleep or eating there. Same thing with computer games. Only work at your work computer in your work/study room, and that is eventually all that will come to mind rather than computer games.

            Second -- your interest in videogames can actually be a GREAT motivator, done right. Schedule videogame breaks as a reward for accomplishing work. (Not the other way around -- do not play the videogame first, promising your self that you will later work. That does not reward you for getting things done. It punishes you for stopping the play). You may be so interested in that videogame that it can be a GREAT motivation for you to get work done first, if you resolve to first work and then play.

            Maybe identify the top work or study items you can do in perhaps 1-2 hours
            and tell yourself that when you accomplish them you can play the videogame for 30 minutes. Do not move the marker. Finish the work first, then reward.

            Your procrastinating alter-ego will fall into line quickly.

            Good luck -
            Last edited by Scott716; 12-29-2005, 10:46 AM.