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  • A Procrastinator's Dream

    I've had great success in going toe-to-toe with my procrastination problem in the last year. Recently, though, I had a funny experience I thought I'd share.

    For more than three weeks I'd been procrastinating one of those either-way-you-lose tasks: delaying it was causing unpleasant consequences, but following through and finishing it was also going to bring unpleasant consequences.

    Then one night I went to sleep and had the following three-part nightmare. Part I: I was fighting with my upstairs neighbor, a taciturn and unfriendly man with many children. Part II: his children ambushed me in my apartment, shooting arrows with poison tips at me; I killed one of the children with a kitchen knife and fled my apartment. Part III: I returned to my apartment to turn myself in to the authorities and found the place filled with detectives, like a scene from CSI; when I tried to find out who was in charge, everyone gave me a runaround. I never was able to get myself arrested.

    Then I woke up.

    The next day I started the task I'd been resisting, and finished it in four hours.

    I love the literal-ness of my dream, how concrete the symbols were that it used to represent all of the different aspects of my anxiety (poison-tipped arrows! Murdered child!). I woke up laughing at how over-the-top it was.

    But I also couldn't help but notice that I was only ever four hours away from finishing the task. That's it: four hours. Not that the time involved was ever the issue, but even if I'd only spent fifteen minutes a day on it I still would have been done in less than three weeks.

  • #2
    I bet your dangerous to sleep with. Those are some wild dreams!

    Congrats on the message, though....and your great progress.

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    • #3
      Originally posted by Dan Owen View Post
      even if I'd only spent fifteen minutes a day on it I still would have been done in less than three weeks.
      Ever run across Mark Forster's

      "I'll Just Get the File Out”: Conquer Procrastination for Ever
      http://www.markforster.net/blog/2008...-for-ever.html

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      • #4
        I know it well

        Forster's work -- particularly the idea of the closed list -- has been very helpful for me.

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        • #5
          Dan: Ha! That's great! Particularly the insight about the four hours.

          Isn't it funny, too, how far we need to be pushed before we'll move on certain tasks?

          I've often wondered about the wisdom of consciously pushing myself--imaginging worst-case scenarios, putting myself through emotional pain--so I'll make progress on these projects. Haven't done it yet!

          I remember reading a short story in which a group of scientists in an Orwellian society kept constructing incredibly demanding, horrible childhoods for various children, knowing that historically great leaders are born from such crucibles.

          (It worked...but the resulting leader had all those scientists shot.)

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          • #6
            Proven method

            Originally posted by Brent View Post
            I've often wondered about the wisdom of consciously pushing myself--imaginging worst-case scenarios, putting myself through emotional pain--so I'll make progress on these projects. Haven't done it yet!
            Did you know this technique is actually used in psychology to help people that constantly worry about everything, imagining all the things that can go wrong. (negative self-talk.)

            In this technique, you need to imagine the absolute worst thing that could happen and concentrate on its scenario for 10 minutes. After that, you need to imagine all the other ways of dealing with the situation for another 10 minutes and come up with a concrete action plan.

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