Wednesday, October 27, 2010

Following Through

I've been procrastinating worse than ever these days, and with the amount of things I have to do, I really can't afford to. So I've been listening to quite a lot of self-help audio books in an attempt to get myself pumped up in order to do what I've got to do. Problem is, they work for a very limited amount of time. I turn off my mp3 player resolved to do everything I need to do right now, feeling like I can take on anything and succeed. Later that night, I'm eating Pringles and Facebooking rather than working on the book I should be writing (Sejin: do not get chips in the Homeplus order ever again).

The most recent selection I've been listening to is a one hour interview with psychologist Steve Levinson who wrote "Following Through." I really like his ideas. The premise of his book (which I haven't read yet) is that we are simply flawed as human beings when it comes to following through. We are really good at creating good intentions. We know what is best for us and what we should do. But it is a design flaw that prevents us from actually doing. Unlike the squirrel who frantically gathers and stores nuts in preparation for winter without wasting any time, we almost always choose to do what feels good right now, until there is a compelling reason to do otherwise. Since we are flawed and have this natural tendency to procrastinate, we have to find ways to trick ourselves into getting things done. I haven't finished listening to the whole interview yet, but I thought this was an interesting and funny story:

He describes a man he knew who decided he needed to get up a half-hour earlier (at 5:30 a.m.) every morning in order to do some studying he could not fit into his day. He tried, but of course, he could not get up earlier. So he set an alarm clock in his room for 5:30 a.m., and set another clock in his children's room for 5:35 a.m.. Every morning, he knew that if he did not get up at 5:30 and rush to his children's room to turn off their alarm, they would wake up cranky and his wife would be furious. This worked.

I like this guy's approach better than the typical self-help books out there because he does not appeal to your emotions like they do. It's comforting to think that this is a problem we all share. I'm not perfect and I can't do anything I set my mind to, like Tony Robins says I can. But I can take calculated measures to improve my productivity, which will feel rewarding in itself and lead to more productivity.

I can do something like, for example, end this blog post.

1 comment:

Auggie said...

It' true. There are times when it's so hard to follow through. You feel totally on-fire for it for a short while and then your feelings change and the important thing is pushed to the wayside.

I also need help with following through! Good luck to you. Do your best!