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newbie - how to trick oneself

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  • newbie - how to trick oneself

    I discovered GTD only recently (via 43folders). Last week the harddisk of my ibook crashed and is being repaired right now and I took the chance (I'm self employed and very much dependend on it, so I got an unsuspected timeframe I otherwise wouldn't have had) to read the book and start off with the practice of just writing down all and everything on my mind without any filter over the weekend (= one gigantic inbox) )

    - this practice alone seems to be gigantically useful to my psycho-hygienic household

    Currently I'm processing the items (- the 2 minute principle is worth a million again) and try to build some sort of setup that works for me, - and here is my question: how do you deal with

    (1) stuff that needs to be addressed somehow/sometime, which is not urgent but needs to be done, and you know yourself well enough that you will do everything to avoid actually doing it (because you always find other things more urgently to do) (visiting your dentist,...).

    (2) things that one currently does, even if one knows him/herself that they are time consuming/regressive/unhealthy... (getting distracted by searching the web for sth. and ending up with a metadata tagged collection of sth. else that might or might not be valueable information sometimes 3 hours later, stop drinking 15 cups of coffee every day,...) - the no do's so to say.

    What I came up with is a list labeled @pita (pain in the a**) and forcing/convincing myself to act on 1 of these each week, and to build some sort of rewarding system for myself for not doing the (2)'s. But since this seems to be some sort of tricking oneself, I'd be really interested in hearing how others are dealing with issues like this.


  • #2
    hmm, some more thoughts:

    I tried some variations of structuring my lists and starting disliking the concept of my @pitas. This term probably just injects negative connotations, so I moved them to the corresponding context lists.

    I also started to dislike the idea of fishing for techniques for tricking myself. It probably just boils down to getting my priorities straight and act upon them in a balanced way.

    sorry for the noise



    • #3
      I use the weekly review to take a higher level look at the important but not urgent tasks. I make sure that they have a place on my next action lists. When I am scanning my next action lists during the week, I remind myself that I choose to work on important but not urgent tasks precisely because I do not want them to become urgent, which has caused much stress and lost sleep in the past. If I find myself ignoring these tasks in the day to day buzz of activity, sometimes I need to schedule time in my calendar to work on them. If I had a category called @pita, I almost certainly would never want to look at it.

      For bad habits that I would like to break, I try to replace them with a positive behavior. It's easier to replace one habit with another than to go cold turkey from a bad habit.


      • #4
        jmarkey, many thanks for your thoughts. They make perfect sense to me.


        • #5
          You're welcome. I don't see anything wrong with looking for techniques to "trick" yourself into working on something or getting rid of a bad habit. Having a working tickler system is such a technique. You can also motivate yourself by attaching positive and negative consequences. For example, you could say that if you don't check your tickler file every day you have to write a check out to a political party or cause that you really hate (ouch!). Or you could reward yourself with something special to you if you are consistently checking your tickler. One of my favorite treats is a 4:30 p.m. midweek movie if I can get out of work early one day. The theater is usually pretty empty, and it has a whole "playing hooky from school" feel about it. I did that with one of the Lord of the Rings movies. It was fun!


          • #6
            tricking yourself and procrastination

            It's been mentioned before on this forum, but if you're really concerned about how to get yourself to tackle unappealing tasks, I would recommend the book "The NOW Habit" by Neil Fiore. It offers some useful tips about why we don't want to do certain things, how to structure them so that you can at least make a start, and how to reward yourself for doing them.

            It's not rocket science, but it has helped me get started on a few things I was resisting.


            • #7
              jmarkey - I really do like your take on these issues. I love the trick with the check (but I'll probably save this one for the harder nuts that will resist other interventions ). As for the term 'tricking': this probably just sounds more dramatic to my ears than it obviously is (tricking someone into sth. that (s)he does'nt want) - what works for me (I develop software) is to dub it 'hacking'.

              EB - thanks for the pointer.


              • #8
                Make an appointment with your dentist NOW, for sometime early next year.

                When you go in, make time to speak with the receptionist or appointment schedule and ask if they can call you when your next annual exam is due.

                Not all dental clinics are set up like this, but plenty are --- and when they call you up to remind you that it's time to have your teeth checked, then it's taken out of your hands to keep putting off a call to set up an appointment.