Sunday, March 27, 2011

I'm Sorry TV, Mommy Can't Look At You Right Now

In my last post I discussed The Procrastination Equation by Piers Steel and this weekend I put some of what I read into effect.  Friday night I started to put some of my procrastination goals into effect.  I had the apartment to myself, I came home from work sat on the couch and turned on the TV.  After flipping through the channels for about 10 minutes I turned it off.  There was nothing on.  I could have found something to stare blankly at but I didn’t.  I decided to eliminate distractions so I put my ipod in the speaker (something I can never do when my roommates are home because the TV is always on) and cleaned the entire apartment.  Once the apartment was cleaned I did a couple of unfinished tasks, reprogrammed the universal remote in my bedroom, repaired a broken picture frame and organized on top of the fridge.  I wrote a couple personal emails, searched for some inspirational images and played some Donkey Kong.  Pretty productive Friday evening if you ask me.
Saturday I spent most of the day outside the apartment, but the first thing I did when I got back was NOT turn on the TV.  I got my laptop out and did an hour of tutorials.  On Sunday I inputted my receipts into my budget, read, did a half an hour of tutorials and planned out the finer points of next month of Happiness Project.  I debated going to the gym but I found myself rebelling against it.  Turns out that Value plays a bigger part in my feelings toward my tutorials and fitness than I first thought.  I dislike doing them.  My tutorials are great and all, but the pace is very slow which makes it hard to stay engaged and I just hate the gym. 
I went back and re-read the chapter on overcoming issues of Value.  Some points I made include:
- If the task bores you, try to make it more difficult for yourself to create flow/total engagement
- connect your tasks with long term goals
- accept that you don’t have infinite mental energy
(take breaks and set a realistic amount of time spent on any one thing)
- try to be productive in the morning when you have the most mental energy
- reward progress

So to make my tutorials more challenging/engaging I’m making a rule for myself that I must continuously take notes and starting with the next set will follow along.  I’m going to create inspiration boards to help remind me of long-term goals.  I’ve never wanted an office before, but when I started to think of where to put my inspiration boards I realized I didn’t have a space for it.  Mornings are my nemesis!  I do know that it’s a nice feeling to have accomplished a lot on a Saturday morning before noon and be able to chill without guilt.  Reward progress.  I find this really hard, as it’s not external like a prize for winning a contest.  I thought perhaps I could only watch TV or a movie once I was done my tutorials, or I can only read my blogs once I do my workout.  The bottom line is that I have to make myself enjoy these tasks one way or another or I will deplete my will power.
I must admit I am amazed by the power of turning off the TV.  I sat in the living room letting the uncomfortable feeling on the empty screen sink in.  It wasn’t long before I got uncomfortable enough to start thinking of things I could be doing.  Seriously, just try it for one night, come home from work and don’t turn the TV on.  It was amazing.  I’m going to have to have a family meeting with the rest of my household and see if I can get everyone on board for cutting down their TV time.

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