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'Feel Better' Lists Lifehack

This is a technique that I've devised that's helped me tremendously.

There's a certain state of mind I find myself in sometimes, where I'm not getting any work done, I'm not getting any sleep in, and I'm not particularly having much fun or even relaxing, and, by my definition, I'm wasting time. Basically procrastinating, reading sites, sitting around, it's icky.

So what I did is I made a list over a few weeks of all the little tiny things that contribute to getting me in that state, and the actions I can take to reverse them. My list has a few categories with things such as brushing my teeth, cleaning up my desk, stretching, bathing, organizing a list of tasks for the day, using the bathroom, getting proper nutrition. All of these things are incredibly mundane, but they're very easy to forget, and not doing them contributes to that feeling.

What I do when I'm feeling all nasty like that, or any time I need to get work done, is I flip to that page in my pocket moleskine, then get out a post-it note and copy down all the items that are relevant. Usually there are a small handful of em, and it'll take me about fifteen minutes to get in a nice state where I can approach my work comfortably.

The trick here is that doing any one of those items on the list doesn't do a hell of a lot. But in a ten minute dash, suddenly my desk is clean, I've organized my list of tasks, I've changed from the clothes I've been wearing all week, and I've got a nice cold soda. It feels good, because there's a good chance that most of those things were subconsciously bugging me.

Anybody use a tactic like this? I've found it helpful, thought I'd pass it along.

TOPICS: Life Hacks
a11en's picture

Really interesting nuttdan! This touches on...

Really interesting nuttdan!

This touches on things that I've found that contribute to my poor mental state- which in turn contributes to my procrastination. Things like this are sort of mental-baggage. It's weird. I hate to admit it, but I can't disregard my cleanliness around the house... having a clean place, or a clean desk just makes me feel better. I hate to say it, as those who know me know I hate being clean... and hate super-clean freaks even more. ;) Well, ok, you have to be really OCD. I once watched one friend of mine straighten his PC speakers for around 5 minutes (no kidding)... I wanted to have an intervention right then and there...

To add to this, my mental baggage, or weight, gets even worse when I know subconsciously or semi-consciously that I'm making the wrong choices... what happens next is semi-relaxation. I want a break, but I'm not giving myself a break, and I know I'm supposed to do my work, but I'm taking a break anyways, even though I know I'm being bad... and posting on 43folders board. ;) wooops... So, the break isn't really a break... and my brows furrow even more... and my headache grows... and nothing gets done... and I get sadder. :) I know I'm stupid for not seeing this more clearly, but I often forget this. [The downfall of a procrastinator.]

What I've been trying to do lately is motivate myself based on the little snippet that's stuck with me from The Road Less Traveled about Procrastination. Quite simply, when I procrastinate: "I'm choosing short-term pleasure and long-term pain, over short-term pain and long-term pleasure." Putting off doing my floors, or cleaning my desk, just helps my frustrated mood more... and I'm gaining a slight bit of short-term pleasure, say in reading more on lifehacker...

Thanks for this great tip, Nuttdan! I'll try and implement it. Perhaps actually putting pen to paper will help solidify what I'm kidding myself about... that it's actually nice to work an 8-5 day, like everyone else... see the sun... clean my carpets and floors (Roomba does a wonderful job of the first of these... yipee)... and declutter and reorganize with GTD! :)





An Oblique Strategy:
Honor thy error as a hidden intention


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