Building on today's success
I wanted to write here and see if I can define what I did and build on the small amount of success I had today at work. I also wanted to write down some things that may seem obvious, but that finally clicked a little in my brain.
1. I now fully realize and understand that I cannot indulge in any personal e-mail or casual web surfing at work. No matter if I set a timer, write down a time limit or whatever it always leads to lots of wasted time. Like with eating disorder issues, alcohol, it is better to simply not have the temptation around. Period. You can't eat junk food that's not there. You can't get lost in the web mental haze if you're not surfing.
2. I now fully realize that the personal surfing that I do is not truly relaxing despite the lies that I have been telling myself. Yes, I get a little boost when I first start (or have that first drink...), but that feeling soon deterioriates and clouds every other emotion I have for the rest of the day. It drains my energy so that I have less to share with my family, my friends, and my personal growth. Conversely, when I make even small progress on tasks it fills me with energy, enthusiasm and creativity for the rest of the day, even though starting out i have to go through a very uncomfortable few moments.
3. Going into the PA chat room and commiting to a short microburst of 5-7 minutes can help jar me out of the zombie like, distracted state that procrastinating puts me into. I will continue to try Pro's idea of putting on some item that signifies that I'm getting started on my work. In my case it is a rubber band with 'Opt in' written on it.
4. Working in cycles of very short term planning followed by microbursts seems really effective. Other than surfing the web my other big procrastination road block is when the task I need to do is not well enough defined. For example, I may have on my list to pay bills - that's too nebulous. I need to write down every bill that needs paying and steps such as addressing envelopes, putting on stamps, taking to the mailbox. So, it seems that if I take 5 minutes (set timer!) and write down exactly what I think I can accomplish in the next 15 minutes in very small do-able pieces and then set the timer and work on only those tasks for 15 minutes, I can stay focused. I do big over all planning of the day first thing in the morning, but
then break the bigger projects down into small steps along the way. I
guess it sort of puts the blinders on me to keep me from floundering.
5. When I'm in a working phase and a distracting thought comes into my head, I write it down on a scrap piece of paper and put it into a pile to deal with later. If I don't write it down so that I know I can think about it later it will keep me from focusing.
6. I acknowledge that ruly rejuvinating breaks during the day are to stand and stretch, get a cool drink of water, eat a snack, go outside and stand in the sun, reach out to a colleague, etc. Again, web surfing and checking personal e-mail is not truly relaxing.
7. Keeping a written reminder of small rewards for accomplishing a set number of work cycles in front of me is motivating.
8. Though I have not tried it, I think that keeping a time log would be helpful for several reasons.
So my goals for the next two days of work are to:
1. Completely abstain from checking personal e-mail or surfing/shopping for personal purposes at work. (before and after work or at the end of the day are fine)
2. Do larger scale planning in the morning, but plod through the day in 'micro-plan, micro burst, asses, micro-plan, micro burst, assess' cycles. (approx. 5 min assessing/planning, 15 min working)
3. Write down rewards for reaching goals and then reward myself!
4. Take regular breaks to clear my mind, but only on activities that really are relaxing.
Sorry for the super long post, but I wanted to work through this to clear it in my head. I'd love any feedback or insight that anyone might have (If you actually made it to the bottom of this tome!).
I've learned so much already from others who have shared here. It makes me hopeful as I have never felt in the past.