Tweaking fun and nudging myself out of procrastination

Posted: - Modified: | kaizen, life, productivity

Using rational economics to analyze what I do for fun seems to have paid off. By changing the costs and benefits of different activities, I’ve managed to nudge myself out of (excessive?) reading and writing, finally tackling some projects I’ve been procrastinating for a while.

Increasing the cost of reading: I decided to be pickier about the books I read. Instead of skimming books looking for nuggets or interesting turns of phrase, I now check the table of contents, head straight for the chapters with the most promise, and evaluate whether or not to continue. This means I spend less time reading on autopilot. While I’d love to be enthused about Mortimer J. Adler’s collection of essays and references on the Great Books, it’s just lower-priority at the moment.

Increasing the cost of writing: Switching to a “draw first, then write” procedure is working well for me. Not every blog post is going to be illustrated, but it will be fun drawing more. I might also experiment with requiring myself to work on a non-writing, non-reading personal project (sewing, for example) before I can sit down to write a blog post. Or maybe walking, and even tying the length of time or the number of words I can write to the length of exercise or the number of steps (divided by a suitable number, of course). This probably means going back to evening pages, although exercise would go well with morning pages.

Decreasing the cost of drawing: Achieved by settling in for a good afternoon of drawing with pencils, index cards, and cats willing to provide creative breaks. Result: I drew the networking tips presentation I’ve been procrastinating. I’ve sent it off for review, and will post it when approved.

Decreasing the cost of sewing: Making the time to watch the instructional videos helped me learn how to use the serger, which meant being able to finish the pants I’ve been meaning to hem.

Next: Hmm, maybe I can apply the same process in order to become more social…

2011-01-25 Tue 20:45

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