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Author Topic: who dares wins - my challenge to you.  (Read 11753 times)
nudone
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« on: September 23, 2006, 12:24:01 PM »

right, i've had enough. i'm sick of reading about how to do things and then finding it still not make enough difference for anything to really change.

so, i challenge you, by the end of this month i will have completed a task that i find impossible to get on with - and for it to be a proper challenge i'd like to see someone else attempt to do the same with something they are procrastinating over.

my task will probably take 7 days to complete, i'm not sure of the hours but it's one of those 'project' type tasks that everyone makes and then sticks on the shelf for another year. i admit that i started the project not long back but now i've got to that stage where i'll look for any excuse not to do it.

is anyone prepared to take the challenge - by the end of september you'll have either completed or made serious inroads into a project you currently cannot contemplate.

go on, i dare you. put your money where your mouth is.

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mouser
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« Reply #1 on: September 23, 2006, 12:27:44 PM »

I'm in.
I have to write an outline/draft for a series of papers i want to write.  I'll make that my end-of-september project.
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nudone
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« Reply #2 on: September 23, 2006, 12:51:15 PM »

good, i was hoping you'd be up for it.

anyone else?

this needs to be focusing on a real procrastinated task - one that you keep avoiding and probably is starting to make you really annoyed that you haven't touched it.
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Lilly
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« Reply #3 on: September 23, 2006, 02:15:09 PM »

End of September, eh? Hmmm... okay. I'm in!  Thmbsup

I have a gigantic-falling-over stack of papers from journals that I've had for years that's sitting on my dresser. I have to just clean it up. Toss the ones I don't want, scan the ones I want to keep but won't be accessing anytime soon, and file the ones that I think will be useful to me in the near future.

If I do manage to do this, it will be a miracle. It's been sitting there taking up space for the last year, and I've been procrastinating on it. So.... I want it to go!

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urlwolf
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« Reply #4 on: September 23, 2006, 02:48:10 PM »

I'm in.
It's my much-procrastinated paper smiley
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Darwin
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« Reply #5 on: September 23, 2006, 06:11:22 PM »

OK I'm in too. Draft of the materials and methods section of my PhD. nudone, this will kill me!
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nudone
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« Reply #6 on: September 24, 2006, 12:39:59 AM »

excellent.

i will not ask how far you've got by the end of sunday - you can elevate your stress levels by procrastinating a little longer if you wish, but i will expect that everyone has made a start by the end of monday.

good luck to everyone. i'm sure that now we've focused on what to do it will be done. you may like to spend a little time meditating on how you will do it...

... if you can imagine it completed and the steps that were required to do it, then all you need do is transform those steps into real life actions. simple isn't it. i'm sure i must have read that in a book.
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nudone
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« Reply #7 on: September 26, 2006, 12:58:20 PM »

time to ask: how are you doing?

anyone not tried to tackle their chosen task yet?
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Lilly
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« Reply #8 on: September 26, 2006, 09:05:11 PM »

time to ask: how are you doing?

anyone not tried to tackle their chosen task yet?

Oooh! Thanks for the reminder. I nearly forgot since i had to run out so early out of here. Doing 5 minutes before I go to sleep.
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Darwin
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« Reply #9 on: September 27, 2006, 01:00:02 AM »

I'm ploddi... er, I mean plugging industriously away at it. Progress much better than at any point in the last six years but may be summed up as good so far but far from good! OK, cards on the table, I've a real external incentive to do this as a job has come up and they'll want to see at least drafts of some chapters, so this simply MUST get done. GIS section almost complete and must now think hard about 3-D morphometrics and stats!
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nudone
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« Reply #10 on: September 27, 2006, 01:23:27 AM »

sounds good so far. keep it rolling...
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mitzevo
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« Reply #11 on: September 27, 2006, 04:39:39 AM »

Ok im in.. but I kind started around the 1st of september.. so I have been doing some simple exercises the last month, every few days.. I'm quite happy to say I can see a 6 pack developing.. he he. And if I stop, it's all a waste of friggin time, you wouldn't believe how many times I've stopped doing some thing, then started again, it's pathetic, I tell you.. Let's see if I can continue this routine.. if not, then I suck.

Bye.  ohmy
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« Reply #12 on: September 27, 2006, 05:19:27 AM »

i've been working on my task about 20 minutes a day (each time telling myself, ok ill just work 5 mins)..  Thmbsup
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app103
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« Reply #13 on: September 27, 2006, 06:41:33 AM »

I am in.

I have something that needs to be done by this Saturday, I have procrastinated for the last 3 weeks, got the definite deadline this past Saturday and am still procrastinating about it.

I didn't speak up about it before because I thought I might have to say what it was I am procrastinating about and I'd rather not.  embarassed

All I know is if I don't get off my butt and start doing it today it will never get done in time.  Sad

And I still don't want to do it....but I will.
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app103
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« Reply #14 on: October 01, 2006, 12:41:22 AM »

I managed to complete the task...and pretty much on time.  cheesy

Then I was given an extra day I didn't need...lol.

In the process I have made a discovery about myself and maybe a way to handle a procrastination problem like this in the future.

The idea of spending 5 minutes a day doing what I have to do doesn't seem to work...I still avoid the 5 minutes and the tasks.

The idea of tricking myself sort of works...but not in the same way as "I'll just take this folder out" or "I'll just work for 5 minutes" does.

My problem takes place in various parts of my house that I don't spend much time in...places I avoid spending much time in....places equal to Hell, in my mind.

I have made a plan:

I am going to spend 1 hour in one of those rooms every day...no TV, no radio, no computer, no other people...alone with 'nothing to do'. I will either become bored out of my mind and sit there like an idiot, or get something done. (more likely get something done)

If you want to try this for yourself, create a place where there are no distractions...nothing interesting that you can use to avoid your tasks. Put everything you need to complete your most procrastinated task there, some sort of timer, and nothing more. Set the timer and spend 1 hour there every day till the task is done. You don't have to do the task if you don't want to...just sit there and do nothing, if you prefer. Chances are you will work on your task just to keep from being bored by doing nothing.

I'll give you an update next weekend and let you know how it works for me.

I think this was how I got all my homework done when I was a kid...sitting in our hallway after school for 2 hours every day waiting for one of my parents to get home, with nothing to do...except my homework. I think if I had a key to let myself in, none of that horrible homework would ever have been finished.
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nudone
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« Reply #15 on: October 01, 2006, 03:43:41 AM »

that sounds like a great experiment to try, app. it's also good to hear that you managed to accomplish your chosen task.

the only thing that strikes me as possibly going wrong with your isolation experiment, is that after the novelty period has worn off you'll start to avoid the room(s) where the task takes place. i'm sure your subconscious will be capable of inventing reasons why you should not go into the room.

basically, i'm just saying, be aware - i feel that the task and the room will become one and the same thing.

i really hope it works for you and it will be interesting to hear how you carry on after the first week/month. do please keep us informed.



as for my task/project that i had set myself to finish by the end of september - it was the cody wallpapers. i almost got everything done - there are a few unfinished that i still seem to be avoiding - hopefully i'll do them today. but, overall, i have to be pleased that i managed to get most of the project done.


how did everyone else do?

did anyone not manage anything at all?
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app103
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« Reply #16 on: October 01, 2006, 04:49:30 AM »

the only thing that strikes me as possibly going wrong with your isolation experiment, is that after the novelty period has worn off you'll start to avoid the room(s) where the task takes place. i'm sure your subconscious will be capable of inventing reasons why you should not go into the room.

basically, i'm just saying, be aware - i feel that the task and the room will become one and the same thing.

That already is the problem...I already avoid those rooms in order to avoid the tasks...which is why I am going to force myself to do this.

I have been avoiding those rooms for years...and it really looks like it too. I'd share pics but it's embarrassing.  embarassed

I hate housework with a passion! The only place in the house that looks decent is the space I occupy the most...my desk area...and the bathroom, because dirty bathrooms scare me.

My task this week was to make my kitchen presentable enough to let in the landlord so he could replace a worn out faucet, which was supposed to be done on Saturday, but he had a lot of other work to do in the apartment across the hall and can't get to my sink till Sunday.
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jgpaiva
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« Reply #17 on: October 01, 2006, 04:58:31 AM »

I will either become bored out of my mind and sit there like an idiot, or get something done.
Grin Grin Grin

If you want to try this for yourself, create a place where there are no distractions...nothing interesting that you can use to avoid your tasks. Put everything you need to complete your most procrastinated task there, some sort of timer, and nothing more.
I've tried your idea too, that's why i consider that instantboss is fantastic for me. My only problem is that all the work i have to get done is stuff in my computer, which means it is in the exact same place where i get distracted and there's no "phisical" way to escape.
My only solution to this is to use instantboss and make an enormous effort not to do anything other than work and stop working in the defined moments.
But...

after the novelty period has worn off you'll start to avoid the room(s) where the task takes place
Yes, i've stopped using it.

 Angry Angry it's stupid, i feel mad at myself for not doing anything, and still, don't.
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app103
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« Reply #18 on: October 01, 2006, 07:30:00 AM »

I've tried your idea too, that's why i consider that instantboss is fantastic for me. My only problem is that all the work i have to get done is stuff in my computer, which means it is in the exact same place where i get distracted and there's no "phisical" way to escape.
My only solution to this is to use instantboss and make an enormous effort not to do anything other than work and stop working in the defined moments.
But...

after the novelty period has worn off you'll start to avoid the room(s) where the task takes place
Yes, i've stopped using it.

 Angry Angry it's stupid, i feel mad at myself for not doing anything, and still, don't.

hmmm...maybe I should think about putting in some sort of really cool reward for when you finish the full work/break cycle. Something to keep you wanting to use it. I have an idea, but I am not going to say anything about it yet.  Wink
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Lilly
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« Reply #19 on: October 01, 2006, 07:38:01 AM »

how did everyone else do?

did anyone not manage anything at all?

Worked on it the first two days after the challenge, and then kept doing the "I'll do it later", and "yeah, I'll get to it tonight, I have more pressing things to do". Before I knew, it was Sunday, and the huge pile is still there  Angry

I did, however, realize that part of my problem is that when I have a lot to do, I go on auto-pilot, and in a way I "check out". That makes what I'm doing completely mindless, and I disconnect from what I'm experiencing, and what works better for me. That goes for procrastination as well as work. I think mindfulness, being aware of the task at hand, is very significant, and might be key in actually making decisions about what to do at the moment.

Not sure what to do next.... I have a list of tasks as big as my head from last week that I didn't get to. I am having a very difficult time managing all the schoolwork I have to do. I like app's idea above about locking myself in a room until I work on X for Y hours. But, like jgpaiva above, most of my work is on the computer.

Ah well.... I'll keep trying different things, until something sticks. That's what this experiment is all about, no?
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app103
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« Reply #20 on: October 01, 2006, 08:32:06 AM »

I like app's idea above about locking myself in a room until I work on X for Y hours.

That wasn't exactly what I meant. It's locking yourself in a room for a length of time that would be unbearable to sit & do nothing...with the only alternative being to work on your task. Then you can choose which you'd rather do. The unpleasantness of boredom? or the work?

You can feel free to do nothing and be bored and not work. But can you really feel comfortable doing absolutely nothing for an hour or 2 every day? It would be kind of like sitting at a table in a library, all alone, and not reading....just staring at the table in front of you. No sane person could handle doing nothing like that for very long. It would be torture.

It's just a matter of putting yourself into a position where you have to choose the lesser of 2 evils...boredom or the dreaded task.

My main goal in life is to not be bored, so this might work well for me.
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mouser
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« Reply #21 on: October 01, 2006, 08:34:13 AM »

i think this challenge is SUPER important, and i've decided in my mind this is a CRITICAL skill to master.
we need to be able to say, i'm going to work on this for at least 5 minutes each day.

there are no days where you can't find 5 minutes to spare - that means that there should be no excuse for not finding time for this - it's really just mental resistance.

so i suggest we start this again - starting from October 1st.  Choose a project you have been avoiding.  Commit to working on it AT LEAST 5 MINUTES PER DAY, every day, for the next 7 days.  make yourself a checklist with each day listed or use a calendar.

then find 5 minutes each day to work on it.  you don't have to do great work on it, you dont even have to do anything but sit down with the work in front of you and do nothing else but that.  just tell yourself you are going to think about it for 5 minutes.  get yourself a timer perhaps.  but just do it. even if it means sitting still in front of a blank peice of paper for 5 minutes.
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mouser
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« Reply #22 on: October 01, 2006, 08:35:49 AM »

don't aim for x hours - as forster says that's going to create a huge amount of resistance from your brain.  just tell (promise) yourself you will work for 5 minutes on it, each day, and stick with that.  you'll often find that once you get started you can work for longer, but the point is you are only committing your brain to 5 minutes, which is much less stressfull.
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Lilly
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« Reply #23 on: October 01, 2006, 08:48:57 AM »

Okay, here's a question....

I can grok the 5 minute activity. I can also grok the 5 minute might turn into something else. But, if you're trying to be organized and be able to master your schedule, how can you schedule anything else if a 5 minute task might turn into a half an hour or two hour venture? It's easy to get sucked into these types of projects...

make yourself a checklist with each day listed or use a calendar. then find 5 minutes each day to work on it. 

I've actually just sat down to come up with a morning routine checklist of things I have to do every morning. My goal is to stick to that every day for the next week. It will include the 5 minute dreaded task as well.

Thanks for renewing the challenge, mouser. I think that's a great idea. I think the resistance to having a deadline threw me off, so it's worth taking up again.
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mouser
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« Reply #24 on: October 01, 2006, 08:54:25 AM »

since we are focusing on mark forster i will just again remind you that part of his strategy is to circumvent the normal resistance that your mind puts up to these things, and not put stuff on your todo list that you can't actually maintain.

if you make yourself too-ambitious a plan for each day, your brain is likely to rebel.  so just dont go crazy and plan out some schedule packed with stuff that you'll never be able to stick with.  start really small - as small as your need to, in order that you can actually work on what you've chosen to work on.  reduce the commitment until you can overcome the resistance.
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