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Procastination: an incideous problem and a dangerous enemy

Towards the tail end of last week I got round to doing something which I had been putting off. During the process of “getting round to it”, doing it and then afterward, I did some thinking about the problem of procrastination.

None of this is particularly original, but I noticed a few things:

  • The (irrational) anxiety which was present while I was putting the task off,
  • The tension which I felt when trying to force myself to do it, and
  • The way the resistance increased as I tried harder and harder (The “Law of Reversed Effect”).

You’ll be pleased to hear that I got the task done, and that it was less of a challenge than the anxiety I felt implied. In fact, part of it turned out to be a complete non-event.

The techniques I used to help myself over this particular little incident (which really was not that serious), were:

  • Simple “Self-Induced Relaxation”
  • Dividing the problem into very small parts, and then starting one!
  • Using the momentum gained to propel me into making further progress
  • Congratulating myself (with positive “self-talk”) as I completed each part
  • Rewarding myself with something at the end.

A fool with a piece of paper…

…yup, that’s me. A fortnight ago I received the letter telling me that I had passed my Diploma in Clinical Hypnosis. It has taken me this long to get round to advertising the fact. Now I can really, and honestly invite people to “look into my eyes.”

Seriously, I’m proud of the achievement. It cost a considerable amount of effort and I look forward to being able to help people improve their lives.

Standing on the escalator

How often have you been given the advice: “stop and take time to smell the roses” (or something similar)? I know that I keep on telling myself to do just that. And how often you ever stand still (physically)?

Today something happened which surprised me, and made me pause for thought. The office where I work has escalators (that’s moving stairways for anyone not familiar with the term) which join the various levels. As I joined the escalator on the ground floor, I noticed a maintenance man working with an “emergency stop” button, but paid no attention. Normally I walk up the escalator (you know, “always in a hurry”, and in any case you should try walking down an up escalator) but today I just stood there. My excuse is that I was holding a cup of tea and I didn’t want to spill it.

Naturally, I just stood there, and, lost in thought, I waited to reach the next floor. Unexpectedly, suddenly, I found that I was not going up. The feeling was strangely disorientating. Then I felt I shouldn’t be standing there, with all those other people behind me (who were doing exactly the same thing).Of course, what had happened was that the maintenance man had inadvertently stopped the escalator. I don’t know if he pressed the button, or did something else.

The thoughts which this minor incident prompted were:

  • That “standing on the escalator” or similar (in)activities gives a great opportunity to stop and gather your thoughts, and
  • That the sensation I had when the escalator had stopped was most peculiar.

Take time to smell the roses! Or meditate or whatever…