Have you ever started a journal? More than one? That keep sort of damping out? [That's a spring equation metaphor.] This is from an old one that didn't get very far at all. But now that it's here, I get to erase the fool thing.
This is meant to be deliberate, but searchable, babbling. I am going to base it on a review of a book and on my work projects. I’m also going to be talking about personal things, which is probably not wise on a work computer. But I hope this will integrate my thoughts and tighten up my priorities.
The book is The Procrastinator’s Handbook: Mastering the Art of Doing it Now. I’m talking, here, about a book partly to reinforce what I’m reading and partly to explore a hypothesis. The hypothesis is that I’ve been socialized to the written work more than I’ve been socialized to people. This may meet my craving to interact in reading/writing. This may use writing to point me toward interacting verbally. It may wean me away from the internet and cut back my library book list. Or it may not. [Oh, did it ever not.]
A word about babbling: it’s listed as an onomatopoeic echoic, the sound of a brook- - murmurs - - foolish talk - - baby talk. I’m using it to mean unstructured talk. I’ll go where the thoughts go. As an example of babbling, researchers have shown that babies born in signing households babble in sign. The research was done to answer the question of whether A) children speak when their brains are capable of language formation or B) they speak when their brains are capable of controlling their vocal apparatus. The answer was A. Babies raised in signing households would attempt to communicate at about the same time as babies in speaking households.
When babies were trying to speak, they would make one sound and repeat it multiple times. Speaking is done with the lips, mouth, tongue, and vocal cords. Signing is done with hand position, hand location, and hand/finger movement. When babies were trying to sign, the would make one hand position and repeat a movement with it multiple times. Although language acquisition comes at nearly the same time, on everage, many babies can sign before they can speak, so that learning to sign will allow them to communicate sooner. For other babies, the opposite is probably true, but it doesn't come up as often.
But on to the book. I’ve read through it at least once before and have started it several times. Still, I couldn’t tell you the exact contents. I’ve read several similar books and, as I tell my children, I have a mind like a steel sieve. I’ll be able to write in this book due to a gad thing (good + bad = gad). It was a library book at one time. My cat peed on it. Not enough to make it unusable, but too much to send it, in all good conscience, back to the library. I paid the fine and now I have the book to keep. [I totally and completely do not remember this.]
Something similar happened to me regarding my knees and a root canal. I have arthritis in my knees and have had surgery on one of them. After recovering from the surgery, things were still stiff, awkward, and precarious. Then I got the root canal. The dentist described it as ‘one of those squishy ones’ and referred me to a specialist. He prescribed Vioxx while I waited, to pull the swelling down. On the third day, my knees were feeling better, and more important, were working much better.
I called the bone doctor to enquire and he said, oh, sure, that was the cause. He prescribed Vioxx for arthritis all the time. So I asked for a prescription. I have no idea what he was waiting for. I’ve gone from Vioxx to Celebrex to Mobic as the medical warnings have come in waves. Getting the diabetes pills has helped, too, though I have no clue why. I’ve forgotten to take my morning NSAID, and I can tell you that I wouldn’t want to be without them as a regular thing. That root canal was a real blessing.
But on to the book. Like all personal improvement books, it’s mostly chatty anecdotes and arguments about why the change is needed. In this case the change is Not Procrastinating. I’ll try to pick out the bones here. I have to divert to mention that the Acknowledgement section gets me.
Most Acknowledgements or Dedications get me. You know the kind: the ones where dozens of people are thanked for their help writing the book or supporting the author. I’d have a hard time telling that many people that I was writing, let alone asking for their help, advice, or free meals. Maybe that’s why they’ve published a book and I haven’t.
First Chapter: Tackling the Dread
Despite the title, the chapter starts with comments about the inaccuracy of most gut feelings about how long a task will take.
· It might not take as long as you expect.
· It might take a lot longer than you expect – so you’ll need to re-evaluate.
· It might take longer than you expect, but you’ll feel good making a substantial dent in it
The first exercise is a 60 minute jump-in. Do something that you’ve been putting off for 60 minutes and see what happens. No breaks or distractions and you can quit after 60 minutes even if you’re not done.
This reminds me of the hypothesis I once tested of “you can do anything if you spend 20 minutes a day on it.” I’ll tell you about that later. This is blue so that I don’t have to read through this whole thing to get to find it again. [I may have already posted the twenty minutes a day story. It's also known as the elephant grass story. Yup. It's embedded in a fragment of Organizing Aunt Sheila. It starts about halfway down. You can't miss it.]
Don’t let yourself be stopped by things that you hate to do. Acknowledge the hate, first, then find a way to deal with it.
· Do the hated parts first for a limited period of time
· Visualize the relief and sense of accomplishment.
· Play music or listen to a book on tape if it’s boring
· Find someone else to do it with
· Make lists of the dread – you may need to get tools or something else organized first
· (mine) make lists of other things to do so that you won’t be worrying about forgetting them while you do this thing
· reward yourself
· deprive yourself
· be sure you’re doing enough interesting stuff not to feel deprived
At the end of the chapter I was supposed to make a list of big and little rewards. I think I’ve been working at that, although I haven’t been withholding. Hmmm. I’m thinking about a few specific things, that might work, although they’d be withholdings, and it didn’t ask for that.
Damn, I like writing. [So the question is: why is it so hard to get started?]
Chapter 2 What’s Your Excuse [I think that's about as much as I can legally post. It wasn't a bad book. I did find it useful. Of course, at the time I had no idea that there was such a thing as ADHD-PI, or that I had the condition. I'm taking pills for that and now I'm not self-talking about procrastination, I'm self-talking about focusing. There has been improvement.]
October 18, 2010 – It’s been awhile since I even opened this. [This isn't the date that I wrote this, it's a date on which I came back, noticed that there was no date, and dated a very small comment. I'm going to give myself permission to stop here and delete this vestigial journal from my hard drive.]