In this lesson, we are going to practice seeing our patterns in action.
You may have already been practicing this. As you have your container, about 5 minutes of doing a set task, set the timer and do nothing but that specific task for the entire 5 minutes. As you begin to do the task, you start to see your urges. You see what fear, discomfort, or uncertainty comes up.
Watch this over the next few days. What are you seeing? Notice throughout the day what patterns arise. Journal a few sentences about what’s going on. This is one of the best ways to reflect and capture all of those patterns that are coming up.
- Set your timer
- Notice what’s going on
- What is it you are running from? It could be finances or taxes that tend to trigger us to run away. It could be a concentration task that you may not be that good at yet. Perhaps it is eating healthy or exercising.
- What is the uncertainty, difficulty, or discomfort that causes you to want to run? Switching modes from distraction mode to fully-focused mode can be uncomfortable as well. Uncertainty of whether you’ll do a good job or not may be another.
- Notice what you are running from and why. It could be eating healthy or exercise. We can feel the physical discomfort of that but also in our minds we can see the mental discomfort of wanting to do something easier than putting ourselves in physical discomfort like exercise.
- Watch and reflect. See yourself do it. There is no harm in procrastinating at this point if you are watching and reflecting.
- What are you running to? What are your favorite ways to cope with uncertainty? What distractions are easier and make your feel more productive?
- What happens when you take those away? What does your mind do when you take away your favorite things to run to? Does your mind fill itself with other distractions?
- Notice the narrative or story you tell yourself. See what stories you tell yourself that allow you to procrastinate. Notice the mental patterns.
To reprogram our mental patterns, we need to understand them first. Is there self-doubt? Is there self-criticism or harshness? Do you think you need to let yourself off the hook like you “deserve a break” or “deserve a treat”? Ask yourself these things. The patterns are okay for now because we are learning to watch them.
As we watch, we gain awareness and see the pain around us. As we procrastinate, we see that we are putting off the life we want to live, the health we want to have, or the great work we want to create. We are making our lives harder in some way and are hurting the people we love.
Not only do we want to watch the patterns, but we need to watch the effect of those patterns. After we see how we are hurting ourselves and our loved ones, we begin to get tired of that harming pattern. When we get to this point, we are ready for a change. We are ready to reprogram.
Practice watching your patterns and see what comes up.
How is your first week in the Unprocrastination Challenge going? Check in on Slack.