Note: Though "simple" this is one of the most powerful tools for increasing the results in your life!
And it has an odd seeming side effect: it (mechanically) reduces anxiety.
About The Method, Its benefits, And How It Works
The Activities It Can Be Used For
Examples Of Actual Situations
So what is one method, short of willpower and overpowering myself, that will work?
I CAN DO ANYTHING FOR 5 MINUTES! WELL, HOW ABOUT A MINUTE?
The solution: Insertion of small amounts of time where we won't miss it and where we tell ourselves "this will be only a few minutes and it'll help."
It eliminates the push-pull of worrying about not doing what you feel compelled to do, as you've told your mind you will be doing it soon. "No prob, man!"
WHAT ABOUT WITHOUT A TIMER?
A minute is a long time. If we're supposed to do something for a minute and it has any effort or concentration in it, we'll often stop short. The "secret" is giving ourselves the equivalent of a deadline (actually a time when the activity is over and we can go back to what we were doing).
We set a timer for the one minute activity and don't stop until it goes off!
In fact, this is useful in larger activities, where you can break them into pieces, allocate time and then go at it.
The funny thing is that this does not actually take away from our time long term. Most of those things would have taken time later. Many are so beneficial that we end up saving time by working in a state of higher resourcefulness. And we certainly feel better either from the action itself, or pride or the result we created.
I CAN SET THE TONE AND MAKE THE NEXT ACTIVITY MUCH MORE PLEASANT
One major benefit is using this to implement the "setting a tone" strategy that is so effective in upping the tone level of a day.
The exercise can be as simple as this:
"I will be peaceful and calm. I am simply doing what I need to do to get what I want - and that is as worth it as anything I could do for other purposes and needs, such as fun. All is ok. I can actually enjoy this..."
WHAT ARE SOME SHORT TIME ACTIVITIES THAT WORK WITH THIS?
Though you can vary the time, these are some "timer" activities:
Stretch, exercise, run arms in circle like windmills, jump up and down...
The "I will be peaceful and calm..." 'meditation'; or any "state of being" you want
to set up.
Fix a snack
Clean up a mess or organize something unorganized that you see
Start the laundry
A walk (could be 1 min or 2 min or 10...)
Clean up a mess or organize something unorganized that you see. (Doing this for 5 or 10 minutes makes a huge difference in how the place looks and feels. Just set up a rule that if you see something that needs picking up, you do it right then, maybe using the 2 minute minimum rule.
Break them into steps and set the timer. This helps one to "dechunk" in one's brain but it also is "settling" in that one has a period of time formally committed with an accountability buzzer at the end. It also gives you feedback on how well you are estimating the time spent on things.
HOW BEST TO IMPLEMENT THIS?
To be effective at this, we need to have a timer immediately available for use, otherwise the urge will pass. We'd either have to carry one around with us or have one in each major possible use location. The latter would work better.
I'd put one in the office, the bathroom, the kitchen, the bedroom, and one other room you're in a lot. You'd purchase them by googling "cheap electronic kitchen timers." To carry it around with you, google "timer on a rope" or "timer around neck." I strongly urge you to consider the timer around your neck!
While I still have the timers all over the place, I use at my desk either the phone app or the tablet app for instantly resetting the alarms (I use primarily the 50 minute alarm, for when I am doing 60 minute work segments, and the 80 minute alarm, when I am doing 90 minute work segments - and the 10 or 20 minute alarm, depending on the break time I've chosen). When one alarm goes off, I tap another one right away and then do the thing the next alarm is for.
[I move the 50, 80, 10, and 20 minute alarms to be grouped for easy use right next to each other at the top. The app in the iPhone and iPad and PC is Timer+ (free) - on PC, use "right click" to access delete, modify. (You can run several timer alarms at once!)
OBJECTIONS TO USING THIS METHOD
Broaching this idea with one person, that person expressed distaste for it as trying to fit in another thing and doing too many things. However, I think it actually has a person not have his/her mind on undones and/or it softens the mood and makes things more pleasant - for a big gain and not a loss at all!
EXAMPLES OF USING THIS METHOD
I was hopped up and excited about getting the exam done, so I could do more fun stuff and meet a deadline, too. It meant I'd get paid on an old debt owed me. I was going to do 5 minutes of calming as I noticed I felt tired and a bit upset (engine running, anxiety a bit) or "not good." Then I started without doing the 5 minutes, succeedeed on the first part, still noticed I was too hopped up, so I did a minute, saying simply "be calm and cool relax, feel good" (if you wonder what to say, just say the opposite of the unwanted condition). but for only the 1 minute commitment, which took all of the determination and patience I could gin up. I did it and it felt so good, I pressed the timer for another minute! (After all, who doesn't have a minute!) I felt so much calmer and relaxed. It seemed phenomenal for such a short period of time. (Oh, I actually cheated a little. I stopped the timer when I got an idea or a concern and wrote down or handled it, then went back - still good and effective.)