The Three Ways We Fool Ourselves

Yesterday I had a plan. I wrote it out in my little notebook. However at 10:30am, I received a call from work. I didn’t answer. I waited for the voicemail. The voicemail informed me that I was not at work, and that the schedule said I was supposed to be at work.

So I went online and checked my schedule – I was supposed to be at work.

My meticulous plan that I had written in my little notebook would not be executed before work as planned. Instead I would have to complete my plan after work.

So I arrive home from work.

“I will edit and publish my blog post right away.”

I don’t. Instead I decide that I NEED to eat something because if I don’t, I won’t have enough energy to complete my blog post. We have a limited amount of willpower and eating healthy regular meals helps to expand our willpower. So that’s logical.

I make a wrap with left over chicken, American cheese and a gratuitous amount of Tabasco sauce.

I eat it in five minutes flat.

“I need to get up and work on that blog post.”

I decide that I need a few minutes (or 90 minutes) to just relax and watch T.V. It will help my writing.

Ninety minutes later I’m sill sitting at the couch watching T.V.

“I should get up and work on that blog post.”

I decide that I’m just not “feeling it” today and will be better served going to bed early and working on the rough draft fresh after a good night’s sleep. Today is just not my day. I can feel it.

So I crack open a beer and read for a few hours. Then I decide that I want to watch the first Captain America movie. I heard the second one good. It got great reviews. And I haven’t seen the first, so if I want to enjoy the second one, I must watch the first one at this very moment (midnight).

The movie ends at 2am.

I go to bed.

The Three Ways We Fool Ourselves

I do not have as many days like the one above as I used to, but they still do occur. Each time I end up being lazy or not doing anything productive, I kick myself the next day.

Why didn’t I just do the work?

There are many reasons. Sometimes they are out of our control but more times than not, they aren’t. We allow our minds to fool ourselves into being sedentary. The following are the three ways I fool myself into doing nothing.

  1. Intuition/Gut Feeling. Based on a feeling, I decide to not do any work. I can’t explain it but I just feel that I would be better served to not do any work, so I trust the intuition and move on to do nothing. Like in the above story, after watching a few hours of T.V. and reading, I get a feeling that I shouldn’t do anything for the rest of the day. So I don’t. There’s always tomorrow.
  2. Rational Logic. I use productivity research as justification for not doing another thing with the rest of my day. It was logical that I should eat something before writing because I hadn’t eaten anything in over five hours; however knowing myself, I should not have waited to write. If I don’t do it right away, I end up getting caught up in being lazy and never get around to working on projects. But the research IS there! So it is hard to argue. Plus there is always tomorrow.
  3. Irrational Logic. I use non-substantiated research that makes zero sense… except to me… when I think it in my own stupid head. I thought I needed to watch T.V. in order to write better. I actually believed that thought for a second and then followed through with it. I watched T.V. because it would help my writing. I allowed myself to believe such foolishness.

I am finishing this blog post on a Sunday night at 11:44pm. My plan was to finish this very blog post before 11:30am. That was over twelve hours ago. Things didn’t go as planned, but this time, I didn’t trust my intuition. I didn’t listen to rational logic, nor did I listen to irrational logic.

I just sat down and wrote. It’s simple… At least for this Sunday night.

Keep learning my friends…