Saturday, May 24, 2008

Subdued Sensibility

I'm pretty late for this week's blog post, but I'll get to that in a bit.

Thus far, I have managed to keep one of my 2008 New Years Resolutions, which was to maintain this weekly blog. Although there may have been some bumps and corner cutting along the way, I am proud that I have managed to keep my resolution for almost half the year. As I may have mentioned before, I have a problem with procrastination.

For this particular week, I was plagued with Team Fortress 2, an online multi-player game that I got for my birthday and one which I'm determined to master. I'm taking the time right now to make a blog post as I know full well that if I start playing again at anytime, I won't get anything done.

While procrastination is not something new and unique to myself (I'm sure all of us procrastinate a bit at some point or another), my ability to forgo logic in the process is utterly fascinating. Not only do I somehow overcome overbearing logic that would otherwise motive weaker willed people, but I counter my own logic with reasoning that justifies my actions.

I'll say right now that I fully intend to give up TF2 starting Sunday evening up until my Black belt testing on June 13th. Whether that will happen or not is still in the air. In my mind there is a constant and fierce battle between my motivated personality and my slacker one. Certainly I can become incredibly engrossed in work, evident in quite a few projects that I have undertaken so far this year. However, the hardest part always seems to be getting started. For example, I procrastinate sleep. I can feel a strong urge to rest, but I simply cannot seem to remove myself from whatever activity I'm engaged in and drag myself into bed and close my eyes. Pulling all nighters during exam times have seem to ingrain a habit of staying up late even when there isn't anything to do. For the most part, I would play games, but I would stop that once my mental and motor responsiveness decays. Even then, I would chug along for a couple more hours doing random things until I absolutely must collapse on the bed.

This happens often enough that I can recognize the onset early on. Yet, somehow, I cannot prevent myself from entering the vicious cycle. This is what I called subdued sensibility. The concept is a variation of a decision making trick that I crafted up a while back. The decision making trick is simple: you use a random event, such as a toss of the coin or roll of the dice, to help you make a decision. Once the decision is made by the random event, you examine your own feelings about the decision outcome and, based on your emotions, you can figure out which decision is, in actuality, your preference. For example, if you're deciding between two colours on a purchase (maybe a DS?), you can toss a coin to force one choice upon yourself. If you don't mind the decision, then you go with the coin, but if you're hesitant and not that willing to act on the coin, your preference is obviously the alternative. While this method does not take into consideration third variables, such whether you actually want either in the first place, it does help to make a vast majority of binary decisions.

Subdued sensibility, on the other hand, is a concept that explains your thinking process when you rationalize some action over what logical reasoning dictates. For example, if you know you should be studying, but end up watching a hockey game on TV, your mind provides you with an excuse to ignore studying for the duration of the game. You may suffer regret, or cognitive dissonance, afterwards, but while you're procrastinating, normal sensibility has been ostracized.

The solution? Utilize your brain and make a contingency plan. Do not rely on yourself to make the right decision at the crucial moment. That situation is not unlike relying on a freshly awaken mind to correctly decided between getting up and going back to bed. More likely that not, if you haven't trained yourself, you would go back to bed. My little sister told me recently that she sleeps on the floor on important dates so to prevent herself from oversleeping. Myself, I have developed many systems to keep me from procrastinating. The current one involves keeping a To Do list on Google calendar. However, I may need to change up my habits again as this system is starting to wane in effectiveness. If you have suggestions, I'm willing to give them a shot if I haven't already. 

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