There is a blog post here about How to Fall Asleep Fast. The technique comes from the Second World War and making WW2 pilots get enough sleep. A person called Bud Winter was tasked with training pilots to fall asleep quickly. The trick is to physically relax and then mentally relax. If you can keep your mind clear of thoughts for 10 seconds, apparently you will be asleep. 96% of pilots who had been trained on this technique by Winter were able to fall asleep within two minutes or less.
I wrote up a post this morning on micro-behaviours, triggers and rewards. Later on I was checking out Hacker News when I stumbled on this post by Alex Coleman, on how to get stuff done. Both posts refer to the same original work by Dr Fogg on micro-behaviours. In my post I emphasize using “triggers” to trigger the new habit, which may be an existing habit or environmental cue. In Alex's post, he puts a lot of emphasis on setting up a routine or schedule. The time itself becomes the trigger.
I watched this TED talk video on changing behaviour a few days ago, which really inspired me to take a more structured approach to developing a new positive habit. The key points of the video are that in order to affect long-term behavior change, you need to have a trigger – some habit that you already have, or an environmental queue that you can chain the new behavior from. You also need to make the new behavior as easy to do as possible. You want to associate a “micro-behavior” with your trigger – something that can easily become a habit, but that you can later expand to fully incorporate the new habit you are trying to achieve. Finally, you need to reward yourself in some way every time you do the micro-behavior.
For the last few months I’ve been trying to come up with a model for procrastination. Specifically; for the various factors that cause me to delay carrying out a task. Over the weekend I was pondering what I would use the model for. If I came up with an equation which effectively represented the various parameters describing how much I would procrastinate over a given task, what use would it be?
Well, my thinking is that if I have an accurate model of what causes me to procrastinate over tasks, I can then start targeting the various factors. I can create strategies to reduce the impact of different factors, and hopefully improve my own effectiveness. It will also be interesting to see if – by the very act of studying my behaviour – I reduce the amount I procrastinate.