Monday, November 22, 2010

How can I trick myself into practicing the cello?

It seems appropriate to share this article on procrastination in this largely empty blog about learning to play the cello. The article is fascinating, but long, so I'll summarize it for you.

We do not procrastinate because we are bad at managing our time. Rather, we procrastinate because we fail to acknowledge that we are weak and impulsive and do not make allowances for the fact that procrastination is inevitable. So, yes, it is a problem of poor planning, but the same amount (or more) can be accomplished by planning to avoid procrastination as planning to do the things you need to do.

The article talks about services that shut off your internet while at work (and who are these people that don't need the internet to work?) and the Nutrisystem diet in which you choose meals and a meal schedule in advance. It's all about your now-self tricking your future-self into being productive by giving yourself no other choice.

I can think of two ways in which I already employ this tactic of tricking myself into doing stuff in the future while I'm thinking about it in the present:
  • Instead of an alarm clock next to my bed, I use a website to wake myself up in the morning. This requires me to get out of bed to shut off the alarm, and there's no easy way to snooze, so generally I get up and stay up (although in a recent Livejournal entry I talk about how future-Andrew is adapting to this plan, resistance is futile)
  • To ensure I don't leave the house without remembering that thing I'm supposed to bring with me, I hang the object on the front door.
I know myself to be difficult-to-get-out-of-bed-in-the-morning and forgetful, so I plan for these weaknesses. I'm not sure how I can implement this strategy to ensure that I practice the cello. Keep the cello on my bed? Set an audio lock on my computer that only responds to the sound of an A being bowed? Train myself to have an uncontrollable urge to play the cello when I hear a bell ringing?


  1. Hi Andrew,

    Thanks a lot for using our Alarm Clock and for mentioning us here on your blog...we appreciate it!

    Friendly shouts out to Queens from the crew at ;)

    1. My pleasure! Thanks for waking me up every morning. :)