Like you, I have problems with consistency in my work. But I found a simple trick you can play on your mind which makes your work more productive and enjoyable than ever.
Addiction and Habit are very close concepts; in fact, they’re one and the same. The only difference is that the word “addiction” is reserved for when we speak in negative context about habit.
Naughty Hypnosis Trick To Try on a Friend
Hypnosis or behaviour modification exploits mental habits. Neuro-Linguistic Programming (NLP), for example, uses trigger words to create brain patterns.
NLP does this with anchoring; a subject can be programmed to place a bookmark in their head for a useful pattern of thinking.
An anchor can be anything – a snap of the fingers, a touch on the shoulder, anything really. It serves as a signal to start a pattern of thought in the brain.
Here’s a naughty hypnosis trick you can try on a friend: While talking to your friend, snap your fingers before mentioning food. Then every time you say a food-word in the course of the conversation, snap your fingers.
Eventually, after a few consistent repetitions, your friend’s brain will be subconsciously trained to think of food every time they hear a snap. You can invoke that pattern of thought again any time you want, without saying any food words.
You have created a trigger in your friend’s mind to a pattern of thought that says something like, “Finger-snap, food, cravings, I need to find something to eat.”
On a more serious note, given how quickly our brains create patterns and associations, you can see how easy it is for anyone to become addicted to thoughts that lead to bad habits.
For example, if you normally have a beer while watching the game, it can soon become a habit. If you smoke a cigarette every time you are stressed, that too, in time, becomes habit.
When a pattern of thought has been associated with a trigger that increases in frequency, it automatically increases all the thoughts associated with it. Addiction is created.
Suppose you’ve learned to associate watching a game with beer – what happens if you become interested in many different sports and start to watch more games on TV than before?
You would feel the urge to drink beer with every game. And in time, you may become alcoholic.
Similarly, if you begin to face an unusual amount of stress in your life, and you begin a habit of lighting a smoke when you’re stressed, you may become a chain smoker.
Actions are associated with triggers. Addiction hangs itself on triggers that occur automatically and often.
Using Addictions for Good
It’s not all bad news though. In a similar way, we can train our brains to associate positive actions with a trigger. Specifically, addictions make excellent triggers because they occur frequently and automatically.
For example, what would happen if, you were a “movie buff” (addict), and instead of learning to eat a bowl of crisps, you learned to do 10 crunches at every scene change instead?
Or, if you were already addicted to crisps with your movie, what if you learned to leave the bowl in the kitchen and force yourself to walk over there to grab one chip between scenes?
Actually, I once used this very trick with all my snacking and lost over 15kg in weight in just 2 months!
Here’s another great example:
A famous body builder who was very poor in early years explained how he worked out while watching television. Every time a commercial break started, he threw himself at the floor and did 100 push-ups. Over time, he increased his work-out intensity and soon did several THOUSAND push-ups daily.
See how he associated a positive action (push-ups) with what may otherwise be an addiction (TV)? Commercial breaks were a perfect trigger for a new habit. They are frequent on TV, but if you’re addicted to TV, you see commercials more often than any person!
Any addiction can be used as a trigger for creating a new positive habit.
How I Tricked Myself With Hot Chocolate and an Outing
Entrepreneurs are born creative. However, we often struggle with consistency. Creative people get bored of repetition easily.
If you find yourself unable to get motivated to work, you may need to leverage an existing addiction as a trigger. Usually the best habits to use are ones that you enjoy – and this is why I am more inclined to call them addictions, because we do the activity in excess.
Here’s an example of how I used a coffee-shop addiction to do work I disliked:
Every day, it seemed, I would have an urge to get dressed, leave the house, and drive to a coffee shop, where I would proceed to order a cup of hot chocolate and “chill”, think, and contemplate.
Some days, I did this several times. And when I didn’t find a friend who was free to go with me, I would go alone.
This wasted a great deal of time. But I loved it. So one day, I decided to save for the outing some work related task I didn’t enjoy. It was a critical job that normally, I would put off and make excuses to avoid all week, but it had to get done.
At first, it seemed almost like I spoilt my outing with work – but within about 3 outings, I began to notice an increase in my productivity and enjoyment. Best of all, there was no nagging “cloud looming over my head”.
These days, I look forward to working on tasks I used to hate because in my mind they’re always associated with a Hot Chocolate and a Ride!
Try to Trick Your Mind Too!
If you’d like to try this trick, then do the following:
- Observe your day and look for an action you enjoy and do very frequently. It doesn’t have to be a positive thing, it can be negative too. Don’t be embarrassed, you don’t have to tell anyone what it is.
- Find ONE task that you wish you had the willingness to do more often. For example, it could be to add one Adgroup, or to create another ad split-test, or to write an email. It could be anything, but try to keep it a very small and simple task. The smaller and easier the task, the faster this technique works.
- Repeat. In order to create a pattern, you must train your brain to associate the tasks together. Always do the two actions together – the thing you enjoy and the task you’d like to do more of.
- Slowly increase the difficulty of your annoying task. You will have a hard time creating the habit if the pain is too great, so only increase its intensity in small doses. Notice in the earlier example I gave about watching movies, I suggested 10 crunches. This won’t give you washboard abs by any means, but over time if you increase your crunches by 10 every week, you will eventually be able to do 100 or 1,000 crunches per session!
One last thing, if you find yourself doing MORE of your addiction, it’s not all bad. As long as you associate the annoying task with your addiction, you’ll at least be using it for good.
DISCLAIMER: always exercise your own good judgement; I am not responsible if you use this advice to become more addicted to something that harms your health. Always try to counter negative habits with positive ones.
P.S. to learn about how to be productive and organise your day, check out Chapter 8 in the YaghiLabs Internet Business Academy at…