Procrastination and Memory
- Brain zombies - automatic replies of brain to specific cues to make here and now better.
- We procrastinate about things we don’t like.
- Procrastination is similar to addiction - provides temporary pleasure.
- Procrastination has feedback loop - making it harder and harder to get out of it.
- Neurologically - habit is an energy saver.
- Habit is four parts
- Cue - the trigger.
- Routine - the default response.
- Reward - immediate feeling of pleasure.
- Belief - why the default response, the story you tell yourself about why you have certain habits.
Process vs Product
- Okay to feel negative when you thinking of doing something.
- Research finds that non procrastinators feel the same, but put those feelings aside.
- reframing helps with avoiding procrastination. Instead of thinking I am going to complete a task, think that you are going to work on something for 20mins, irrespective of whether you complete it or not.
- Build processes, small habits/chunks, to avoid procrastination.
- Focus on completing a pomodoro, rather than completing a task.
- Process also means you are not worried whether you are close to finishing the task or not or get worried when you are behind.
- Distraction free environment helps.
- Understand which cues trigger procrastination - location, time, feeling, reaction.
- Turning off distractions like cellphone etc will avoid most of the cues.
- Must need to actively focus to avoid going into the default habit.
- Figure out a plan that works for you. Turn off wifi, or changing time of day to early morning. Or what ever works.
- Might need to experiment a bit to figure out what is most suitable to you.
- Investigate why you are avoiding.
- Figure out a different reward. Like an internal challenge. Or a piece of chocolate.
- Celebrate bigger achievements with bigger rewards.
- Habits create craving. So use that to create good habits.
- Having a deadline does indicate a good reward and helps to be more productive.
- Be patient.
- Hardest part is to believe that you are going to complete a task.
- Specially when things are hard, you tend to go back to old habits.
- Write list of weekly goals or key tasks.
- Main a daily to do list.
- Important - always write to do list the evening before as research shows it helps with getting diffused mode engaged while sleeping to work on those tasks.
- Mix physical tasks like cleaning with mental tasks. Diffused mode breaks.
- Important - Plan time when you are going to stop working.
- Include your reward in the daily to do list or planner.
- Do the most important task or most disliked task in the morning. At least make progress on it.
- We have really good spatial and visual memory.
- Using images as a way to store information can be very effective.
- Lot of memory champions use image associations to retain information.
- Use funny and evocative images.
- To move something from working to long term memory it should be memorable and needs repetition.
- Spaced repetition, index cards, note taking, oral repetition - all help build memory.
Long term memory
- Hippocampus is important for learning and memory of facts and events.
- Memories are not fixed, they change all the time.
- It is possible to implant false memories.
- Memory consolidates over a period of time. If memory is retrieved it under goes reconsolidating. Hence spaced repetition is important for retaining knowledge.
- Astrocytes -
- Provides nutrient to neurones, help repair neural damage.
- Einstein had better than average amount of astrocytes.
- Could be important to learning and intelligence?
Techniques for building memory
- Make meaningful (visual) groups.
- Create abbreviations for meaningful groups.
- Associate numbers with important dates/figures.
- Mnemonics. Used a lot in fields like medicine.
- Memory palace technique
- Useful grouping technique to store information.
- Use known locations - like your house - and attach information to various parts.
- Useful for grouping things that are not related to each other.
- Useful for remembering lists - grocery list, list of cities etc.