Tuesday, February 19, 2013

Time Management Tuesday: Final Thoughts On Boost Your Willpower

Really? After four weeks, she has more to say about about the Yoga Journal Boost Your Willpower program? Yes, I do.

The program included several e-mails on the impact stress has on willpower, which I wasn't able to work into my four TMTuesday posts. But since it seems a significant factor when talking about willpower and self-discipline, which have a connection to time management, I wanted to mention it.

Stress, YJ claims, actually "drains willpower." It causes the ol' fight-or-flight response to kick in. We want to flee the workstation. Stress can also shove us into "a reward-seeking state by increasing the excitability of your dopamine neurons." (Science!) We want to feel better right away. The most obvious example of this is stress eating, but leaving the file we're working on to run to our "friends" on Facebook or to dive into any pleasurable reading experience would be others.

YJ's suggestions for relieving stress include yoga and meditation, of course, because it is Yoga Journal. Exercise, spiritual practices, and simply getting outside for a walk also make the list. My own thought is maintaining some kind of regular practice involving any of these activities could help contain stress in the first place.

When stress is upon us? The Ten-minute Timeout/unit system plans we discussed last week could help us delay the gratification we think we're going to get by stopping work. YJ also suggests training ourselves to slow our breathing. "When we slow the breath, studies show, we activate the prefrontal cortex and shift the body from stress to self-control mode." Slow breathing in front of the computer screen for a few minutes could calm the stress and keep us from moving away.

Boost Your Willpower conclusion: My takeaway from this program is using "I will" statements, using the unit system to keep me from giving in to the What the Hell Effect, and using the unit system to keep me from giving in to the desire to do something other than work right this minute. And  I'll be paying even more attention to my breathing during yoga practice.

Next week we will be on to some other aspect of time management.

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