Cramming is either my best friend or my best enemy. When I cram, I get some energy boost as I feel a surge of energy rushing through my body. Like most people I am better off when I cram. However, it doesn’t happen all the time. There are times that I become my own victim of cramming. I run out of time, the quality of my works suffers, it impairs my memory when I cram for my talk or speech. Those are just a few negative consequences of my bad habit. Some students who cram most of the time suffer from erratic grades- depriving their body of sleep is not worth it academically. They also suffer from impaired memory as this bad routine (cramming) works against the memorization of some key ideas. However, if you ask some students, like my daughter who is a sophomore in college, will tell you that cramming helps them to get better grades because mugging helps them to study with determination. However, the result is short-term. An active learning practice by the students equals a long-term retention of materials in their memory. Good or bad, it leaves you a bad mark in your well being. Whether you like it or not, the negative effect of cramming will haunt you in the future. Therefore it must be stopped. A bad habit, if you don’t know how to do away with, will give you so much trouble in the long run. But if you only know how to end this cramming or squeezing of your work into insufficient time or space, you will enjoy more fun and freedom in your personal life.
Cramming as a way of putting materials together in an insufficient space or time, is a negative situation resulting from procrastination or a procrastinating habit. To eradicate the cramming habit, you must identify first what is the cause or causes of the delay of your course or courses of action. That’s how you analyze it in NLP perspective. Most of the causes you will discover when you begin your own process are side trips. Let me use myself as an example. Sometimes it takes me a long time before I can really concentrate on writing my articles or working on my training modules for some reason which I am aware of. And if you are also a procrastinator you will discover why you do it in the first place if you will just come to think of it. In my case, the reason why I procrastinate on writing my materials is because I find it as a difficult task. It is like when you feel sluggish to go to the gym for your workout because you find it taxing or sometimes a boring routine. So, because of that feeling you stay a bit for a while in your house and begin to read newspaper or watch some TV program until your mood shifts, then you go. So, rather than beginning my work immediately because it is time to work on it, I pause for a while and watch my favorite TV show and say to myself—“let me just take a look at the news for a while.” That “for a while” will extend from 30 minutes up to a few hours before I can really focus and start doing it. A big chunk of my time has been wasted. It makes me unproductive within that period.
Overcoming Procrastinating Habit:
Please note that this will work effectively if you apply it when you find yourself procrastinating already. However, as a matter of practice, do this exercise so that you will be guided when you find yourself in the act of procrastinating.
Close your eyes and think about a task or work or project or anything you struggle to start doing or to finish because you procrastinate. By thinking about it you will see the image or picture of it. Notice how you feel as you think about doing it. What negative emotion can you elicit from the image?
When you have identified which location the emotion is coming from, then in your imagination use your hand and pull out that emotion, as you represented it with an image earlier. Then place it in front of you about 6 inches away from your face. And leave it there. Notice how you feel. The emotion may still be intense. Pull the image closer about an inch from your face and notice again how you feel. It could be more intense than if it were 6 inches away. Now, push that image farther by about 1 foot. Then notice how you feel. Then push it farther and away by 10 feet. Notice how you feel. If you can still see it while it is 10 feet away, you will feel some emotion, although it has been diminished by this time. Just leave it there 10 feet away for a while.
Now, Think about your usual side trip when you procrastinate. The side trip usually happens soon as you feel the emotion you just pulled out a while ago when you think of doing the task. It could be seeing yourself picking up the TV’s remote control or going to the direction of the refrigerator to get some food or picking up your cellphone to call someone instead, what have you.
Your imagination could have gone ahead of you this time as you think about it. Go back to the very beginning, from where it is about to start. For example, if it is picking up the remote control of the TV to start viewing your favorite TV show instead of beginning to work on your project, see yourself in the act of picking up the remote control and freeze it right there in front of you.
Now, go back to the image of your emotion you left there at 10 feet away. Pull the image closer in front of you. You will notice that as you pull it toward you, the image gets bigger and your negative emotion gets more intense again. Then combine the image of that emotion with the image of your act that you just froze a while ago. Put them together in one picture, side by side.
This time, with the image in front of you, make it bigger. As you make it bigger, the emotion becomes more intense. Then double the feeling as you double the size of the image.
Then, push that image away from you by a foot away and notice how you feel. Then push it a little more away from you by 10 feet.
Then as you look at it from afar, quickly shrink that image into the smallest size as you can. Then blink it black and white and as it blinks, push it farther and farther until you see it no more.
Then check your feeling. Think about that task you procrastinate on again. How do you feel about it now? Has the level of emotion gone down? I am sure it went down significantly. However, you may still feel it. If that is so, just repeat the process until the emotion is completely gone.
Now, imagine yourself in front of you, facing you. See yourself feeling enthusiastic about doing your task. See yourself so excited about doing it and that you intend to finish it. Focus on the positive emotion- it could be joy, excitement, drive, enthusiasm, eagerness to finish, what have you. Then, as you see yourself having that positive emotion, float yourself up into your image in front of you.
When you have possessed your own image, see what you see, hear what you hear, feel what you feel and double the feeling more and more. Stay with that condition for a few moment before you open your eyes. When you are done, open your eyes. Stand up slowly and begin doing your task immediately.
CONGRATULATIONS! Until next time.
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