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How I hacked my dopamine to train and reward desired work behaviors and halt procrastination

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Miykoll

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May 21, 2020
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Wow, I can relate so much in your posts.
What a blessing to find this piece of art today.

At the moment, I'm struggling hard, so I'm going to play your game.
Have the same problem at the moment. Clients are waiting for delivery and I'm procrastinating hard

Thank you for this great piece of writing.

(Definitely agree with the suggestion to put this into a book)
 
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TSM

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Jun 7, 2020
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This is a really interesting approach. The part of the brain that makes us uniquely human is the prefrontal cortex. In ADHD (or any self-control issue really,) this area isn't working nearly to the extent it should be. So the solution? Train yourself the same way you would any organism without a highly developed prefrontal cortex. Use the limbic system instead.



This is brilliant.



:rofl:

Dope thread. If and when @MJ DeMarco ever gets the rep system back, I owe you some.
All mammals have a PFC - it's reptiles that don't. I think octopi must have an equivalent but that's another story.
For me, a big part of the ADD-style brain is that I don't quite decide what I'm going to do from one moment to next - I always give myself a little escape route. My solution is to set a productivity timer. This leaves me in no doubt about what I am intending to do and keeps me on track. The trick is to stop the activity when the timer tells me to.

Much as I have resisted the idea, there is a psychodynamic element to procrastination and lack of focus, especially around inner conflicts and lack of attunement from your caregivers when you're a little'un. Insight has almost no effect on behaviour though, so even if that is the case, it's important to find behavioural strategies that work. Tai Chi is great for ADDer.. but extremely hard for us to do
 

Raja

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for sure you are an amazing copywriter.
 

Raja

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hey @Bekit ,

I am having trouble with discipline and getting work done but don't want to reward it with food or unhealthy stuff.

do you have any ideas for rewards?
 
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Bekit

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hey @Bekit ,

I am having trouble with discipline and getting work done but don't want to reward it with food or unhealthy stuff.

do you have any ideas for rewards?
Great question.

Really, all you need is a small dopamine hit. So anything that gives you pleasure will work.

Here are some ideas that come to mind.

I talked to a friend recently who is doing some kind of neurofeedback training. She said when she gets something right, it will show pretty pictures and music on the screen. When she stops getting it right, the pictures and music will fade.

So this prompted a few ideas.

- Look at a picture that gives you pleasure or inspires you. I would suggest something that you would put on your vision board, such as your dream car, the kind of house you'd eventually like to live in, or a beautiful beach or mountain scene. (It probably goes without saying that I would not suggest porn, as this will be counter productive and leave your brain in a state of craving to go back to it, which will make it incredibly difficult to focus on work for your next session.)

- Turn on a beautiful piece of music. I would suggest experimenting with this one, because you could lose a lot of time if you stop to listen to a whole track. On the flip side, if you leave the music on while you continue working, it will lose its effect as a reward. But I feel like 10 seconds of beautiful classical music could be worth trying.

- Pet your dog.
- Kiss your wife.
- Hug your kids.

- Try the celebration ritual alone without any further food reward. My celebration ritual consisted of 1) applaud, 2) cheer (say "Yay" with a big smile), and 3) raise both arms high in the air for a momentary victory pose. This feels cheesy to do aloud unless you're alone, but fortunately for me, my husband was very supportive when I explained what I was doing and sometimes would applaud right along with me. (This increased the impact of the applause even more.)

- Stand up from your desk and walk across the room and back.

- Drink a sip of tea if you like tea.

- Try to "catch yourself in the act" of enjoying something over the next week or two. When you do, notice that thing and see if it could be broken down into a tiny reward.

- I personally wouldn't worry too much about the "unhealthy" factor if you do decide to go with a food reward. For me personally, it only involved eating about a tablespoon of chocolate chips a day, which, in conjunction with a diet that is otherwise healthy, is not going to turn the tables on your health or weight. I later used a mixture of half chocolate chips and half almonds, which was even less unhealthy. That being said, not everyone will find a food reward motivating. I know that I do. If you don't, try experimenting with one of the ideas in the list above.

Let us know how it goes!
 

Kal-El1998

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I know for me it was constantly having peoples words play over and over in my head about success not sleeping or stopping for several months. Since I've started my lead gen business I've felt guilty for every break I ever take (unless it's eating, working out, or sleeping for the night). I'm literally being productive for close to 14hrs of the day now. Breaks very, very minimal. <1 hr.
 

ExaltedLife

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@Bekit I read this thread 3 years ago when you first wrote it and it kind of stuck with me, but I never implemented it.

At this point in time I'm having a lot of trouble focusing on a project right now even though I have a ton of free time. My procrastination is ridiculous - when I pull myself away from Youtube, I go on bare foot runs because they're 'healthy'. In the last two days I did no work but I ran for like 4 hours, so now my ankles are basically shot, LOL. I know I won't be able to run for a couple days.

Anyway, I just set up the Tagulator with a clicker and a kitchen timer. My reward is sour patch kids - I figure sour & sweet will give me a powerful spike of endorphin. I also friggin' love sour patch kids, so I filled a mason jar at the bulk barn. Gonna start on this bright and early tomorrow and keep it up till the GF gets home.

Just wanted to say thanks, because this thread has helped me t put together a plan that I know will work to keep me at my desk all day. I can finally finish this project that I started 5 years ago, maybe within the next couple months.
 
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WM Roger

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Mar 5, 2018
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@Bekit I read this thread 3 years ago when you first wrote it and it kind of stuck with me, but I never implemented it.

At this point in time I'm having a lot of trouble focusing on a project right now even though I have a ton of free time. My procrastination is ridiculous - when I pull myself away from Youtube, I go on bare foot runs because they're 'healthy'. In the last two days I did no work but I ran for like 4 hours, so now my ankles are basically shot, LOL. I know I won't be able to run for a couple days.

Anyway, I just set up the Tagulator with a clicker and a kitchen timer. My reward is sour patch kids - I figure sour & sweet will give me a powerful spike of endorphin. I also friggin' love sour patch kids, so I filled a mason jar at the bulk barn. Gonna start on this bright and early tomorrow and keep it up till the GF gets home.

Just wanted to say thanks, because this thread has helped me t put together a plan that I know will work to keep me at my desk all day. I can finally finish this project that I started 5 years ago, maybe within the next couple months.
So how's it going after 10 days of die hard tagulating @ExaltedLife
Are the dopamine triggers working out for you?
I have lots of experience with this tagulator+dopamine trigger system since I read this thread. Gonna write some experiences down if there's still people following this.
 

Paul David

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So how's it going after 10 days of die hard tagulating @ExaltedLife
Are the dopamine triggers working out for you?
I have lots of experience with this tagulator+dopamine trigger system since I read this thread. Gonna write some experiences down if there's still people following this.
Would love to hear them!
 

ExaltedLife

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So how's it going after 10 days of die hard tagulating @ExaltedLife
Are the dopamine triggers working out for you?
I have lots of experience with this tagulator+dopamine trigger system since I read this thread. Gonna write some experiences down if there's still people following this.
It works great for short periods of time, and it makes me feel better about the work. I decided that today Im going to test it out with a longer period of time (80 mins) because I want to get into a flow state, which apparently takes up to 20 minutes of uninterrupted work to get into. So I want it to last at least an hour.

The best thing about it is that it makes work easy to start. You can say "hey im just gonna commit to 5 minutes for now". And then once you're working, its slightly easier to keep working.

That being said, I got heavy into meditation over the past week and I think that's key for improving focus. It is becoming much easier for me to dismiss unwanted distractions and to resist easy temptations (junk food, tv, video games).

It also puts me in a state where my mindset is more calm and organized. From this state, I am finding that I make better decisions overall, and that in turn is changing how I see things in general. I FEEL much more wealthy even though my financial state has barely changed.

So I would say if you're having focus problems, the tagulator is a good trick in the bag, but I would also highly recommend meditation.
 
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