Our intuition makes us amazing individuals, capable of innovating virtually any system. Yet how many times we failed to implement our idea due a lack of motivation, energy or the presence of a novel, more interesting possibility. After years of fruitless ideas, I became frustrated with myself, desperately seeking new ways organize my life so I can achieve my goals. Unluckily, most of the self improvement literature is not catered to our personality and works against our natural traits. Schedules? Routine? We dread them and can't sustain them for long.
This article presents ways in which we overcome procrastination by abusing our characteristics, not working against them. Most of the ideas presented here are taken from various threads on this forum (btw, you guys are great).
We can describe the process of achieving something like this:
1. We input energy into ourselves
2. We channel this energy towards completing a goal
Since we are extroverts, we need outside sources for gaining this energy, which we call motivation. We can't come up with very motivating thoughts ourselves (internal motivation), probably because our huge self - confidence and our ability to find ways around such thoughts. Anyway, we should focus our efforts on finding external sources. From the top of my head such sources include:
1. Motivational Media - such as inspiring music, movies or posters
2. Role Models - in my case, I always wanted to copy an interesting character from a movie, a story or from real life. Such models often bring to life possibilities the which fascinate us. Want to train for a competition? Watch Rocky. Want to learn math? Watch A Beautiful Mind.
One should be careful not over abusing one such source of energy, since it loses it's ability to motivate us each time we use it. We should always seek new avenues for gaining motivation. Luckily, in our day and age we have an abundance of sources for each endeavor you might pursuit.
Another thing we should avoid is isolation. Although it may seem that spending time with people is useless, since we can be fine by ourselves, we still depend on them for energy.
This takes me to the next trait we can abuse: our huge egos. Probably most of us have been hugely motivated by phrases such as "It can't be done" or "You can't do this". This is because we deeply care about how we are seen by others, and even by ourselves. That's why we actively have to seek to be challenged. We have to expose our crazy ideas to others so they can doubt us, thus sending us into overdrive. We need to spend time in an environment where there are other people, which can judge you (even in their minds), because your ego cares about their opinion (even though some off you may say it doesn't). You don't even need them to express their view on you, as long as there is the possibility of your actions changing their opinion. For example, going to a gym is a great way for us to keep working out, since even though there may not be a stated competition, you create it in your mind, and thus want to be better then others (at least in my case).
Another exploitable emotion is our anger. As Psyphon describes in the thread "How I react to Anger in a Heated Argument", we have three levels of anger: 1. Minor annoyance (for example when you drop something heavy on your leg); since we are laid back and optimist, we get over this easily
2. Pissed off (we get sarcastic and see the problem as an enemy); this is the level that we have to achieve. At this point we become very driven and practical. With a bit of will power (and logic from our Ti) we can refocus on stuff that needs to be done.
3. We get extremely angry, and don't care about consequences.
I believe that the second state basically restricts our Ne, while giving us the anger energy. This combination results in the driven state we wish to achieve. I found that there are two ways in which we can get to this state:
1. Lack of logic from our opponent - this annoys us terribly. Such opponents include those who blindly follow rules without thinking them or those who completely disregard evidence that contradicts their point of view. It's easy to find opportunities for such discussions. The hard part is in forgetting that you seek them on purpose, which can deny the desired effect.
2. Us being unable to rise to our expectations, thus hurting our ego - like when you feel incapable to reach the desired performance. In my case, I can only remember examples when I was surrounded by others. Having an audience increases the damage done to the ego. In order do abuse this we have to actively seek challenge in public environments. One possible pitfall is seeking challenges which are very hard even by public opinion. Falling one such task can still boost your ego, since we are very good at reasoning that we were very close to achievement.
Now that we finished with describing the energy sources, we'll look at ways in which we can channel it. In order to do this we have to hack the Ne and the Ti.
The ideal scenario is that in which our Ne is fully occupied solving the task that we desire. Unluckily, it is usually occupied with a variety of things, thus leading us to procrastinate. We can use the following steps in order to work our way towards the ideal scenario:
1. Preparation: The May Do List - If you are like me, you have had lots of great ideas and plans, of which you now remember about 10-20%. Careful analysis of the past may increase that percentage, yet this requires time and energy. That's why it's vital for us to have a May Do List. Not a list of tasks that you have to do (which would work against our personality, demotivating us), but a list of projects of which you can choose. A notebook would be ideal for also keeping details and any progress you have made in developing that project.
2. Clearing: Meditation - It is important to clear our head before starting a new task. This ensures that there aren't any other projects taking energy from our Ne. For me mindful meditation works: 5 - 10 minutes are more then enough. This may require a little will power but it's an important step. It also develops concentration. If you don't like meditation, try getting immersed into something with a close end (we want to avoid lingering thoughts about this) such as a mini-game.
3. Loading up the Ne - It's ideal for our Ne to be mostly filled by the desired task. We basically want to achieve flow (i recommend the wikipedia article "Flow"). Basically, we achieve this state when the challenge level as well as the skill level are high. As ENTPs, we usually have very high skill levels. That's why mundane tasks lead to boredom. So challenge yourself in everything you do. Try doing it better and faster. This gives us more time, as well as more enjoyment. If you still can't fill up the Ne, try adding noise. This includes music, TV, being around people who talk, etc. The important thing to ensure is that those noise sources don't individually require much Ne so that you don't focus on them instead. Listen to songs you've heard a thousand times before so you don't process them anymore. Monotone, rhythmic is great for this. Or put the TV on an uninteresting subject.
The other function you can hack is your Ti. This can be done by learning probability theory, philosophy and basic economics. We are very bad at estimating our chances of success since we are so optimistic and have a huge confidence in our abilities. We really need to become more objective.
This is it! If you have other ideas, please post them so we can solve this problem once and for all.
Now go change the world like you have always known you could!