30 - Harnessing Your Zombies to Help You

دوره: Coursera – Learning How to Learn / درس 30

Coursera – Learning How to Learn

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30 - Harnessing Your Zombies to Help You

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In this video, we’re going to get into the specifics of harnessing your zombie powers

of habit to help you avoid procrastination while minimizing your use of willpower.

You don’t want to do a full scale change of old habits,

you just want to override parts of them and develop a few new ones.

The trick to overriding a habit is to look to change your reaction to a cue.

The only place you need to apply willpower is to change your reaction to the cue.

To understand that, it helps to go back through the four components of habit,

and we analyze them from the perspective of procrastination.

The first one is the cue,

recognize what launches you win to your zombie procrastination mode.

Cue’s usually fall into one of the four following categories: location,

time, how you feel,

and reactions, either to other people or to something that just happened.

Do you look something up on the web and then find yourself web surfing?

Does a text message disturb your studying,

taking you 10 minutes to get back into the flow of

things even when you try to keep yourself on task?

The issue with procrastination is that,

because it’s an automatic habit,

you’re often unaware that you’ve begun to procrastinate.

You can prevent the most damaging cues by shutting off your cell phone or

keeping yourself away from the internet and other distractions for brief periods of time,

as when you’re doing a Pomodoro.

Number two, the routine.

Let’s say that instead of doing your studies,

you often divert your attention to something less painful.

Your brain wants to automatically go into this routine when you’ve gotten your cue.

So, this is the reaction point where you must actively focus on rewiring your old habit.

The key to rewiring is to have a plan.

Developing a new ritual can be helpful.

Some students make it a habit to leave their phone in their car when

they head in for class which removes a potent distraction.

Many students discovered the value of settling

into a quiet spot in the library or closer to home,

the productive effects of simply sitting in a favorite chair

at the proper time with all Internet access disconnected.

Your plan may not work perfectly at first but just keep at it,

adjust the plan if necessary and savor those victories when your plan works.

Don’t try to change everything at once.

The Pomodoro technique can be especially helpful in shifting your reaction to the cues.

Number three, is the reward.

This can sometimes require a little bit of investigation.

Why are you procrastinating?

Can you substitute an emotional payoff?

Maybe a feeling of pride for accomplishing something even if it’s small,

a sense of satisfaction.

Can you win a small internal bet or

a contest about something you’ve turned into a personal game?

Or allow yourself to indulge in a latte or read a favorite web site,

provide yourself maybe with an evening of

mindless television or web surfing without guilt,

and when you give yourself a bigger reward for a bigger achievement.

Maybe a movie tickets or sweater or an utterly frivolous purchase.

Remember that habits are powerful because they create neurological cravings.

It helps to add a new reward if you want to overcome your previous cravings.

Only once your brain starts expecting that reward,

will the important rewiring take place that will allow you to create new habits.

Many people find that setting a reward at

a specific time for example breaking for lunch with a friend at the Deli at

noon or stopping the main tasks at 5:00

PM gives a solid mini deadline that can help spur work.

Don’t feel bad if you find that you have trouble getting into a flow state at first,

I sometimes find it takes a few days of drudgery through

a few cycles of the Pomodoro technique before flow begins to unfold,

and I find myself starting to enjoy work on a new topic.

Also remember that the better you get at something,

the more enjoyable it can become.

Number four is the belief,

the most important part of changing

your procrastination habit is the belief that you can do it.

You may find that when the going gets stressful,

you long to fall back into a old more comfortable habits.

Belief that your new system works is what can get you through.

Part of what can underpin your belief is to develop a new community.

Hang out with classmates or virtually hang out with mooc mates,

who may have that can-do philosophy that you too want to develop.

Developing and encouraging culture with

like-minded friends can help us remember the values that,

in moments of weakness,

we tend to forget.

I’m Barbara Oakley, thanks for learning how to learn

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