• June 8, 2023

How Do You Stop Yourself from Reading? – rezal404

An oatmeal off white pillow that says It is book oclockLara had a question for the community that I thought many of you could relate to.

Folks! I have a day.

I’m in the opposite of a reading rut. Every book I’ve picked up over the last few weeks has been magical!

It has wrought havoc on my boring admin to do list. Every spare second I have, I want to spend with my nose in a book.

How to resist the temptation?? Chores! Errands! Boring life admin! All abandoned.

Any advice?

Ed. note: We’ll be discussing finding time to read next week, so don’t worry!

That sounds like what my brain does when actively in or recovering from some burnout.

When that happens and I want to be like F EVERYTHING JUST READ, but I also have Adult Responsibilities that must be attended to, I try to do the following:

  1. Identify the absolute MUST GET DONE tasks. Sometimes, the things I pressure myself about doing are not really that urgent.
  2. Audiobooks while I’m doing The Must Get Done Tasks. This is especially good for wandering and shopping and cooking.
  3. Absolutely reward time doing Must Get Done Tasks with time just for reading.

Laura: Sarah! Audiobooks! I think I can get those through my library… time for some investigation!

Sarah: Yes! If I’m really struggling to do my grown up responsibilities because I just want to read and tune out everythingI listen to a book, or better yet, listen to a book I’ve already read.

I think situations like that are tough because the pressure to tell yourself to do more, and do all the things, and to berate yourself if you do not do more and all the things, is everywhere, taught from every direction and hard to break as has habit.

Laura: So hard!

I’ve gone through my to do list and broken it down into ‘actually important’ and ‘self-imposed obligation I can scrap’. The fun stuff I do without prompting. Audiobooks might just be my ticket through this!

Shana: I’m also team #Audiobooks especially if I don’t have access to a paper copy of the book and am forced to only listen when I’m doing productive things.

If I’ve gotten in the habit of multiple nights of joining the bad decisions book club, sometimes I’ll break the cycle by reading poetry before bed instead, because I’m less likely to get sucked in irretrievably.

Tara: Choose something a little more boring or something that you can’t read as quickly. For example, if I were going through that, nonfiction would slow me right down, so I might throw that in the mix.

Laura: These are awesome ideas! Thank you!

Sneezy: See if you can gameify the boring stuff.

“Can I finish doing the bed before this song finishes playing?”

“How many clothes can I finish folding in one song? Can I beat my record?”

Silly things like that. They can work for stuff that needs more brain power too.

You can also reverse pomorodo. This is good when stopping myself from fixing on something feels impossible for whatever reason.

Instead of working for 20-25 min and having a 5-10 min break, reverse that. Do what you want for the longer stretch of time, and work on stuff during the shorter time. Or maybe you do 15 min of each.

Susan: To add to what Sneezy said (she is right in all things, as usual): I find junebugging works for me as a system when other things don’t.

Junebugging, per the Tumblr link on Jumping Jack Trash, is a way of organizing the visual cues of tasks in a way that works for your brain:

have you ever seen a junebug get to grips with a window screen? it’s remarkably persistent, but not very focused. all that matters is location.

how to junebug: choose the location you feel you can probably get some shit done on today. be specific. not ‘the bathroom’ but ‘the bathroom sink’. you are not choosing a range, you are choosing a center; you will move around, but your location is where you’ll keep coming back to. mentally stick a pin in it. consider yourself tethered to that spot by a long mental bungee cord.

go to your location. look at stuff. move stuff around. do a thing. get distracted. remember you’re junebugging the bathroom sink and go back there. look at it some more. do a different thing. get distracted. get a sandwich. remember you’re junebugging and go back to the bathroom sink.

Red Moleskin Planner with red bookmark ribbons

Susan: And genuinely: stickers.

I slap them in my diary when I finish a difficult task or something I’ve been procrastinating on.

The reason they work for me is because I want them, but I don’t want them so much that I go, “Well why don’t I just have the thing and NOT do the task” like I would with other rewards.

Ellen: I love the reverse pomodoro method!!

I have a little game called PomoFarm that I frequently put on when I’m doing computer tasks and you can manually set the work and break timers.

So sometimes I’ll do, like, work 10 min, break 15 min, long break 30 min.

Susan: Tody is a housework tracker that does the prioritizing for me. You can set how strict you are about cleaning and it’ll basically put all of your chores on a rotation for you.

And when I migrate tasks in my diary, I put a number next to it to mark how many times I’ve moved it. If it gets to 10, I need to make SOME progress that day or take a look and see if there’s a reason I’ve not done it yet.

What about you? How do you motivate yourself to do Super Boring Adulting Tasks when all you want to do is Read and Other Lovely Things?

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