Cognitive Strategy: Loving Snooze
Symptoms: You frequently find yourself considering other tasks, or hearing the call of a distraction like browsing your phone or Facebook. You find it hard to stick to one task for a long period of time.
Mental Reflex: Loving Snooze
Trigger: Bid for Attention
Exercise: Choose an external locus of attention, like a spot on the wall. As you focus, notice what it feels like to have other things “bid” for your attention and resolve, your brain wanting you to focus on or do other things.
Action: Snooze Move
Description: Taking a bid for attention, then in a gentle, loving, and non-judgemental way, checking which action is more important to you and promising yourself that you’ll check in on the other action when you’re done.
1. Acknowledge and accept that this bid for attention has a positive purpose.
2. Feel gratitude and love for yourself for bringing this bid to attention to you.
3. Compare the bid for attention to your current action, and check which takes precedence.
4. Promise (and mean the promise) that you’ll check back in with whatever you put off to see if its’ still high importance.
Exercise 1: Imagine that you’re on a phone call with someone you care about, taking care of an important issue. You’re now going to imagine 6 different scenarios, and compare each to the previous ones, to get a sense of the snooze move.
Scenario 1: You’re on the phone call, and someone who you barely know walks in and says “I need you.” You view them as an obstacle getting in the way of you finishing your phone call, and respond in a congruent way, maybe with something like “I can’t talk right now I’m busy.” Notice how it feels to respond to them as an obtacle.
Scenario 2: You’re on the phone call, and someone you barely know walks in and says “I need you.” But this time, you take a moment to recognize that they’re a person, and they probably have their own reasons for coming in to interrupt you. Respond to them in a congruent way from this frame, maybe something like “Sorry I can’t talk right now, I can see this is important to you.” Notice how it feels to acknowledge that they have a need as you respond.
Scenario 3: You’re on the phone call, and this time someone you really care about walks in and says “I need you.” You talk a moment know to not only acknowledge that they have a need that matters to them. But also, you take a moment to recognize your love for them, and notice that because you love them, you’re GRATEFUL for them bringing this need to you, so you can get a chance to help them. Then you respond congruently. An example would be with something like “I see this is important to you. I love you, and would be glad to help after I finish this conversation.” Notice how it feels to acknowledge their need, and feel love and gratitude to be given the opportunity to address it.
Scenario 4 and 5: You’re on the call, and someone you love walks in and says I need you. This time, you’re going to check which thing is more important. This will involve looking at the emotional urgency of the person interrupting, the importance of the call you’re on, and potentially asking a few followup questions to each person to determine the importance. Imagine one scenario where completing the conversation with the person on the phone is more important, and another where the person interrupting is more important.
Scenario 6: The same as the last two scenarios, but this time, you’re going to add in a promise to whichever person you’re stopping the conversation with, that you’ll follow up with them later.
You’re now going to take those same 4 steps (Acknowledgement, Gratitude, Compare, Promise) but apply them to internal bids for attention. Do the external locus of attention exercise (focus on a spot on the wall), and practice with the loving snooze move you learned above. The qualia shift you’re looking for here is to have the competing bid for attention melt away, because your mind believes you will get back to it.
Reflex: If Currently Focused and Bid for Attention then Loving Snooze.
Exercise: Imagine a version of yourself that finds this mental reflex easy, fun, and intrinsically rewarding. In your head, as that person, rehearse 5 times a situation in the recent past or the future, and how you would react as that person.
Mental Reflex: Capture Snooze Items
Trigger: Anxiety about forgetting a snoozed item
Action: Write the snoozed item down.
Description: Sometimes, people have trouble with the snooze move because they don’t believe their own promise. By writing down the snoozed item, you make the promise more believable and allow it to stop coming up in your head.
Exercise: Just combine this with the previous exercise for the snooze move.
Reflex: If Snooze Move and Anxiety About Forgetting then Write it Down.
Mental Reflex: Recheck snoozed items on Pomodoro Start and End
Trigger: Pomodoro Break Starts, Pomodoro Break Ends
Action: Revisit snoozed items to see if any of them still feel important.
Description: The other important part of the loving snooze is to believe that you’ll check in with the snoozed items. By combining the loving snooze with pomodoros, you can check in at the start and end of any break, to see if there are any snoozed items that are important to work on during the break or next work session.
Exercise: Do the same exercise with an exeternal locus of attention, but put it on a timer of 5 minutes of exercise followed by 1 minute of break. Use the breaks and start of the next 5 minutes to check if any snoozed items take precedence.
Reflex: If Pomodoro Break Starts/ Pomodoro Break Ends then Revisit Snoozed Intentions
For 10 minutes, you’ll focus on an external locus of attention
Notice bids for attention, and use your loving snooze move.
If you get anxiety about remembering, right the actions down.
At the end of the meditation, take 2 minutes to review your snoozed items and see if any of them feel important to attend to.
Deliberate Work Session Exercise
Choose a single item you’d like to focus on for a 25 minute pomodoro
Deliberately make your work area distracting, open documents and create reminders for other projects, open distracting tabs like facebook, etc.
Begin to work, and as bids for attention come up, use your loving snooze move, and write them down if necessary.
At the end of the pomodoro, use the pomodoro break to come back to any bids for attention and see if they’re still important.
Conscious Work Session Exercise
Go through a normal work session, using pomodoros.
At the end of each work session, ask yourself if you succesfully used this cognitive strategy when you needed it. Ask yourself what was good about your form, and what needed to be improved.
Try to remain a bit more conscious of these items in your next pomodoro.