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The Envision Film – A Simple Visualization Technique to Fight Procrastination

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Envision Film
Here’s a quick technique you can add to your productivity toolkit. I call it the envision film and it’s a very simple visualization technique. If you’re unfamiliar with the concept of visualization, it’s where you close your eyes and imagine a certain outcome you desire. When you can imagine what you want to do or have, you’re more likely get what you want.

I know it sounds a bit woo-woo but visualization techniques are becoming more mainstream as more people discover the power of this simple practice. For example, Olympic athletes use visualizations to improve their performance and there are books written about it such as Psycho-Cybernetics (which we can recommend).

We’ve written before about the inner game of productivity such as improving your self-image and now we want to introduce to you the idea of visualizations to be more effective at work and in life.

The Envision Film

The envision film is a simple visualization habit that you want to add to your life. A friend of ours, Alex Fournel, taught this to me a long time ago. Here’s the simple practice:

1. Sit down at your desk.
2. Know what you will be working on. This step is very important.
3. Before you start your task, close your eyes.
4. Now visualize how you are going to complete that task. This should take no more than a minute or so.
5. Open your eyes and get to work.

The basic idea is that you imagine playing a film of how you are working and how you see yourself completing this task. You also imagine yourself in the ideal scenario and what it looks like when you are done with this task.

For example, I might have a task for writing a blog post for Asian Efficiency. Before I start writing, I create my envision film. I’ll sit down at my desk, close my eyes and imagine myself writing this post. I can see myself focused, energized and in flow as the words are appearing on my screen. As the paragraphs are forming, I can feel how excited I am to share this knowledge with all the AE readers. When I hit the publish button, I know I’m done and I can call it a day. I’ll open my eyes and then I’ll start the actual writing process.

Combatting Procrastination

Visualization is an extremely powerful technique for addressing procrastination before it kicks in. We often procrastinate because we don’t know exactly how we will finish something. If you don’t know what the end result looks like, why would you even want to start?

Zing! That’s when procrastination kicks in.

When you visualize how you will complete your task, you also test your clarity. Do you really know what you’ll be doing? If you can’t imagine doing something, there is no way you can execute it when you have to.

For example, try to imagine putting together a motor cycle from scratch. Really, try it.

Pretty tough, right?

You haven’t even started actually doing it but you’re already struggling to complete this task in your imagination.

Now imagine trying to start a car you’ve never driven before.

It’s a lot easier, right? It might look something like “have keys in hand, press a button to open the door, put the key in the ignition and turn it”.

When you envision how you will complete a task, you’ll start to address all obstacles that might come your way before they become obstacles. This is the true power of the envision film. When you can resolve your problem in your imagination, you’ll make it easy for yourself to finish the task. When you start working and you come across the obstacle you thought of earlier, you already have the solution. You’ll smooth sail to completion of your task and all it took was a simple one-minute visualization technique.

I can’t say enough how powerful this simple technique is. It’s so simple and worthwhile to make it a habit. Before you start your next task, try to the envision film technique.

Photo by Pylon757.

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Posted by Matt Maresca  | December 20, 2012 at 5:38PM | Reply

Very nice! When I prepare to write, I normally set a timer for 20 minutes and knock out whatever I can, then take a short break before hitting up another 20 minutes. Just now, I was working on a section in the book I’m writing, so I figured I’d give your visualization trick a try.

I wanted to complete the section because I knew that would allow me to feel good about my work. Leaving the section open would leave a degree of discomfort in my mind and I was close to finishing. I thought another 20 minutes should do the trick, but I wasn’t sure. Well, there’s only one way to find out! So I visualized myself completing the section. I pictured the words on the paper filling in the gaps of the mini-heading notes I had set up. I then pictured the final words culminating my thoughts on the subject and then pressing cmd+S to save. I even picture the blue save bar making it’s way across the popped-up rectangle. Then I would be able to relax knowing that I did something significant.

Worked like a charm and felt really good. I’ll definitely have to visualize completing my targets more often. I like this Thanh, I may have to write about it and send you a link in the future!

Posted by Sailesh  | December 12, 2012 at 12:59PM | Reply

Love this. I’m struggling with motivating myself on a couple of projects at the moment. One is new to me and the other I have done many like it before. I will be trying this out tomorrow. Thanks for the useful tips!

Posted by KarenYvonne  | December 11, 2012 at 4:37PM | Reply

Great tip! visualization are a great way to stay motivated. I like to use it before I go to bed and imaging myself waking up happy and ready to get to work. This is how I wake up early every morning! I will now incorporate in more of my daily tasks. Thanks for sharing!

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