Sunday, September 23, 2007

How To Use the TIC-TOC Technique

How do you get over procrastination, when your thoughts get in the way? In Feeling Good: The New Mood Therapy Revised and Updated, David Burns tells how. You can use the TIC-TOC Technique. In the TIC-TOC Technique, you replace your Task-Interfering Cognitions with Task-Oriented Cognititions.

Summary of Steps

  • Step 1. Create the TIC-TOC table.
  • Step 2. Record the thoughts that inhibit motivation.
  • Step 3. Substitute more productive attitudes.

Step 1 - Create the TIC-TOC table.
To create the table for the TIC-TOC table:

  1. Draw a line down the center of a piece of paper to divide it in half.
  2. Label the left-hand column “TICs (Task-Interfering Cognitions)”
  3. Label righ-hand column “TOCs(Task-Oriented Cognitions)”

Step 2. Record the thoughts that inhibit motivation.
In the left-hand column, TICs, record the thoughts that inhibit your motivation for a specific task.

Step 3. Substitute more productive attitudes.
In the right-hand column, TOCs, identify the cognitive distortion and substitute more objective, productive attitudes.

Example TIC-TOC Technique
Burns includes an example of the TIC-TOC Technique:

TICs (Task-Interfering Cognitions)TOCs (Task-Oriented Cognitions)
Housewife: I'll never be able to get the garage cleaned out. The junk's been piling up for years.Overgeneralization; all-or-nothing thinking. Just do a little bit and get started. There's no reason why I have to do it all today.
Bank Clerk: My work isn't very important or exciting.Disqualifying the positive. It may seem routine to me, but it's quite important to the people who use the bank. When I'm not depressed, it can be very enjoyable. Many people do routine work, but this doesn't make them unimportant human beings. Maybe I could do something more exciting in my free time.
Student: Writing this term paper is pointless. The subject is boring.All-or-nothing thinking. Just do a routine job. It doesn't have to be a masterpiece. I might learn something, and it will make me feel better to get it done.
Secretary: I'll probably flub typing this and make a bunch of typos. Then my boss will yell at me.Fortune teller error. I don't have to type perfectly. I can correct the errors. If he's overly critical, I can disarm him, or tell him I'd do better if he were more supportive and less demanding.
Politician: If I lose this race for governor, I'll be a laughing stock.Fortune teller error; labeling. It's not shameful to lose a political contest. A lot of people respect me for trying and taking an honest stand on some important issues. Unfortunately, the best man often doesn't win, but I can believe in myself whether or not I come out on top.
Insurance Salesman: What's the point in calling this guy back? He didn't sound interested.Mind reading. I have no way of knowing. Give it a try. At least he asked me to call back. Some people will be interested and I have to sift the chaff from the wheat. I can feel productive, even when someone turns me down. I'll sell one policy on the average for every five people who turn me down, so it's to my advantage to get as many turndowns as possible! The more turndowns, the more sales!
Shy Single Man: If I call up an attractive girl, she'll just dump on me, so what's the point? I'll just wait around until some girl makes it real obvious that she likes me. Then I won't have to take a risk.Fortune teller error; overgeneralization. They can't all turn me down, and it's not shameful to try. I can learn from any rejection. I've got to start practicing to improve my style, so take the big plunge! It took courage to jump off the high dive the first time, but I did it and survived. I can do this too!
Author: This chapter has to be great. But I don't feel very creative.All-or-nothing thinking. Just prepare an adequate draft. I can improve it later.
Athlete: I can't discipline myself. I have no self-control. I'll never get in shape.Disqualifying the positive; all-or-nothing thinking. I must have self-control because I've done well. Just work out for a while and call it quits if I get exhausted.

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