The right tools for the job
Thinking about thinking - far from being a useless exercise - has saved me countless precious hours. Also, most of the time it gets the job done right - the first time. You're going to need some tools to spread out your thinking. I recommend a piece of paper, a white board, an app... anything where you can get those vicious thought cycles, those biters, out of your head and map them out. My personal preference is WorkFlowy, a simple yet powerful outliner that helps me to think about thinking... to reason things out to the nth degree... to go deeper and get more granular as I turn over every stone. I hack away at my laptop in a frenzy of keyboard shortcuts - spreading out the arteries of my thought processes - watching as the lifeblood of my procrastination and obsessions lose their pulse - their substance not what it used to be. The deed is done. Reality check - it cannot be unthought. I find closure, archive that WorkFlowy list and move on.
Whether it's habits you're trying to kick, procrastination you're trying to beat, confusion you're working through, routines you're trying to establish, conclusions you're trying to reach, decisions you're trying to make, next actions you're trying to determine... whatever it is, thinking about thinking can get you there. You need to have an end goal in mind, or at least a vague sense of one to start out with. PLUS - you're going to need a tool you're comfortable with that helps to rearrange those thoughts and make sense of them. Once it's all out of your mind, there's nowhere for it to hide. You'll be amazed at how easy it is to terminate vicious thought cycles.
Thinking about thinking wins the race
To cap things off, here's a series of Calvin & Hobbes strips, where Calvin gives his future self a good talking to (and vice versa). It's this thinking about thinking that won the day over for Calvin in the end. You'll see... Flip through the (14!) comic strips by hitting the right arrow button. (My apologies email subscribers!)