Might as Well be a Drug

A while back, I wrote about how the relative ease with which I traversed the education system led to a lifelong habit of procrastination. Suffice to say, the bad habit’s not yet kicked.

It’s not a terminal condition, to put it crudely. I have a job, and I get things done. But every minute I spend wandering YouTube or TV Tropes is a minute of a finite life pissed away. And while I’m not likely to go to the extreme of never indulging in these largely useless pastimes, the balance in my day is pretty badly skewed at present. It’s too much, and often at inappropriate times when I’m clearly putting off more important matters. Something’s gotta change, and that something is me.

Cue Zen Habits, a book whose Kickstarter I chipped in on last year and which has provided me with a great framework for bumping up my sporadic writing to a daily practice. Most of the book is dedicated to the formation of new good habits, but there is a chapter and an accompanying worksheet for helping quit a bad habit. So I’m putting that to use, in similar fashion to how I used public accountability, a Zen Habits tip, to goad myself into finishing last year’s NaNoWriMo. (Maybe I can come up with a similar stinger of a punishment for failure, eh?)

The goal starts this Saturday, Feb 22, with a super-easy target: 25 minutes a day of effort in which I indulge no digital distractions. Succeed with that, and I’ll add on another 25, and another 25, and so on until I have my work day full of wall-to-wall productivity. I’ve sketched out a whole plan beyond that according to the above worksheet, but that I’m sharing only with my accountability compadres on Habitica. For you folks in the blogosphere, I will instead post updates to Twitter.

Wish me luck and keep me honest!


3 thoughts on “Might as Well be a Drug

  1. Joe Thomas says:

    Do site-blockers work for you, as far as the interwebs go? I use StayFocused, which lets you set a single overall daily allotment and then add as many sites to it as you want. So I have 45 minutes daily total for facebook and basically any geekdom or news website I visit regularly. There’s also ones that let you completely block certain sites during certain hours, so you can block out 9-noon and 1-5, say. I have used both at the same time, to make sure I both don’t get (too) distracted at work and don’t veg out at home when I could be having more satisfying goof-off time.

    Of course, an incognito window doesn’t open extensions, so it’s not terribly difficult to get around. I’m not sure they’re helping me nearly as much as they did at first.

    • SabreCat says:

      I do use a blocker, actually, Focus Me (http://focusme.co/)! It’s pretty handy for keeping my main workstation clean of the worst distractions during work hours. With mobile devices also in the mix, though, it’s all too easy to grab up the tablet or phone to “just check on something…” and down the rabbit hole I go.

      There are blockers for Android, too, but I haven’t found any that are both (a) reliable, and (b) not obnoxious resource hogs. Putting the devices somewhere out of sight and easy reach helps, though.

      • Joe Thomas says:

        Ugh, yes. I didn’t have a (real, works-well) smartphone in Colorado, and it was far better for keeping my brainspace clear. I literally just opened FB on my phone ten minutes ago because I couldn’t do it on a browser.

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