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Went for a long walk today. No iPod. The mind wanders, not always following the feet. It’s important for knowledge workers to let the mind wander on a regular basis.  It’s often more productive than directed thinking.

Ideas that gelled during my walking meditation:

Controlling Self-Distraction

A good work habit that I need to develop is to separate work and play.  A big problem for me is that I work and play in the same room, using the same computer; so it’s too easy for me to start playing (email, surfing, music, writing,  etc) when I’m supposed to be working.  It would be really helpful if I could just disconnect from the internet, but I often need it to research stuff while I’m working.

Possible solution: Create a second login for myself on the PC.  The “work” account has some sort of net-nanny software running that blocks my access to web-based email sites, movie and music sites, porn, blogs, etc.

No Silver Bullet

I posted recently that willpower is not enough to beat procrastination.  True, but neither is it going to be possible to beat procrastination without it.  There will not be one magical trick to end my wastrel ways.  Success will entail a combination of right mindset, good work habits, tips & tricks and yes, self-discipline and willpower.  I might be able to identify or design the perfect work habits, but if I don’t have the willpower to put them into practice for several weeks in a row until they become MY work habits, then I won’t get anywhere.

Willpower alone is not enough, but willpower will become vital to success at some point.  It will be part of the winning solution.

A Concrete Change

I decided a few weeks ago to make tackling procrastination a top priority, and I’m making some headway on self-examination and gathering resources; but I’m still wasting much of every day.  I need to somehow signal to myself that I am making a change.  Something concrete.  I think I will clean out my office.  Right now it’s 80% full of boxes, unsorted crap, a mixture of work materials and play materials.  Look, here’s a photo:

I’m going to clean it out, dispose of most of this stuff and neatly put away the rest.  I’m going to clean off the wall above my desk, and post up things that will help me to keep on track with the new work practices that I want to make into my new work habits: calendars, lists, inspiring thoughts.

When I walk into this room, I want it to FEEL like a WORK place.  I want to be reminded of why I’m here: to do my work, to accomplish my goals.

Because, if I had some honest-to-dingoes free time, would I choose to spend it slouched in front of the computer searching the web for distractions?  No!  There are leisure pursuits that are more important to me.  If I work first, and have guilt-free play-time later, I will choose much better leisure pursuits.  Therefore, getting my work-life in order will also improve the quality of my free time!  Hey, that’s a revelation that deserves a sub-heading of its own:

Better Work Means Better Play

Yeah.

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