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Here’s a time-management / project-management tip I learned a long time ago: when developing something, always plan for two complete revisions of the original, before everything works. That’s three iterations of the design-and-test loop. At least.

It seems that this will be true of my project to beat procrastination, too.

I have my new system, and most days I am succeeding at working for 2hrs on paying work and 2hrs on the important personal project. I’m practicing some good habits. But I haven’t eliminated the bad habits. Another useful maxim is demonstrated here: what gets measured gets done. The converse is also true.

In particular, I’m still checking my email forty times a day. And reading every new email as it comes in. This not only wastes premium time on unimportant (or at least unprioritized) things, but the constant interruptions break my train of thought, reducing the effectiveness of the time that I do spend working. After every break to read email, I have to re-remember what I was working on.

Some days, I can just close my email apps and focus on work. But some days, I feel like I’m going stir-crazy without some human interaction, and a good email conversation gives me the hit I need. When my friends are not forthcoming with the electronic chatter, I turn to the web for a fix. Even watching someone on Youtube ranting into their webcam is human contact of a sort. I don’t think I’m unusual in this craving; I blame the realities of working alone from a home office, of being self-employed. We are social animals, and working alone all day rubs our instincts the wrong way.

What would be healthier? Perhaps placing phonecalls to clients and colleagues when I feel the pinch of loneliness. But I doubt that business conversation would fill the gap.

The next best thing to constant email checking would be restricted email checking: only allowed at certain times of day. I’ve tried that before, and it works when it works, which isn’t often. It’s really hard to resist making extra checks.

I don’t have a solution for this one yet. Suggestions?



  1. I suffer from excessive email checking as well. Next week, I’m vowing to only look at my emails three times a day (1st thing in the morning, noon, and end-of-day). That should allow me to get other stuff done in the interim.

    • Ok, I’m making the same vow. For the next week, only three email breaks per day! Thanks for posting Sandy, good luck to both of us, -J

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