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Tag Archives: Discipline

Today I’m in a temporary office in my bedroom.  If this works out, I will make it a permanent arrangement.

I’ve had a few really bad days lately: whole days at the computer, very little actual working.  I just keep getting sucked into non-work activities, and the day flies by.  And then I thought of an article I read recently, about temptation.  Nobody has perfect willpower, and “out of sight, out of mind” really works.  What do they tell dieters?  Not just “don’t eat chips and cookies,” but “get the chips and cookies out of your house,” because, when you have a craving, you’re GOING to walk to the cupboard and get those chips if they’re in there, but you might not go all the way to the shops.

The advice is: Control Your Environment.  Get temptations out of sight and out of reach.  Work in an environment that is free of non-work distractions.  Support your willpower.

My basement office is possibly the worse environment for this.  It’s more than my work-place, it’s where I play games, design games, read the news, and practice guitar.  My hobbies are all around me.  When I’m in my office, I’m reminded of a dozen things I’d rather be doing.  No wonder I goof off so much!

So I have set up a work space in my bedroom.  Table, chair, laptop, phone, timer, and nothing else.  I’ve deleted my bookmarks from my laptop.  If I want to take an email/Facebook break, I will go downstairs to the PC in my office.

The other benefit of this is the Habit Of Place.  If I only ever work in my bedroom office, then I’ll only think about work when i’m in my bedroom office.

Today is day 1. Wish me luck.

-J

Why am I procrastinating like a bastard today?

  • got woken up in the middle of the night last night, didn’t get back to sleep.  So, a bit sleep deprived.  It has been shown in scientific studies that we have less willpower when we’re fatigued.  That goes for everything from goofing off to resisting junk food.
  • I’m at the start of two big, messy projects.  They’ve been hard to break down into digestible tasks.  So I’m dreading working on those.
  • Some non-work things came in on the email today, but I’m sure I could have resisted those til later if not for #1 and #2.
  • I have recently upped my daily productivity goal, and I’m finding it hard to achieve.  In fact I haven’t achieved it yet (today is day-3).  I have probably set the bar too high.  Baby steps.

Ok, its 2:00, I can still get a fair chunk of work done today.

Oh damn, the AC repair guy has just arrived…

-J

Still getting most of my project work done at the tail end of the day.  When I’m feeling the least alert and creative.  Definitely the wrong approach.

Why, mid-morning, do i feel it’s more important to respond to every email, than to get started on what I KNOW is my #1 priority task?  Is it just procrastination?  Or is it some fear of leaving a message unanswered?  I think it’s just procrastination.

What if I ignored email from, say, 10am til 3pm, and only did project work during that time?  Would I miss anything important?  Could I even do it?

I really want to shift my work habits so that i’m working on my most complex tasks when I’m at my mental best.  Things’ll get done more quickly, I’ll do better work, and it’ll be less painful.

-J

Lately I have set an absolute requirement for myself to get a minimum of 2 hours of project work done per day – and no cheating.  Sounds easy, right?  Trying to achieve this has been a real learning experience.

  • Every day since starting this challenge, I have completed my first 20 minutes of project work at 3:20pm.  Yes, I am doing all 2 hours of project work in the last 2 hours of the work day.  Despite trying to get started by mid-morning.
  • The only way I can focus for 20 minutes in a row is to close my email apps.  Even the one for my business email.

My work habits have definitely gotten worse in the past 6 months.  I need to put the training wheels back on and re-learn (again) how to make my days productive.

At least I’m getting in those 2 hours per day, and that’s a start.

-J

Today I’m a bit sleepy and my neck and shoulders are already tight.  I know that if I spend all day at the keyboard today, I’m going to end up with neck spasms and a headache.  But I still want to have a productive day, so here’s the plan.  I’m going to work in 20-minute bursts, and I’m going to take my breaks AWAY FROM THE COMPUTER.  No PC gaming, Facebook or long personal emails today.

Ideas for breaks: Go for a walk, practice bass, do a little housework, gardening, (I’ve already done my exercise for the day), go for another walk…

I’ll be darting in, hovering for 20 minutes of focused activity, and darting away again.  I’m going to call today’s plan: Working Hummingbird Style.

If I can be disciplined about this, I can still get as much work done as in a typical day.  Only my Facebook friends will notice a difference.  😉

-J

It’s not just procrastination. I’m also an internet addict, info-tainment junkie, whatever you want to call it. Even on weekends when I have nothing stressful to do, I’m drawn to the email, the Facebook, the blogs.

I’ve been focusing on my procrastinating tendencies, and I’ve been half-successful. At this point, my biggest barrier to success is my constant need for web-borne entertainment and screen-mediated social interactions.

Hypothesis: It’s not just procrastination. In order to make progress on my work habits, I need to address internet addiction.

Is “Internet Addiction” real?

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