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March 18, 2009 10:33 AM   Subscribe

TemporalDisturbanceFilter: I seem to lose time. Or, more specifically, I'm one of those people that needs to get a bunch of things done, but I can easily sit on my laptop and play flash games for what turns into 4 hours. How do I break this habit/get my stuff together?

I've found a few previous threads that are similar to this, but I'll take any other advice I can get.

It comes up with anything - for example, I'm on Spring Break this week form my graduate studies, and I'm sitting at home. Today, my fiancee asked me to take care of the laundry, clean the kitchen, and basically just tidy up. Not unreasonable.

I've been up since 9:30am, and I haven't done a thing but sit on my couch, go through websites, chat with people, and basically screw around. Hell, I booted up Netflix and watched 3 episodes of something I've already watched a million times.

I can't break out of this - this is what I do all the time. It happens in the evenings as well, and it's really starting to effect my relationship. My fiancee will go to sleep at 11, and I'll say I'll be in in a minute. Cut to 4 hours later when I'm stumbling in at 3am. She says she's not mad, but she deserves better than never getting the chance to sleep and pillow talk with me.

It's not any one thing I fixate on - it can be wikipedia, it can be reading blogs, it can be watching DVDs of Ducktales, or even some more "adult" activites, but the main problem is that they all form a time sink I can't escape.

My other problem (which is probably tangentially related) is that I severely overestimate the amount of time it takes to do something. Say, I only have 4 hours before a rehearsal, and I'm at home. I think, well, I should throw in a load of laundry... but I don't have time for that. Clearly, I have the 2 minutes it takes to throw in a load, but in my mind, it feels like I should partition out hours and hours for that.

So, MeFi, how do I escape the time sink? I'm doing pretty good in my graduate classes, but I'm starting my masters thesis up soon, so I feel like I need to shed this. How do I stop losing so much time, and do what I need to do?
posted by SNWidget to Human Relations (32 answers total) 144 users marked this as a favorite
Response by poster: Sorry - the whole post seemed a little manic now that I'm rereading it. I think it's just a product of my mental state and frustration at the moment. I'll clarify anything if people need that.
posted by SNWidget at 10:42 AM on March 18, 2009

Best answer: I go to a place I have named "Frontier Land". I turn off the tv and actually power down my laptop instead of just putting it to sleep. No technological stimuli anywhere. And then I work on my thesis. During my breaks from work I do laundry, dishes and take out the recycling. I don't particularly like Frontier Land, but it's necessary.
posted by meerkatty at 10:53 AM on March 18, 2009 [44 favorites]

Make lists.
posted by fire&wings at 10:53 AM on March 18, 2009

Best answer: I have the same sort of problem (and it was much worse when I was in grad school), and it recently started cropping up again, so I tried tracking how I spent my time. Every fifteen minutes I'd write down what I did for the last fifteen minutes, with the goal of never having an entry read just "computer."

The quick breaks to write down what I'd done really helped with a sense of accomplishment, and it made me really conscious of the fact that I much preferred getting stuff done to killing time on the laptop.
posted by VeritableSaintOfBrevity at 10:54 AM on March 18, 2009 [8 favorites]

you could try "allowing" yourself x minutes of time-sucking activity (set a timer) as a reward for getting whatever stuff that's on your list done
posted by fancyoats at 10:55 AM on March 18, 2009 [1 favorite]

Best answer: There's no easy fix for this kind of thing in my experience, but a few tips:

1. Change your scenery. If you need to work on your thesis, leave all of your familiar distractions and escape to a library, coffee shop, or other neutral place. If you need to use your laptop, use something like a Linux Live CD to make your computer work environment different than your computer goof off environment. If you're doing chores around the house, try to make a mental switch into work mode and really focus on blocking out everything else. Basically, try to replace all of the things that cue goofing off with things that cue getting work done.

2. Build good habits, break bad habits. Once something is part of your routine, it's easy to keep doing. So add good things to your routine, and remove bad things. You don't have to completely remove or completely add things either, you could for example limit your Internet time to some specific parts of the day, for example. Be realistic about it, and focus on tweaking what your current routine to better fit what you want to do, rather than completely switching your whole life around.

3. Give yourself clear goals and emphasize those goals. They don't have to be major, they could be things as simple as doing the laundry every X days, or spending X amount of time every day cleaning. Just as importantly, make sure that you make those goals important to yourself and track your progress. Tell your fiancee what your goals are so that she can give you positive or negative reinforcement based on whether or not you stay on track. You might also want to consider the Seinfeld method to give yourself a clear unavoidable readout of how you're doing.
posted by burnmp3s at 10:58 AM on March 18, 2009 [2 favorites]

Response by poster: fire&wings: "Make lists."

First, thanks for the advice so far, everyone. I know there's not a magic bullet on this - but I appreciate knowing 1) I'm not alone, and 2) other people have dealt with this.

As to make lists: two things happen: 1) I procrastinate actually making the list, or 2) I make a list, but I never update it, and it becomes quickly obsolete.
posted by SNWidget at 10:59 AM on March 18, 2009

Story of my life, friend. The most effective thing I've found is judicious application of shame. I try to make sure to tell my friends that I'm working on something so I am thus compelled to show them a finished product later.
posted by thedaniel at 11:19 AM on March 18, 2009

Here (new window) Is a small app that you can put on your computer that you can schedule your break and work times.
posted by kanemano at 11:29 AM on March 18, 2009 [1 favorite]

Get an egg timer. Crank it up to 5, 10, 15 minutes or so, and then do something you need to do, but only for a short period like that. You may feel once the timer dings that you want to keep going. Don't feel like you have to, though. I think this only works if you can look forward to and feel the satisfaction of having been productive, as well as savoring a short break afterward, guilt free.

So then you crank the timer again and take a break. When it dings, crank it again and do something else you need to do.

Also, VeritableSaintOfBrevity's 15 minute journal is a great idea!
posted by malapropist at 11:30 AM on March 18, 2009 [1 favorite]

Best answer: Turn off the computer. When you get up in the morning, don't just check your e-mail quick and read a couple blogs, because it sounds like that will turn into an all-day event. Do the things you actually have to do, and then reward yourself for getting your chores done by goofing around online for a little while. Maybe you could even set a timer (an actual timer on your desk, or something that pops up on the computer screen) to limit your online time, and force yourself to take a break and get something else done when the alarm goes off. When you start working on your thesis, go somewhere with no internet access.

Your other problem of overestimating how long things take will probably go away the more you do these chores - you're realize it only takes 5 minutes to empty the dishwasher, or a few seconds to wipe down the sink.

You sound just like my husband - he has tons of ideas and things he'd like to do, but constantly gets hung up playing around online. I have the same problem, to a lesser extent, but am still able to tear myself away to get stuff done.
posted by LolaGeek at 11:31 AM on March 18, 2009 [4 favorites]

You can't "fix this problem", because that leaves it as a conceptual construction. It's like when alcoholics say, there's no such thing as "not drinking for 20 years", there's just not having a drink right now.

I'd say the way you change it is: first you catch yourself doing the thing you didn't want to do. Then, right in that moment, you take some tiny step toward the thing you do want to do, no matter how small it is. Maybe you stand up for just a couple seconds, look out the window or something, and then go right back to what you were doing before. You may say that doesn't seem like much, but even that creates a gap. Each time you repeat it, the gap becomes a little wider, until making the change isn't really all that hard.

The key is to work with your direct experience and direct action right now, no matter how small it seems. If you remain in the realm of concepts about what you should do, how you could do it later, what the plan will be, how you tried X, Y, and Z but it never works, etc., etc., you're just staying lost.
posted by dixie flatline at 12:24 PM on March 18, 2009 [8 favorites]

Response by poster: Thanks for all the advice - I'll try some of the timer systems. The time journals (aka, writing down what you're doing every 15 minutes) makes a lot of sense as well.

Unfortunately, I've managed to let the last 2 hours slip by me again. It looks like this is something that's really going to take some focus and effort. Blah.
posted by SNWidget at 12:26 PM on March 18, 2009

Setting a timer or making lists both WORK--but only if you're willing to turn off the computer or DO one of the things on the list. You say, two things happen: 1) I procrastinate actually making the list, or 2) I make a list, but I never update it, and it becomes quickly obsolete.

This is a willpower problem, and there is no killer app or secret trick that's going to fix it. You have to bite the bullet and start DOING the things on that list.

Set routines to handle things like laundry, dishes, household chores. I heard a saying once, "eat a live toad every morning, and nothing bad will happen to you the rest of the day"--meaning do that one thing you're dreading first thing. Get it over with, and the rest of your day will be free to do whatever. On days that I do this, I often find that my productivity is increased in general, and I'm not as interested in wasting time on the internet.

Make a deal with your fiancee--you want to go to bed with her at night, it sounds like. So she's allowed to call you out on it. When you say, "One more minute" she can say, "No, NOW" and you turn off the computer. You do this because you agreed to it. You can set your computer to power down at a certain time, but ultimately, your procrastination is not a product of technology.
posted by peanut_mcgillicuty at 12:29 PM on March 18, 2009

Response by poster: Peanut_McGillicuty:

Yeah, I want to go to bed with her. I'm not always tired, but I hate the fact that if I don't go to bed with her at 11, I'll be up till 3. There's no middle ground for me, it seems, so I feel like I need to force myself to take the earlier time.

She's sweet, but doesn't want to feel like my mom, so she's not going to put her foot down, unfortunately. And honestly, it's not her job to tell me to go to sleep.
posted by SNWidget at 12:35 PM on March 18, 2009

Some of this may be relevant:


Also, meditation: all the automaticity starts to break down after a while, and you'll be more likely to reevaluate what you're doing in each moment at a fairly deep level.
posted by zeek321 at 12:40 PM on March 18, 2009

I've frequently been in relationships where we have different sleep schedules. What worked in one relationship is that we both went to bed at the same time, had some cuddling and pillow talk (or, you know, whatever) and then after I fell asleep or was very close to it, he was free to get up and go watch tv in the other room, play on the internet or whatever. About half the time, he'd end up getting tired and falling asleep too, and the other half of the time he'd stay up too late and be irritated, but we'd have gotten in couple-time at night. Could you guys try that?
posted by peanut_mcgillicuty at 12:42 PM on March 18, 2009 [1 favorite]

Best answer: Could a reason that you are not doing the laundry, cleaning the kitchen, or helping to tidy up be that somehow you think that you should be working on more "important" activities? So you go to your laptop, and those laptop-activities serve as surrogate "work" that feels more important than doing chores. Maybe it is a way to make yourself feel important, like you are accomplishing something, enjoying that feeling of flow and stuff, and the chores are clearly not important or satisfying in contrast to your "work."

I used to behave somewhat like this. I couldn't even do the simplest daily shit I set out to do, but at the end of the day I'd be like, "TOMORROW'S THE DAY, I'M GONNA DO EVERYTHING" and.... it never worked out, I just ended up sinking my time again the next day. It was an awful way to live, to put it simply. Eventually I realized that perfectionism was the root of my problem.

See, I had all these big and little goals, all these lists of things to do, all these aims. And all I had to do was just do it like the commercial says and everything would be OK! I would be happy! successful! shiny! Life would be grand!

So why wasn't I just doing? I tried all of the tips, tricks and systems I could find, but I just knew deep inside that the answer was something simple.

The actual problem was perfectionism, the desire to get it all right or else. I was repressing a constant fear that I would not be able to do things I wasn't familiar with right. So I just avoided doing them.

I realized that it was perfectionism because I observed that there were other things I could do without a problem in the place of working on my goals, things that were already easy for me to do (similar to your sitting on the couch, checking out websites, chatting). These were things that I was already good at, that I could do perfectly, so, perversely, I WAS living a perfect life, but at the cost of never achieving anything "more" that would risk my facing uncertainty, failure,and even pain.

I was too outcome-dependent, too results-oriented, too attached to "getting." Every minute that I was not working on my goals turned into a minute of failure. That was also a period when routine things like doing laundry and keeping clean took a dive, because, heck, "doing those things is not getting me closer to my goals, so why do them! I'm working on more important things!" Cut to me spending four hours surfing the net, "working." My thinking was terribly distorted.

The answer, for me, is that you cannot just jump from zero to perfect in one day, and then stay at perfect forever. But you can easily shape your behavior one day at a time, gradually, to take you where you wanna go and keep a general trend. I learned to ask myself something like "If I were just 5% more ______ today, I would ________." And I would be happy just doing that, and letting it build up everyday by asking that.

Maybe you could ask yourself "If I could do 5% more chores today, I would _______." and just do that for today. It will make you feel good, and you can build on that.
posted by Theloupgarou at 1:06 PM on March 18, 2009 [33 favorites]

Response by poster: Not that everyone needs a blow-by-blow of my updates of trying to drag myself out of this, but I've got a list going, laundry going, and the dishwasher humming. I turned off the laptop, and basically turned on a radio and let myself go do what I needed to do. One day does not a habit make, but one day is the first of 30, hopefully.

I'd been considering reinstalling XP on my laptop lately due to slow performance, so I may take that opportunity to not install a bunch of time wasting software, or at least but it on a different account than the one I'll use to get my thesis work done.
posted by SNWidget at 1:10 PM on March 18, 2009 [1 favorite]

Try making a list of one thing. For example, all you have to do today is wash the dishes. As long as you get the dishes washed by bedtime tonight, you've won. When the dishes are washed, create another list of one thing, and get that done by bedtime tonight.

Another trick I try is to do $activity constantly until I get bored and disgusted with it, then quickly slip in something from my list. Or I promise myself that I can come on here and loaf about, AFTER the dishes are washed. It takes a little self control, but learning how to have that is a useful skill. Just forcing oneself to do some really horrible activity is sometimes the only way.
posted by Solomon at 2:09 PM on March 18, 2009

Best answer: There are a lot of strategies that involve making somebody else responsible for your actions, or making you accountable to somebody else. My personal experience is that while these plans sound good, they don't work. My guess is that you'd find out that you hate being told what to do (even if was your idea), and you'd resent being ordered around, and the "person in control" would feel bad because he or she is only trying to help, but is making you unhappy. It's also hard to define the line between "helpful reminder" and "ridiculously strict order".

I have a few other ideas though!

-Consider thinking of everything you do as a choice. I really do understand what you mean when you say that the time just slips away from you - really - but thinking to yourself "oh man, I did it again, and I didn't even mean to!" might not be the most helpful thing. Empower yourself by looking at every moment as an opportunity to choose what you want to do. You might not be able to choose a productive activity all the time (and that's OK - nobody is productive all the time!), but if you keep reminding yourself that YOU are in charge of yourself, I bet that over time, it'll get easier and easier to make a choice you feel happy about later.

-Get a waterproof watch with a very easy-to-use timer and wear it all the time. Never take it off, so you won't lose it. Get in the habit of always knowing what time it is. Use your timer often. When you sit down to watch TV, put on a timer for 30 minutes and when the 30 minutes are up, ask yourself what you want to do next. If the answer is "watch more TV", double check: ask yourself whether watching TV is an activity that supports the things you truly value in life. Maybe in that moment it IS important! But maybe you'd rather be spending time with your fiance or doing the dishes - try to get in touch with what you want to want :) The problem is that sometimes the things you want to get done aren't fun or instantly satisfying so your brain tricks you in to thinking you really want to do something else. Don't be fooled.

-When you do a chore like laundry, time yourself. How long does it ACTUALLY take? Having a skewed perception of how long something will take is really common. Learn exactly how long it really takes so you can't say to yourself "oh, but I'd need more time to do that". (I timed my walk to work for months. I FINALLY stopped showing up 20 minutes early when I realized I knew exactly how long it would take me and I was able to relax about arriving on time.)

-ENJOY the feeling when you've gotten all your work/responsibilities squared away - it feels really great to have everything behind you and wide open time to relax! Congratulate yourself and really remember how good it feels.

-If you have trouble tearing yourself away from entertainment, get an MP3 player and download audiobooks and/or podcasts. Listen to them while you do chores. That way you'll have something to look forward to, and you can queue up interesting stuff to learn about while you do tasks you don't much like.

-This one is a bit hard to explain: be very gentle with yourself - don't beat yourself up for spending time playing a game - but do not write yourself a cover story. Do not tell yourself that you played the game because you were too tired to work (unless that is actually true - usually in my experience it isn't), or anything like that. Just be honest with yourself. Maybe the truth is you have no idea why you were playing the game - that's a really good thing to recognize, because then, you can ask yourself if there's something you'd rather be doing.

Good luck! I think half the battle is won in your recognition of this issue.
posted by Cygnet at 2:26 PM on March 18, 2009 [6 favorites]

Best answer: Guilty party here too.....Answer 1 from Burhanistan has it:

Action precedes motivation.

If you are aware that you are doing it, you need to say to yourself when this happens. "STOP DOING THIS AND DO SOMETHING PRODUCTIVE". Your mind will resist ("just 5 minutes more doing X"), but imagine there's a gun to your head, held by your future decrepit self, despising you for the timewasting you've done.

Also, from Cygnet

ENJOY the feeling when you've gotten all your work/responsibilities squared away - it feels really great to have everything behind you and wide open time to relax! Congratulate yourself and really remember how good it feels.

I can't emphasize how much etter recreation feels when I've actually done something that deserves recreation time. When you cock around on the net, say "I'll do an hour of work, and then my cocking around time will feel so much better". You'll be right.
posted by lalochezia at 2:46 PM on March 18, 2009 [8 favorites]

Admitting you have a problem is half the battle. Many people with your problem convince themselves that external forces just aren't letting them get important things done. lalochezia is right. recreation feels so much better when you feel it is deserved.
posted by teg4rvn at 3:21 PM on March 18, 2009

Response by poster: teg4rvn: The problem is that I've admitted this problem for a long time. For me, it seems, there's an issue in actual execution. Part of it is willpower, part of it is just some sort of mental block I have towards stuff like that.

Thanks for all the ideas, everyone, especially about letting myself relax when I'm done. I've got 4 more days of Spring Break before my classes start up again - let's see if I can't get my shit together.
posted by SNWidget at 4:15 PM on March 18, 2009

Yet again a question appears on Metafilter that I've been thinking about asking. Is there some sort of brain-Metafilter link that is set up when you create an account here?

SNWidget - I got nothing to add as I'm in exactly the same boat and it's killing me. I feel your frustration dude! The only thing that seems to work is being tough on yourself, waking up and just saying no to procrastination.

Another thing that may help is installing Leechblock This program has been awesome in helping me focus. It blocks out websites for certain hours of the day. Give it a go. Once you realise you're just surfing round the internet just to surf round the internet it makes you want to get up and actually do something
posted by AzzaMcKazza at 4:41 PM on March 18, 2009

Everybody knows that changing ourselves hurts. Ultimately, people don't change until the pain of changing is less than the pain of not changing. In the moment of choice, the pain of changing can be really "loud" and hard to bear, so we dive back into the old habit. But examining that pain for what it really is can help us make the change.

I do better at making changes when I break it down into 5 steps:

Prepare - Committing to change & setting up a supportive environment - this includes anything to help you: action plans, success stories, tools (like the timers, notepads, etc). This also includes enlisting support from people in your life that care and can be patient and supportive while you are working through the change.

Observe - Simply observe yourself doing the thing you want to change without making any changes. This may seem like a waste of time, but think about it: how can you change when you don't know its happening? This also helps you build a sense of patience that will be needed as you go step by step through the rest of the process. It doesn't get better immediately - you will need patience to keep at this even though you don't see immediate results and it still hurts to try to change.

Interrupt - Once you get good at observing, stop yourself in that moment and see what's there: what are you feeling? what is coming up as the thing you'd rather do? what feels bad about doing the new thing? how bad does it hurt? do those bad feelings point at something real, or is it your fear/perfectionism telling you things that aren't necessarily so? Is the pain really unbearable, or is it just some discomfort that maybe you could tolerate for an extra second? Think about what it would look like if you took the desired behavior? Think about what the simple, first step you could take toward that goal. Keep doing this until you regularly stop yourself at the point of doing the unwanted thing; when you're able to see moment where you do it, and are able to pause at that moment, just for a moment.

Replace - Now that you're getting better at being able to see the unwanted behavior, and interrupt yourself as you're doing it, you now are actually gaining real control over yourself. So, one more step you can to do to further your self control is to replace the old behavior with the new one. Take those first small steps, turn them into more steps or bigger steps - begin doing the thing that you'd rather do. Pay attention to what it looks like while you're doing it. Gain the memory that you actually did it, so that you can look back on it and know that you did it once, and you can do it again.

If one of your supportive helpers is assisting you, let them do it. Allow this to help you become familiar with how the new behavior looks. You don't have to do this alone.

Practice - now repeat this every chance you get to re-wire your brain for the new habit. Practice will turn this into a habit that will feel familiar - with sufficient practice, you will start doing the new thing automatically. Forgive yourself for backsliding. Look for things that trip you up and address them in turn. If you've had help, try doing it on your own. Just keep practicing. And forgiving. And practicing. And modifying. And practicing.

One last thing to think about: People don't change unless they want to. That does not mean that they only want things to be different. It means that they want to endure the discomfort of change until they have moved from one practice to another. Be prepared for the discomfort of change, accept it, and the more times you move through it, the easier it will become. I think that's the essence of will power: facing that feeling, that voice, that ache that comes from changing your life. It doesn't have to be torture, but it will be uncomfortable as you work on it. You can take that as a positive sign that you're actually changing!
posted by buzzv at 7:41 PM on March 18, 2009 [7 favorites]

Too fast on the post:

^Keep doing this until . . . you regularly stop yourself at the point of doing the unwanted thing; you're able to see the point where you do it, and are able to pause at that moment, just for a moment.
posted by buzzv at 7:46 PM on March 18, 2009

I totally know what you mean, although I can usually tear myself away from things during the day if I have some pressing work and I'm not too sleep deprived. But at night I can easily surf until 5 o'clock if I'm not careful, even though I have no idea why I'm still awake by then.

One thing that works great for me at nighttime, though, is to make my computer go to sleep at the time I want to go to sleep, and to then go back to sleep every minute or so after that. After I turn it back on a couple of times I'll get tired of fighting it and just go to bed; without my computer telling me off, I'm usually too tired to make myself get off of the computer at night.

This is really easy to accomplish; on Windows, just create a new scheduled task, set it to run "C:\Windows\system32\rundll32.exe Powrprof,SetSuspendState 0,1,1", and make it run whenever you want it to. On OSX or Linux, you should be able to set up something similar pretty easily with cron.
posted by closetpacifist at 10:30 PM on March 18, 2009

First of all, work out what you value in life. Is it important to you to have good friendships? Write that down. What else is important? Do you value learning or your career or self development? Work out exactly what matters. Really, write it down. It's fine to say you value your leisure tme, and increasing your skill at your favourite games.

If you can, work out one or more goal for each value, eg friendships - catch up with at least one friend a week.

Next time you're tempted to play for hours online, ask yourself, is this one of your values? Is this contributing to a rich and full life? If the answer is no, I suspect that this will niggle at you constantly until you stop doing what you're doing, and go do something you value.
posted by b33j at 10:34 AM on March 19, 2009 [3 favorites]

Reading this thread while procrastinating from real work was kind of a mindfuck. Thanks everyone; back to work I go.
posted by PercussivePaul at 12:32 PM on March 19, 2009

I think some others have hit on a really good point - you can't wait until you FEEL like getting up and working. Inertia is powerful, and it takes a very long time before getting up to do the laundry sounds like a good time. Just take yourself with a grain of salt. When you notice yourself thinking something like "oh, but I don't wanna, that's gonna be unpleasant and slow and I'm so comfortable right here", just laugh at yourself a little and ignore that voice. What you want to pay attention to are your carefully-considered intentions.

Also, I (as a meditator) can't recommend meditation highly enough, although I feel like I say that all the time. It trains you to be spontaneously aware, throughout the day, of what you are doing. That's a very simple thing, but it doesn't really come naturally to people, and practicing maintaining your attention will allow you to be able to do it. It's amazing how easy it is to go through the day without being conscious of the choices you are making. I can't tell you how helpful it is to suddenly realize what you are doing - it's like being in a dark room when the light suddenly turns on, and you realize you've wandered in to the kitchen again and have your hand in the cookie jar involuntarily.
posted by Cygnet at 2:40 PM on March 19, 2009 [1 favorite]

Best answer: * Not so much a 'to do list' but a daily/this-segment-of-time plan of what you're going to do. With some real thinking as to how long each thing will REALLY take.

* Get a full nights sleep. And a regular sleep schedule. I start doing that - not doing stuff, more when sleep deprived, and 'sleeping' is one of those things it gets easier to 'not do', so it becomes a vicious cycle. Do the going to sleep with GF at 11pm thing. If you get up early, you can surf then. No difference. Right? You don't sleep because you're sleepy *now*, but because you'll be sleepy *tomorrow*.
God I hate the advice 'Go to sleep when you're sleepy'. That's either morning, after 'lunch', or about 20 hours from when I last woke up. I've got a long-phase body clock. The day is not 28+ hours long.

* It took me over a year of not using Leechblocker to finally realise I really, really need to use leechblocker. I've just got it to block everything but email & work at work. And, should probably use it at home at particular time periods to try some - huh, what non-internet activities can I try now? breaks. De-fraging computer? Organising MP3s? Hey wait - I have actual BOOKS! And a guitar!

* Whenever I realise I'm really just wasting time - I've been taking a 15-30 min rest/nap. Download the free Pzizz tracks. It refreshes me - I think my brain really just wanted to idle for a bit, and thinks the internet is equivalent. It's not. Try the Real Thing, do New, Improved, Nothing

* The Now Habit by Neil Fiore - look at the unschedule & other things. 1st step: Seriously, seriously look at every squawking lie your brain tells you about why you COULDN'T possibly do that, and why you don't REALLY fit into the standard procrastination patterns, and then consider that you're probably lying to yourself, and pretend what it would be like if you weren't, and just did/recognised it.

* A PDA with appointments and alarms, and sync it up to google calendar.

* Read stuff for ADHD people / aka guides for those of us with VERY poor organisation or time sense.
Step 2: Don't get caught up reading them instead of doing things. It's just another form of escapism.

* Talk with a friend, your GF, or a counsellor about your efforts/tactics to improve. In a judgement free zone so that you can be more honest with them than you have with yourself.

Hey look! It's 8pm! I'm still at work and got around my leechblocker. What does that mean? That it's time to leave, and time for the weekend, and time for my new trick:

* Start journalling, randomly or about why I think I might be doing this. God I hate pen-writing. Still, seems to worketh.
/ Dissect events afterwards, and write an alternate script where you write all the things you should have done, in the present, first person.
Eg "I catch the bus straight to *place*. When I'm running late, I don't run side errands - I focus on my running!"

The Little Guide To Beating Procrastination, Perfectionism and Blocks - http://lifelongactivist.com/downloads
(Try stuff on *this* page first)
posted by Elysum at 12:07 AM on March 20, 2009 [9 favorites]

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