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  • web-crastination

    Hi all,

    A little off topic here but it seems that a lot of the members on this list have fought the procrastination battle and are in various states of triumph.

    I've been struggling lately and thought I might ask for some help.

    In my work I actually do need to do a lot of research on the web. But I find that I very easily get sucked into the byways and hidden treasures of the net - ending up spending a lot of time "researching" things that although interesting don't ultimately add a lot to what I am doing. In other words - I'm wasting time.

    I've tried not using the web completely unless I have something specific to look up - creating a next action category of @web to hold these specific things. This sort of works but as soon as I have an action that requires a google search it inevitably leads me away. Besides that seems a waste when there is so much to explore.

    I've tried setting time limits but I always seem to find the most interesting thing just when I said I would stop.

    I guess I know the answer is to concentrate on what I'm doing and get out of there. A bit like shopping at the supermarket.

    Any thoughts.

  • #2
    1. Before you go to the internet try to define on paper what it is you are trying to achieve. See it as a mission (I'm gettin' in there, I'm gettin' the data, and I gettin' out fast!) Keep this right under your nose.

    2. Watch out for other impulses masquerading as “research” for example, you may be a bit lonely and want to be among fellow webbers, or you may be very sociable and cannot resist getting involved in an on-line discussion. You may be addicted to the phrase “good post!” appearing after one of your own posts.

    3. The other sites you are straying to may be front-loaded with very good sales pitches which are hooking you. Don't give them the satisfaction!

    4. You may be ending up at sites which are related to your hobbies – remember these ARE NOT WORK.

    5. Keep a time log for a few days and you will definitely be horrified when you see the amount of useless time you have spent at the wrong sites.

    6. If you get one successful day of focussed research done, you will get a huge dose of pride and feel-good which you can refer to the next day – “How do I want to feel today? I want to feel just like I did yesterday when I stuck to the target!”

    Comment


    • #3
      Re: web-crastination

      I agree with Coz's idea to use the internet as a reward. I do this myself, as I described recently on another post. It has worked well for me.

      Even when you do legitimately need to google something for work, you probably become aware at some point that you have wandered from your original goal. At that point, bookmark where you are, or make notes, or do whatever you need to do to feel that you can pick up where you left off later. Then go back to work, but give yourself a defined work goal so that once you achieve it, you can reward yourself with a session of web surfing.

      For some of my most hated tasks, I have rewarded myself pretty liberally. For example, I told myself that once I worked on X for 30 minutes (a task I had been avoiding for a long time), I would reward myself with 15 minutes of internet surfing. This work/reward ratio seemed pathetic, but I realized that it would be an infinite improvement over the zero work I had done previously. After I achieved this small success, I found I could increase the work/reward ratio.

      Does it sound like this kind of approach would help?

      -andersons

      Comment


      • #4
        add another category something like... @web-X-plorations

        Then everytime you get a cool idea about something to look at, research, explore, discover, put it in that list. Very soon you will have a huge list of very cool ideas.
        Cosmo, this is the most helpful recco I've read in ages!!! I am having a horrendous problem with procrastination right now, and instead of getting busy implementing all the GTD principles and clearing out my junk, I keep digging deeper into all the cool stuff about it on the web. I suppose there are worse ways to waste time, but I HAVE TO FIX THE PROBLEM!

        I'm going to add this category and try my hardest to stop surfing when I shouldn't be. I may also try to log how much time I waste in a day. That should help to shock me out of it!

        Anyone have any book recommendations for the topic of procrastination??

        Comment


        • #5
          [quote="Andrea Bonner"]
          Anyone have any book recommendations for the topic of procrastination??
          Great one right here: Neil Fiore's The Now Habit. Highly recommended.

          Comment


          • #6
            Overcoming Procrastination by Albert Ellis
            http://www.amazon.com/exec/obidos/tg...84106?v=glance

            The Procrastination Workbook by William Knaus
            http://www.amazon.com/exec/obidos/tg...books&st=*


            Originally posted by Andrea Bonner

            Anyone have any book recommendations for the topic of procrastination??

            Comment


            • #7
              Thanks

              Thanks all for your ideas.

              I've used the idea of having a separate category and leaving this as a reward type.

              I also logged usage for a few days - thought I'd better stop that as it was way to frightening - still I guess it is better than veg-ing out in front of the tele.

              Better get back to work now....

              Comment


              • #8
                Anyone have any book recommendations for the topic of procrastination??
                I second the recommendation for The Now Habit. However, there are different psychological reasons behind procrastination. The Now Habit doesn't address all of them, but if it addresses the ones you have, it's a great help.

                The Now Habit is for the perfectionistic procrastinator, or the procrastinator who rebels against "having" to do things, or the procrastinator with a Puritan work ethic (weird irony, huh? creates a lot of conflict!) who believes that life should essentially be all work and no play. The person who feels guilty every minute they're not being "productive."

                -andersons

                Comment


                • #9
                  Million dollar post, Coz. Thanks.

                  Comment


                  • #10
                    Many many many thanks for your advice, Coz. You touched on many of the particularities of my mental avoidance (like reading books to feel like I've addressed the problem, then not DOING anything!). I appreciate all the time you've taken to help. Today is the start of a more productive me!

                    Comment


                    • #11
                      Great post, Coz. I would just add that it is great to have a healthy outlet for the anxiety you can fully expect to experience when you are knocking off items on your procastination list. Certainly the best medicine is getting the item done. But to keep you fully committed, you might also think about methods, other than avoidance, to ease the anxiety. This could be meditation, exercise, surfing the web, talking with a friend, etc. (keeping in mind that this should be a means of easing anxiety rather than engaging in further procrastination).

                      Comment


                      • #12
                        Hey Architect,

                        I normally time myself because I also procrastinate on-line. I have a Vibralite watch and I set the countdown timer when on the internet (or even lying around) It helps me to notice how much time I’m wasting. Before I set the timer, I usually put an intention to it, as if I'm going to surf for "barnacles" on the internet, for exactly 30 minutes, then stop. I find that when I intentionally set a countdown timer (the task) for 30 minutes it helps me notice how much time has passed and then stop, or move on. It shakes me up.

                        I also recommend a simple timer program that can run on your computer, it can help. I have used a program called Reality Check and find the taskbar “smiley face” helps me notice what is going on, or how much time I have wasted. I have also found when timing myself I get more accomplished because of the “time” factor. It works well, the links are below.

                        The main page look for “Reality Check Program”
                        http://www.consciousdreaming.com/luc...-resources.htm

                        The Reality Check Program (direct link)
                        http://www.consciousdreaming.com/luc...alityCheck.EXE

                        http://www.amazon.com/exec/obidos/tg...e&n=507846

                        Also look at:

                        http://www.habitchange.com/

                        Comment


                        • #13
                          Blank Home Page

                          One thing I have found useful is having a blank page as my home page when starting up my browser. When I used to have my email or a portal as my homepage I would get stuck in a rathole of hyperlinks checking out news or just new sites. With a blank home page, I need to type in my destination and purposefully go where I intended to in the first place. It does not insulate completely (I may already have it up, for instance), but it does do a decent job of keeping me focused most of the time.

                          There are some sites I do want to have up at start up sometimes (mail, news, etc.) Since I use firefox, I just keep a group of tabs as the home page with the top tab as blank. Still does a decent job of keeping me focused.

                          Comment


                          • #14
                            Re: Blank Home Page

                            Originally posted by Maturin
                            One thing I have found useful is having a blank page as my home page when starting up my browser. When I used to have my email or a portal as my homepage I would get stuck in a rathole of hyperlinks checking out news or just new sites. With a blank home page, I need to type in my destination and purposefully go where I intended to in the first place. It does not insulate completely (I may already have it up, for instance), but it does do a decent job of keeping me focused most of the time.

                            There are some sites I do want to have up at start up sometimes (mail, news, etc.) Since I use firefox, I just keep a group of tabs as the home page with the top tab as blank. Still does a decent job of keeping me focused.
                            Maturin, I also do the same thing. I use google as my homepage with a different background photo. I also don't usually have a desktop background photo, I just use black, blue, or a nice tan, so I can see what is on my desktop. My desktop is basically my inbox.

                            I have a few links I check everyday, they are located in my NEWS button on my favorites bar. That's about it.

                            Comment


                            • #15
                              Originally posted by CosmoGTD
                              What happens, is that at some point, the brain LEARNS that doing your taxes is not a terrible thing, but just a task like any other task.
                              I'm not too sure about this one. I've been facing up to my taxes year after year and my brain hasn't learned that lesson yet...



                              But you are right, as Nike says, "just do it."

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