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  • How can I stay focus and stay off of non productive websites

    I'm a 22 year old web designer, I work at a design firm, freelance, and i'm finishing up school for web design in march.

    Right now, I'm losing more money than gaining because I can't stay focus on what I need to do such as school work, freelance, and 9-5. I seriously thinking about quitting freelance because I've been late on deadlines so much and not doing what I'm supposed to do for projects such as posting websites live before I test it for errors.

    I'm trying therapy, which my therapist says i may have a big addiction to the internet, and tech toys, which keeps me unfocused on stuff i need to do...and may need some help on that...

    I also doing David Allen's mythology called Getting Things Done, which I'm reading the book and trying to apply his methods so I won't have so much on my mind and stay organized.

    I've tried software, but its been so buggy that its no use using it. The software disables me from sites like facebook, smashingmagazine, lifehacker, and twitter at hours at a time and then open back up for an hour.

    Right now, I'm trying an app called Cooktimer, which is set for a 30 minute countdown to do work...and then 2 minutes after that of browsing.

    My last choice was either militant force (having someone yell at me for getting off task until I'm almost forced to being fired or losing money, or worst)...

    Does anyone have ways of not randomly going to facebook when you have work to be done, because seriously I've lost so much money, I'm not keeping up with invoices (may be in trouble in the tax arena), and basically I don't know if I'm ready to be in the major work force (on salary) after I graduate

    Thanks

  • #2
    You might want to try to identify exactly why you are procrastinating. In Getting Things Done, David identifies two possible reasons - you either do not know what your successful outcome really is, or you have not identified the next physical action necessary to move forward. Some other causes for procrastination are perfectionism, fear of failure (and success), and resentment.

    The best book I know for describing the causes of and possible solutions for procrastination is "The Now Habit" by Neil Fiore. I would recommend that title to anyone who struggles with procrastination.

    Comment


    • #3
      Adhd

      You might talk to your therapist or another psychologist / psychiatrist about ADHD or attention deficit disorder. One does not need to have the hyperactivity or be stupid. I am a successful physician and I was diagnosed at the age of 34. When we are in school and have very rigid deadlines it is easier than work that is done with much more freedom, etc. I was upset and shunned the diagnosis at first but then I came to embrace it. I am by no means saying you have this but to consider it.

      Many people with ADD have executive function problems, severe procrastination and a propensity to hyperfocus and get lost in electronics, internet and TV. David Allen system is so good because it gets things out of your head. However, it still is up to the individual to decide what is important and to prioritize. David Allen system will not help you with hyperfocusing and losing yourself on the internet. Even if you don't have ADD, there are many great resources in the add literature. Check out Additude Magazine (free articles). I really do agree with the last post that Neil Fiore book is great on "the Now Habit" You could check out the reverse calendar which I found useful.

      Hope this helps.

      Comment


      • #4
        Goodness knows you're not the only one with this problem. The Internet is probably the best procrastination tool ever devised. And it sneaks up on you because you'll really need to research one quick thing, but then while you've got your browser open... and down the rabbit hole you go.

        It helps me to have a bare bones environment set up for work-related stuff, without any of my fun bookmarks, and also without login cookies for fun sites. That raises the barrier high enough for me to catch myself. In my case, I use DevonAgent as my "serious" browser, and it helps that it integrates more easily with DevonThink, my research database, than Firefox does. (DevonAgent and DevonThink are both Mac only.)

        That helps, but it can still be a struggle. Good luck!

        Katherine

        Comment


        • #5
          Procrastination is a vast topic, and everybody's solution is different. What I write below is just one (more) way to tackle it.

          The mind is a pleasure seeking entity. Even if you know what is the outcome of a particular activity, and the ways and steps to achieve it, you may not be pulled towards the activity. A typical comparison that goes on in the mind is between the instantaneous pleasure that one derives from non-productive activities, and the apparent boredom or repulsiveness of the desired activities. Obviously the former wins. In spite of all the disciplinary measures that are imposed, by somebody else, or by oneself. Finally all the software that tries to discipline you, or all the rules that you make for yourself will fail. The "prisoner" will escape this "jail of rules".

          In spite of a lot of guilt, the behavior changes only little if any. You now carry both the burdens: the constant behavioral failure, and the guilt. This is because of the apparently repulsive nature of your work.

          A solution is to attack the repulsion itself. That is done not only by finding out what is the desired outcome of the things that you have to do, but actively imagining, visualizing, and emotionally experiencing how the success looks and feels like.

          For example, let's say you have decided to be a web designer. This is just a description, and may not get you emotionally involved into it. Try creatively visualizing the result. Stretch it as much as you can while being rational. Start visualizing in detail as you read on this paragraph slowly: What would be the areas of your expertize? How would your office look? Imagine successful conversations with your clients. About finished projects. About ongoing projects. Visualize various aspects of you being a knowledgeable web designer. Visulalize that you are in your office, working towards a project intelligently and diligently. Visualize your reputation. Do this everyday for sometime. Use your creativity.

          If a few positive images have danced in your mind while reading the above paragraph, how do you feel now? Does the thought of visiting nonproductive websites feel attractive now? If this has caused any change in your state of mind, then it may work for you in the long term as well. The purpose, in short, is to create a frame of mind which is suitable for achieving the desired.

          If you feel this will work for you, you can look at other areas of your life as well through this angle. Currently you may feel guilty at the end of the day when quite a bit of time of the day is wasted. Visualize how you would feel at the end of the day, knowing the day was spent well.

          This technique usually goes by the name of affirmations. You can write down various details of such visualizations in present tense sentences to help you visualize these. Consciously go through them daily. Keep changing and experimenting with them occasionally. The same set does not work all the time.

          More info:
          http://www.huffingtonpost.com/david-...h_b_83526.html
          http://www.self-esteem-and-confidenc...firmations.htm
          http://briankim.net/blog/2008/07/how-affirmations-work/

          Looking forward to hear your name as one of the leading experts in web design,

          Regards,
          Abhay

          Comment


          • #6
            You have my sympathy; addiction is difficult. Good for you for taking steps to overcome it! As others have said, internet addiction is common, as is addiction in general. Don't beat yourself up over it.

            Addiction is famously tricky to overcome, particularly addiction to a thing that you can't simply avoid (you can keep liquor out of your house; you can't necessarily keep the internet out, though some folks have gone that route).

            Going "cold turkey" rarely works, in practice, over the long term. The addiction is typically too strong unless you have other, new desires or interests filling the void.

            One option: Give yourself solid periods of time during the day to surf the internet. Do it intentionally. Schedule time for it. Pay attention to how much of the 'net you surf during that time. Plan to spend a lot of time on it.

            Between surfing periods, you can work productively, and your brain will know that you will get another "hit" of the 'net shortly.

            Once you've established this habit, you can gradually increase the amount of time you spent working, and decrease the amount of time spent surfing.

            It's much like the GTD idea of getting things out of your mind and into a trusted system. Your brain needs to know that you'll get back to it (whether a Project or an addictive behavior) eventually, and then it can let go. That gives you something to work with.

            Hope this helps.

            Comment


            • #7
              Hi! I completely understand where you are coming from!
              I have been treated for years for depression and only recently thru my therapist learned that I have ADD.
              My therapist used the Brown ADD Rating scales to test me. Here is a link to the site and the breakdown that he uses for attention issues in adults http://www.drthomasebrown.com/brown_model/index.html
              I have trouble "activating" for work, meaning that even when I have my next actions in front of me I still have trouble getting started for some reason. (That we haven't uncovered yet lol).
              I don't have a good solution to offer unfortunately, I get sucked into the internet all the time! I think it's because it's more fun than work!
              I love your timer app, i am going to check that out.

              Hope this helps you in some way.

              Julie

              Comment


              • #8
                thank you all for all your help. I will definitely check out that book, and I went to that website about the functions that get disabled because of ADD and that was very interesting. I will continue my best to stay focus and be able to get work done.

                My freelance business is falling apart, and so is my reputation in the web design field in my area. Mostly everyone knows that I'm always late, always have an excuse, always mess up on things from a list or don't follow my promises. All of this is basically from not being able to stay focus and form good habits.

                I will take these tips into mind and try some of them out. I will also let my therapist know about these things and see what he has to say.

                Any more solutions are fine too.

                Thanks again...at least im getting better tips than my friends, who all just say "just stay focus" and "have self control" and they just say that every time...and don't tell me how they do it...

                Comment


                • #9
                  I have this problem. Unless what I'm working on is fascinating, I want to work on something else, anything else. I'm quite confident that I have ADHD, though I haven't been diagnosed. I'd suggest reading Driven to Distraction, just for some background.

                  In your case, I assume that you're supposed to be working on your computer and the web, so that when you ease your boredom with computer and web stuff, that ensures that you can't get any work done.

                  If so, then I'd suggest making a deliberate plan to ease your boredom with other things. This is often what I have to do - if I have a task that doesn't consume every last ounce of brain power, and few tasks do, then the "bored" part of my brain needs something to keep it busy, or it will set out to distract the productive part. But the "busy" input must not use the resources that I'm using for the task, because of course then the productive part doesn't have those resources any more.

                  So, for example, if I'm doing something that occupies my eyes and hands, I try to occupy the rest of my brain through my ears. So, (depending on how absorbing the "real" task is, from most absorbing to most boring) I'll play quiet music, or exciting music, or a soundtrack of a stand-up comic, or a movie that I've already seen many times, playing on a TV that's not directly in my line of sight.

                  This seems non-intuitive, and maybe for many people it doesn't work. But for me, if I'm doing something really boring, I need the music or voices to keep myself on task. It doesn't seem as if it ought to help, because the task is still boring. But the constant wrestling match with myself to stay on task is just a little bit easier when I have these planned distractions, enough easier that I usually win.

                  So, to summarize, a strict policy of eliminating anything entertaining doesn't work for me; what I need is something entertaining that doesn't hamper the task. In fact, if you're not being paid by the hour, it's OK if it does hamper the task, as long as you're making some progress on that task. I do housework very slowly, because I'm reading and watching TV at the same time, but since I'm not paid to do housework, that's OK.

                  I also find that cutting my work up into very small tasks and "cranking widgets" as they say, helps to get something done. Every time I pause to decide what to do next, I'm at risk of drifting off task. So at times when my focus is good or at least half-decent, I try to plan a lot of those small tasks, small enough that I just know how to do them and won't have to pause to figure out how. Then, when my focus is bad, I can just pick a task and work on it.

                  So, for example, I wouldn't do "create user/privilege system". Sure, I know how to do that, but it's big enough to have a lot of those dangerous "what now?" moments.

                  I'd instead have something like:

                  - Do preliminary design of User table.
                  - Do preiminary design of Privilege table.
                  - Create User table and fields.
                  - Create minimal entry screen for User.
                  ...
                  - Write UserHasPrivilege method, accepting User and Privilege arguments.
                  ... etc., etc.

                  Another scheme is to cut up the really boring tasks and set quotas for doing them. For example, if you have to test every control on six dozen web pages, that's incredibly boring. So in your planning, you could catalog the pages and have a repeating task for "test two web pages in the Gadget project beta". Don't even try to do a lot of them at once, just do a couple at a specific interval, and then switch to something more interesting. You could also do your "bite" of the boring tasks right before lunch, or right before you stop for the day, so that you can see the reward ahead of you.

                  Gardener

                  Comment


                  • #10
                    Originally posted by whochrisporter View Post
                    Does anyone have ways of not randomly going to facebook when you have work to be done, because seriously I've lost so much money, I'm not keeping up with invoices (may be in trouble in the tax arena), and basically I don't know if I'm ready to be in the major work force (on salary) after I graduate
                    Can you do parts of your work when you are offline? Could you go to a location with no internet access and still get work done?

                    - Don

                    Comment


                    • #11
                      Track your time

                      I'm not a psychologist so I wont comment on the ADD part. But there is something to say about these electronic doo-dads that sparkle and distract...

                      Anyhow I recommend you track and log your time down to 15 minute increments. David Seah has a simple flash version of his emergent task timer that I would recommend.

                      http://davidseah.com/blog/comments/t...nt-task-timer/

                      Its set to chime every 15 minutes and you can log in what you are doing. You'll have hard data on your work v. distraction time.

                      Yes is electronic and slick and I have found that if i have to account for every 15min period during the day - I actually am more productive.

                      Good Luck.

                      Comment


                      • #12
                        Originally posted by dschaffner View Post
                        Can you do parts of your work when you are offline? Could you go to a location with no internet access and still get work done?

                        - Don
                        Freelance
                        Well since I deal with web design, only 10% of the work I do is offline such as brainstorming, sketching, wireframing, and sitemapping. Everything else (wireframing finals, sitemap finals, designing, inspiration digging, development, testing, meetings, etc.) are on the computer and internet.

                        For school wise, here are my classes.
                        Math 102 (geometry) Online
                        - A must online, since its an online class

                        Design Marketing
                        - Instructor gives us packets to work on with like 30 questions to answer. Most of the answers are in the packet, but at the end, the answers have to be typed. So I do most of my research on the couch, off the computer.

                        Portfolio
                        - My "final" class, since im graduating. All computers. Documentation must be typed for all pieces we have to do: web site, multimedia flash, and computer based training piece).

                        Social Problems
                        - This is the only non computer class, except for the homework since the book cost $100, I research most of my answers off the internet.


                        9-5 Job
                        About 30% of the stuff I do is offline such as meetings, brainstorming, etc. Everything else is on the computer since I'm a web designer and developer there.


                        So as you can see, I'm very busy and I spend roughly 15+ hrs on the computer everyday. So its very stressful, tiring, and all the other things you can think about...

                        Comment


                        • #13
                          Originally posted by Instigase View Post
                          I'm not a psychologist so I wont comment on the ADD part. But there is something to say about these electronic doo-dads that sparkle and distract...

                          Anyhow I recommend you track and log your time down to 15 minute increments. David Seah has a simple flash version of his emergent task timer that I would recommend.

                          http://davidseah.com/blog/comments/t...nt-task-timer/

                          Its set to chime every 15 minutes and you can log in what you are doing. You'll have hard data on your work v. distraction time.

                          Yes is electronic and slick and I have found that if i have to account for every 15min period during the day - I actually am more productive.

                          Good Luck.

                          Wow, nice app! I save the flash file to my computer so I can use it offline and do it each day and see if I can discipline myself to do this.

                          Comment


                          • #14
                            Are you getting enough sleep? With school *and* freelance work *and* a 9-5 job, it seems to me there's a good chance that you aren't.

                            I ask because, at least for me, lack of sleep can be a vicious cycle. I don't get enough sleep, so I'm not very productive, so I stay up later to try to get work done, but then I don't get enough sleep...

                            Often, the time when you feel least able to take a break is the time when it will do you the most good.

                            Katherine

                            Comment


                            • #15
                              Originally posted by kewms View Post
                              Are you getting enough sleep? With school *and* freelance work *and* a 9-5 job, it seems to me there's a good chance that you aren't.

                              I ask because, at least for me, lack of sleep can be a vicious cycle. I don't get enough sleep, so I'm not very productive, so I stay up later to try to get work done, but then I don't get enough sleep...

                              Often, the time when you feel least able to take a break is the time when it will do you the most good.

                              Katherine
                              I go to sleep at 11pm almost every night and wake up at 7am in the morning....thats about 8 hrs each time...Probably once a week, I'll stay up until 1am...and even with 8hrs of sleep each night, I still feel tired throughout the day and need some coffee to boost my productive just a tiny bit (but I still get super distracted...no matter how many times i get caught on google reader or facebook..i still get on like 5 minutes later)...

                              Comment

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