Now that the rush of speaking at FOTB has lessened, I thought it relevant to expand on some of the things I said on stage. As I write these posts, I’ll be sure to tag them 10Best so you can click on the tag in the post and have all the pertinent posts lined up for you.
To start with, I’d like to talk a little about recognition. Typically, the most difficult thing to do when you’re avoiding work is realizing you are avoiding work. If you haven’t done any work in a while, it might all of a sudden hit you, “Why am I still not working?”
I’m here to tell you, recognition is extremely important. Once you can see from outside yourself what you’re up to, you can make the effort to move on. If you’re not avoiding work, per se, but simply taking a break, that’s something else entirely. Let’s pretend you’re not taking a break.
So how do you do something introspective when it’s not immediately in your nature? This actually requires effort. However, once you’re used to doing it, it’s difficult to stop. Besides that, you might start blaming procrastination on things that really aren’t. LOL.
Anyway, let’s figure out how to rejig your thinking.
Look at what you’re doing right now. Maybe not right now, since you’re reading my post. No wait, yes, right now. Are you reading this post because you’re geniunely interested in what you’re reading? Or are you reading it because you don’t feel like working? Either way, thanks for reading my post, but if your reason is the latter, stop reading and go back to work.
Are they gone? Good. Good for them. If you’re still here, it’s the former. Please read on.
This applies to everything online. We can get distracted, often, by links that lead to other links that lead to other links. That’s the wonder and the curse of the interweb.
Turn yourself around, it’s fairly easy. Schedule distraction time. Give yourself a half hour or an hour a day to just tool around looking at links. Copy and paste links into a text file for later perusal. But do not go immediately to the links you’re given. You’ll find you discriminate more in what you look at when you wait to look. Sometimes it helps to even copy whatever the description that your friend or the referrer provided with the link. For instance, “LOL. HILARIOUS. http://randomLink” You know, and I know, that that’s a link that can wait.
It’s not intentional but getting distracted from what you’re doing and losing your train of thought (or as I started to say “My train of thought’s derailed”) is really, really easy. Since we’re social animals by nature, we don’t like saying “Just give me insert # of minutes minutes and I’ll get back to you.” Even if it’s in IM. I say social and distracted can be two different things. Be polite, but keep your momentum.
Now, this doesn’t apply only to monkeying around looking at links. Do you get up from your desk to have a smoke? Do you refill your coffee and find yourself standing at the carafe chatting with someone about their weekend, wedding, trip, kids, itch? You need to figure out why you’re not working. If you genuinely need to take a break, take your break. Look at your reasons. More often than not, I left my desk because I simply didn’t want to deal with what was on my screen. Avoidance is procrastination, by the way. Thought I’d share that.
This mindset has paid off incredibly for me since going freelance. When I stand up from my desk now, I ask “Why am I getting up?” If I look back at my computer and see something that’s been hanging me up, I sit back down. If there isn’t, I get up and take five minutes of free thought, stretching, smoke, coffee, water, bathroom, whatever. But I don’t let myself get in my own way anymore.
Don’t discount the value of taking a break to reset your head. You can bang your brain against a bug for hours and never get there. Sometimes the only answer for it is to stand up, step back, blink the stupid out of your eyes and breath.