in Journals

If You’re Not Getting Anything Done, Leave!

Road Trip to Dhulikhel

Every morning I open the laptop to get my work done. Before I open the laptop, I have specific tasks set up in my mind. But after I open the laptop, I get easily distracted. 

I either open my e-mail client or surf Facebook. If not, I just play around the files in the name of organizing it.

I have to-do list where it's written that I need to organize my files. So I open my laptop and play around with files fooling myself that I'm trying to organize it. Instead, I'm just going through it trying to find something to fill my time or entertain me.

I figured it's either that I slip onto consumption mode or I feel energy less. I'm aware that I have very limited energy compared to other human beings. I don't know why. Maybe I was born that way or something's wrong in my body.

Whatever the case, that's one area where I fall short on.

Consumption Mode

Falling on consumption mode has entirely been my mistake. I fall on it when I'm feeling bored or when I surf the internet. I have subscribed to many blogs. As soon as I open my e-mail, I start to skim through the subscribed list to see if there's anything interesting. I then click on some articles and then enter their website.

After that, I start to click on other links and then ..........  BOOM! 4 hours gone!

I realize it then but there's nothing I can do. I start off with those things and then end up like that.

It all starts when I feel bored or after I complete a set of work. I get that urge to do reward myself for completing specific task from my to-do list. But, it ends up against me.

Energy Less

I don't have much control over this because there's nothing I could do except to try and eat healthy & stay fit. I stop working when I feel energy less. But since, I'll be low on energy, I take it as an excuse to surf the internet. I then watch YouTube videos, Facebook, and all other social medias.

I even end up to the point where I scroll Facebook from top to bottom every second for no reason.

The Rule to Leave

I realized that the only reason I start to surf the internet mindlessly is because I keep using laptop even after I complete my work. Or, after I finish a set of work. Most of the time, I don't even reach that point. I just open and start to surf without working on anything.

I can easily avoid all the above mentioned problem by leaving my laptop as soon as I complete a set of specific task. That way, I'll only work on my to-do list while I'm using my laptop.

Instead of rewarding myself with YouTube videos, I should consider leaving my laptop to read books or go out and enjoy fresh air.

I have been using my laptop as a tool of entertainment, not a tool for work.

So, I've developed a rule for using it. I will only open my laptop to work on a set of task which should be pre-defined before I even open my laptop. Pre-defined because if I open my laptop to see if there's anything I can work on, I'll surf mindlessly.

To-Do App

For this, I need to keep a robust to-do sheet. So, that I can open my laptop with a pre-defined set of goals. I am, for example, writing this blog post only because I had pre-defined goals set before I opened my laptop.

I have tried many to-do apps, but nothing has worked yet. I tried 'Things' but wasn't satisfied because I can use it only in my laptop and not in my mobile phone. I tried to search for something which I could sync on all of my devices and follow the GTD workflow.

I even tried using SimpleNote since it would sync across all device and web. But it doesn't have proper interface. It's just like a plain notepad and I can't use it properly.

So, I'm thinking of keeping a pen and paper to write my to-do list and as soon as I open my laptop, keep it in 'Things' app.

--

I think leaving my laptop after I complete a set of work will help me from surfing the internet mindlessly and not getting things done.

What do you think? Do you have any similar rule set up for yourself?

If You Enjoyed This Article, Get Similar Article Updates (Free)

Write a Comment

Comment

  1. Procrastination is a huge problem for so many people.

    I sometimes like to think of the crazy crack rabbit in my brain that stops me from concentrating on one task and partly believe it is due to how over-stimulated we are by the world around us. Phones with FaceBook and Twitter, and viral content that appears everywhere and lures you in with the title.

    I think that your pen and paper rule are good ones and when you are not able to follow your list, go outside and recharge, then start again later. My most productive days are performed in this way.

    There are also programs which will block all social media sites for a period of time these may be worth checking out.

    As for the energy, consumption of nutritious food, physical exercise, and decent water level consumption all play huge parts in how people feel. Jamie Oliver did a brilliant TED talk on the topic which really made me think twice about what we should and shouldn’t put into our bodies.

    Maybe I should start doing something now….

    • Yes, I think everyone procrastinates. But some people get better at handling it with time.

      Good advice to go outside and recharge when I’m not able to follow my list. Thanks for that.

      I’m aware of apps that block social media sites for a period of time. I use Self-Control. But the problem is there are times when I need to get into Facebook for work, but as soon as I enter, I get distracted.

      Either I’ll have to completely avoid Facebook, or allocate specific time to use it everyday.

      I’ve been lacking physical exercise, which I hope to do every morning. At least stretching.

      I’m watching Jamie Oliver’s TED talk. Thanks for pointing it out.

  2. Well these problems are common to all. We intend to do something but make a hash of it or even forget about the work. As you said making notes and planning do help a lot. But to break the ice all we need to do is make the work interesting. Well how can we do that?

    Firstly we should think about why should we do that work. Alright it may be some official works, assignments, study works, hobby anything. Whatever it is just think about the good aspects of the work. Having a lesson completed makes you easier through your exams, having an official work done makes you a good colleague and writing a blog helps to share your ideas and many more.

    No wonder human brain is the biggest traded. For instance if you give a condition to your brain like after having done this work I’ll go outing or play something. These things really work. That’s how the greatest of determination come.

    The most important is taking breaks at regular intervals. It’s on the card that we’ll be distracted a lot but when u feel you’re too distracted take a break.

    The best help is meditation. One can feel their breathe for few minutes. This relaxes the mind and increases concentration.

    These are few things which I usually do. It helps a lot. Hope these work with you as well.

    • Thank you for sharing this, Sumit.

      I agree with most of what you say, except I have a different approach to some of your points.

      Firstly we should think about why should we do that work. Alright it may be some official works, assignments, study works, hobby anything. Whatever it is just think about the good aspects of the work. Having a lesson completed makes you easier through your exams, having an official work done makes you a good colleague and writing a blog helps to share your ideas and many more.

      Thinking about ‘why should we do the work’, might work as a tool of motivation for most of us. But for me, it doesn’t work that way. Most of the time, I am well aware of the benefits and good aspects of the work, but still I don’t feel like working.

      Over time, I’ve figured that instead of trying to motivate myself thinking about the good aspect of the work and thinking why I do the work, working without motivation is a better approach. I try to work even when I feel unmotivated.

      For me, the more difficult and better option is working when you aren’t inspired. I wasn’t inspired or motivated to write this comment. I just wrote it. And now, I’m already in the middle of this comment.

      One thing I’ve realized from this is that inspiration doesn’t hit you when you want it to, it hits you only when you start working.

      I’m inspired and motivated to write automatically after I write. I’m inspired and motivated to program automatically after I program. But if don’t start programming or writing in the first place, then I’ll never get inspired to work on it. And then, I’ll have to rely on external inspiration from other resources like thinking about ‘Why I should do the work?’ and ‘The benefits of the work.’

      No wonder human brain is the biggest traded. For instance if u give a condition to your brain like after having done this work I’ll go outing or play something. These things really work. That’s how the greatest of determination come.

      I don’t focus or give condition to my brain on completing a work. To me, that’s a focus on the destination, which could be a few minutes in the future, hours, days or even weeks. And I’ve found that kind of thinking doesn’t stop — you’re always focused on where you’re going, instead of where you are. For instance, instead of focusing on work, I’ll tend to focus completely on the condition.

      Instead, I prefer to focus on what I’m doing right now, and always believe that I’ve already arrived. Doing the work isn’t great because it’ll feel good to go out and play after the work — it’s great because I love and enjoy the feeling of the work. I practice being mindful, and it’s a meditation as you’ve pointed out.

      These are few things which I usually do. It helps a lot. Hope these work with you as well.

      Thank you very much for sharing these tips. I’ll try myself and see if it helps me over time.

      Cheers for the comment!