ME: Boy! Come downstairs! muscle_boy: Yes, Mama?
Me: Son, I was trying to get out of cooking dinner. muscle_boy: Thanks for being honest.
Me: (laughs) But in my contemplation, I thought that maybe we could make it a group effort. I’ll make a spaghetti sauce, if you’ll make the pasta. muscle_boy: (punching the air) Yes!1 But, what about Daddy?
Me: Daddy usually cleans up and I think that’s a valid contribution to dinner. muscle_boy: Okay.
It was the “Thanks for being honest” part that got to me…
Yesterday, I commented that I’d been told about a blocking add-in for Firefox called Leechblock. You enter the sites you think you shouldn’t visit and when (or for how long). I mentioned that I was going to do an experiment and see what happens.
I’m gonna be honest, I’ve only been doing it for a morning and the results are already embarrassing. I’ve discovered that for a woman in my profession, I permit myself to context switch far, far too often! See, context switching kills concentration, and what does a writer do most of all, boys and girls? Right.
While I didn’t get a whole day’s worth of work done in a quarter of the time, I certainly did get a lot more done than I ordinarily would if I were hanging out on LJ, Tribe, Twitter, and Facebook all day – jumping online between paragraphs. I’ll probably finish up the day a little early, but I’ve got a project that’s been hanging fire for weeks that I’m going to get to, anyway. It’s not paying work, but might turn into paying work, and if I’m gonna set myself strict office hours, I suppose I’m allowed to work on projects when I’m done with my paying work, right?
I have also been using Rescuetime to analyze my computer usage and have discovered that what they call time-wasters are actually often genuine research for me. I’ve also found that I’m spending considerably less time on email than I’d estimated – less than an hour a day. That shocked me, but I realized I won’t have a clear picture until someone starts a heated discussion on PolyFamilies again!
A friend of mine on LJ1 turned me on to a Firefox plugin of epic usefulness – Leechblock. It prevents you from accessing sites that, in your judgement, are timewasters during specified periods of time. It’s not like a nanny software that blocks sites forever, but gives you the option of limiting time on a specific site or banning those sites from being accessed during certain hours. If you’re really worried about self control, you can also choose to set it to prevent you from accessing options until the banned time is over.
Now part of my job really kind of is to screw around on the net. Most of my clients want me to write for the web, so I have to be aware of web trends, understand what makes a good blog post or not, and other things of that nature. Not only that, but I do use the Internet for research.2 However, when you’ve hit refresh for the fiftieth time in an hour on Livejournal, are grinding your teeth at the stupidity Facebook’s latest TOS fiasco, or have posted that you’re clipping your toenails on Twitter, things have gone a bit far.
I consider myself reasonably self-disciplined. I meet deadlines. I finish my to-do list for work. I manage to scrounge enough money to keep me from having to get a “real job” and that really does take some self-motivation. But I’m going to try an experiment. For the next week, I’m going to block some sites from my browser during office hours3 with an hour break for lunch and see what it does to my productivity and client base.
I’m guessin’ we’re gonna see some positive results. Whatcha think?
1 (Thanks sheelangig!) 2You’d be amazed at how inexpensive a single PDF download of an article from a technical or medical journal can be sometimes! 3 6:30-3:30 is usual for me to work.
I’ve resisted posting about working out lately until I was properly back in the swing of being active again. I’d noticed so many posts about how I have to get my butt in gear and likewise until I was tired of writing it. I decided I’d shut up mostly until my butt actually was back in gear where the working out was just feeling like a normal part of my daily routine. I know I’ve gotten there when I pack my gym bag right before I go to bed, and realize I haven’t used my bathtub at home all week because I’ve been soaking in the hot tub at the gym and showering there.
I’m still wishing I could find some good waterproof earphones so I can listen to audiobooks or music as I swim. Then again, I’ve always found that I had to tweak technique when I did that, so maybe it’s just as well to concentrate on what I’m doing when I’m working out. Though it’d take a crowbar to get my iPod away from me when I am lifting. Dream Theater’s Learning to Live at the squat rack is a holy, deeply spiritual experience1.
Tomorrow, it’s lifting. I’m still sore as hell from Tuesday’s session, but I really want to get in at least two full body workouts this week. Next week, it’s gonna be three, and my muscles are just gonna have to stop whining. Thank God swimming is a good recovery workout.
I’ll be glad when my strength comes back, too.
1Not a joke. Music and physical activity is a direct contact with the Numinous. I’m sure it’s why I love to dance so.