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Productivity in the Age of Facebook - Live Like a Mensch
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Live Like a Mensch

Productivity in the Age of Facebook

It may look like this guy is hard at work, but he's actually sending handwritten Facebook posts to all his friends about how he just found a bit of egg in his beard from yesterday's breakfast, LOL

 

I am coming down to the wire in writing my retirement book. After amending my deadline three times, my editor has told me that I need to get the manuscript completed by August 16, or they will send a big man named Spike to come sit on me.

Admittedly, some of my snail-like pace is due to my research needs. Even though I have a good general knowledge of many of the topics I'm covering in this book, I am finding that I need to do a great deal more in-depth research for everything, not to mention track down tiny little nuggets of information that are simply not Google-able.

Some of my slow progress has to do with this being the Summer of the Afternoon Nap, for which I can blame Thing 2. I had forgotten how exhausting it can be to play hostess for nine months. Granted, babies do not wear out their welcome in three days like houseguests and fish, but there does get to be a point wherein you need to take a break from your hostess duties, and I have been enjoying quite a few more than 40 winks during my normal writing time.

But the real culprit in my slow pace has been the Internet.

Well, I guess that's unfair. It's not the Internet's fault that I'm surfing it, checking Facebook, reading every article friends link to, and otherwise wasting my time. Theoretically, I should have the self control necessary to ignore the siren's song that is All the Things on the Internet EVAR. After all, I sit down to the computer to write, not to read about the subversive nature of the film Dirty Dancing or give myself blood pressure spikes by reading through the comments on Washington Post articles.

And yet, I would regularly find myself stopping my writing for a quick Google search, and emerge an hour later from the black hole that is the information superhighway, wondering what the heck I was thinking.

So, when my editor started threatening me with Spike, J suggested I download one of those apps that won't let you fall into the Internet's black hole.

So, the Self Control App was duly installed on our computer, and I came up with the top ten offending websites for throwing a monkey wrench in my productivity. (Facebook was #1, of course). J suggested that I also install said app on the iPad, the laptop, and my iPod, so that it would be impossible for me to find out exactly what my Facebook friends had eaten for breakfast. I said I'd try it just on our desktop computer first, and go from there if I found I that I became a junkie raiding the other electronic devices for my Facebook fix.

You know what I've discovered? I'm apparently the laziest human being in Indiana. While that does not put me in the running for laziest worldwide (I'd need to live in a place like Los Angeles county for that), it was still quite the eye-opener.

You see, after installing the Self Control App, each work day I would find myself stopping for a moment, thinking that I needed a break. I'd want to log onto Facebook, but knowing I couldn't, I'd briefly consider going to get one of the other electronic devices. Then, my lazy self would say, "Eh, I don't want to get up. I might as well get back to work."

Clearly, there is something wrong with me.

If I weren't such a devotee of the theories of Behavioral Economics, this would really concern me. But the something wrong with me is what's wrong with all of us. We all take the path of least resistance. It is so much easier to work when slacking off would require effort on our part. We all need to trick ourselves into productivity, particularly in the age of Facebook.

I've noticed through the years that the most productive people I know don't necessarily have better willpower. They just have more useful tricks for forcing themselves to do work. They're the ones who put their keys in the refrigerator to make sure they don't forget their lunch. They're the ones who take their laptop onto the subway to ride for a couple of hours so they can work without an internet connection. They're the ones who set timers on their television sets so they turn off after a certain amount of time.

It's so weird that our species has to do all these things just to make sure we do the things we actually want to accomplish. You'd think our brains would be better developed than that.

That being said, I'm a huge convert to the cult of the Self Control App. I actually have a chance of not getting the big man named Spike sent to my house because of it. So, tell me what other self control tricks, tips, apps, and weirdnesses you all do in order to keep yourself on the straight and narrow. 

I'm not just asking for me. I'm also trying my darnedest not to get sat on by Spike. For humanity.

Comments

 

frugal_fun said:

Good luck with getting finished. :)

I have a bad Internet habit, too. I'm working on it and may try that Self Control App (it seems I've tried most of them, so another won't hurt. :) )

Anyway, I'm glad the app is working.

August 6, 2013 6:39 PM
 

haverwench said:

Unfortunately, one of my biggest time-wasters when I'm supposed to be working is getting a call from my mom. What am I supposed to do--hang up on her? Though I guess I could start screening my calls...I keep forgetting that we actually have caller ID now.

August 6, 2013 9:45 PM

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