Project Wean-Back-Into-Working: Part 1 – The Problem

an obvious problem

Random Observation/Comment #230: Since I’ve been “out of action” for so long, will there be a rough transition back to following rules and getting things done?  Compared to the amount of work I did at Cooper, I’m doing negative work.  No more juggling 8 projects, studying for exams, and looking for free time to sleep.  Now it’s more about writing, taking pictures, improving in hobbies, maintaining health, and lucid dreaming.  What a tough life, right?

The key to finding a workable solution is to analyze the roots and causes of the main problem.  When dealing with optimization, it’s mostly looking at the main factors that cause procrastination.  First, let’s see how I normally waste time online and what I can cut down on:

  • Overflowing tabs of interest – this is the condition where you read an article and open a “related article” in a new tab.  It takes about 2 minutes to open all these tabs and about 3 hours to read through them.  Sometimes the topic is just too hard to resist when doing the research on the hobbies that I love, like traveling, photography, shopping electronics, new technology, new social networks, ping pong, and random science-y things.  However, there’s only a problem when the tabbing gets out of hand.  Normally, my curiosity keeps me learning new things with every new article therefore I’m not completely concerned. It’s a time spender, but not a time waster when I get so much out of it.  Fix: Keep up the curiosity, but reduce the related articles, or just learn to read faster.
  • Facebook addiction – I have no idea why I’m so interested in what other people are doing, but I am.  Now that there’s a live feed, I think I could just wait for people to tell me what they’re doing and almost not do anything myself.  But seriously, they’re mostly unnecessary posts.  Fix: Facebook lists to focus on a few photo albums and certain friends that are keen on saying something interesting and clever.  Plus, use facebook lite to see notifications more easily.
  • Hulu addiction – Primetime TV is awesome.  I can’t help but keep up with the shows I’ve grown to love, but there needs to be a limit or a way to combine more activities.  I’ve already included a workout routine around sitting on my ass and watching Hulu shows.  It’s not very effective.  Fix: Stop it. Regulate best shows or just stop all together.  It’s not even like I enjoy talking about these series.
  • TED talks TED might just be the best thing ever.  It’s basically Youtube for smart people.  It’s filled with brilliant and inspiring presentations and I one day wish to present my own TED talk of some sort.  It’s not always the talks that take the most time though – I like to read the commentary and follow their efforts through their blogs and websites if their interesting.  From here forward, it’s basically the overflow tabs problem.  Fix: Limit the number of talks to watch.
  • Random funny stuff – This includes lamebook, fml, overheardinnewyork, textsfromlastnight, and thisiswhyyou’refat.  I only read these when I want to laugh on the inside.  Fix: Try not to start the addictive snowball.
  • Online comics sinfest , amazingsuperpowers, xkcd, and 8bit theater are among my favorites. It doesn’t take a lot of time to open all of them at once since I can just open all tabs in folder when I’m in the mood, but it also consumes time. Fix: Since I’ve been reading these comics religiously and they already feed into my reader, I think I’ll be fine.
  • Online shopping – I must admit that I love looking at the best deals online.  Whether it’s from Slickdeals, Retailmenot, or (my new favorite) dealcatchers, it’s hard to resist knowing the approximate price of certain items compared when just seeing stuff at stores.  Fix: Once again, I must regulate.
  • Random Online Games – I rarely play games online (since there’s so much information I could be absorbing otherwise) but when it does happen, I get mesmerized by the simplest things.  Bejeweled Blitz, a few facebook applications, and online scrabble just keep me going.  Fix: Restrict to doing this only on the iPhone while doing other stuff or in transit.

Don’t they say admitting you have a problem is the hardest part? Well, I know I’m an addicted to the internet and I know the ways to regulate it, but it’s just too damn easy to get distracted.  I think this will be the biggest factor to how much work I get done (5 minutes of work with 55 minutes of relaxing isn’t a good balance).

The second big thing is to practice actually doing work for long periods of time and then completing the work with the skills a competent employee should possess.  The next entry will discuss the second part: Clemens V2.0.

~See Lemons Fix Online Addictions

PS – sorry for linking you to the totally awesome websites that have consumed my internet time. Hopefully it will not do the same for you. Stay Strong!