The computer is on the desk today, because I work better there.
The computer is on the desk today, because I work better there.

This blog post is being uploaded later than normal for me. I woke up at an alright time, but then I thought I should probably watch the news with breakfast, and then I got to giggling at this stuff.

This kind of behaviour isn’t isolated to Monday mornings. And not just Mondays, and not just mornings. This is how I work most of the time.

Twitter. Facebook. Anything with push notifications. I’d be fine leaving these things in the background on my computer, but as soon as a push notification comes through to my phone and I am alerted by the god forsaken whistling alert that something has happened, I have to track it down. Instead of getting up and checking my phone, I check every network individually via my computer.

Lunch break. Snack break. Get up and fold the washing break. Cross-stitching break. Coffee? Coffee? Coffee? PUT DOWN THE SPOON DO NOT MAKE ANOTHER COFFEE!

Writing is necessarily something done (primarily) alone, with nobody else holding you accountable for your actions. If, like me, self-control isn’t your strong point, then work days are 80% something that isn’t writing work. The working day is a minefield of distractions, and a large and essential part of working well has to do with knowing how you operate. For many of us, this involves thwarting our distraction-hungry side.

Blocking programs can help. Pomodoros can help. Changing locations often helps me - comfy chair equals faffing about; desk equals more words. Planning your day can sometimes work: I like to look at how much time I’ve got in the day for writing-work, and I divide it in half. I spend half reading, and half writing. Somehow this helps me focus. Technically, there’s exactly the same potential for time-wasting, but it doesn’t happen as much.

The key seems to be knowing what helps your work, and what hinders it. For the next three Mondays of December, we’ll be hearing from Sydney-based PhD candidate Bridget Lutherborrow, who attempts to figure out what helps and what hinders, and shares the things she finds along the way.  

What helps you work? What’s your biggest time-waster? Weigh in on the forums.


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