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Tuesday, November 01, 2005

Getting back to work.

This is a fantastic post on procrastination. (I always feel funny reading procrastination articles online.) Well worth a read. My notes are posted below.

"If you work hard all year, what can you look forward to? Your vacation. Procrastination is like taking that vacation right now. If you can't take a vacation at the end of a year of hard work, you might as well take it now because there is no reward for finishing your work.

...If I work 9 to 5, I don't work when I get home, yet much of my day at work is wasted too. Why? Because there is no reward for completing the work. If I complete the work, I'm still at my job, so what incentive do I have?

Well, what would Nanny 911 do? She would take away everything you use to procrastinate, and not give it back until you finished your work. No exceptions, because an exception is a random reinforcer.

...

Studies have shown that the average office worker does only 1.5 hours of actual work per day. The rest of the time is spent socializing, taking coffee breaks, eating, engaging in non-business communication, shuffling papers, and doing lots of other non-work tasks. The average full-time office worker doesn't even start doing real work until 11:00 am and begins to wind down around 3:30 pm.

...

One major behavior that triggers a work interruption is "going online." The Internet is a vast repository of Time Wasters, and if you're like me, the activity that signals that I'm about to lose focus is opening the web browser. So I created a simple web page with the words "Get Back to Work" in big, bold letters on top and set it as my homepage.

In fact, I went one step further and decided to make this page a productivity tool. I type in what my next goal is, and a time I want it completed by. Then I can click one of three buttons:

I completed this task on time
I did not finish this task on time
I didn't do any work
And the web page keeps a running tally (using cookies) of items I finished on time, items that took longer than the allotted time, and times I didn't do any work and just goofed off.


[ Get back to work!]

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