People who work for a living know that being efficient and productive is not always easy. It can be even harder for writers who attempt to work from home or write at home after work. It’s definitely hard to stay focused sometimes. The risk of procrastination and the temptation to make excuses is part of the writing life.
Sure, we start out with the best intentions and with specific goals in mind—edit a novel, revise an old poem—but we soon find ourselves distracted by any number of things.
Take organizing your desk, for example. It may start off as an innocent and sincere attempt to tidy up and possibly focus better, but it often leads to more interesting discoveries, such as that dental appointment postcard for, oops, last week, or a perfume sample, a clipped article, an overdue bill.
Then, resolutely, it’s back to work! At least, that is, until the coffee needs refilling, the pencil needs sharpening, the bathroom needs visiting. Then the dryer buzzes, your neighbor calls, the dogs bark, your kids wail, and the door-to-door weirdos descend.
But that’s not all. Most of us use computers for writing, researching, and corresponding with others. And since the Internet is an integral part of computer use, we are faced with yet one more terrible distraction.
With rehab clinics sprouting up all over the place for those poor souls addicted to YouTube and Facebook, it’s obvious there’s a serious problem. We can only hope that those of us who work with computers can be strong and resist the temptations. And distracting temptations there are! Such fabulous, time-wasting activities abound. We can’t resist giving you a small sample.
How To Waste Time On The Internet
There are plenty of ways to get distracted online, even aside from the usual time-wasters like obsessive e-mail checking, surfing celebrity gossip news, and trolling forums and chat groups.
You can write “articles” for Uncyclopedia.org and feel good about being “published.” Or post something unique for sale on Craigslist, like that two-foot wad of gum you’ve created by wandering Yankee Stadium. (It’s kind of fun to see who will stop by your house or call you about it, and you might even make a few bucks!)
It’s also amusing to bid for strange items on eBay, increasing your bid by increments of 50 cents at a time and hoping that someone outbids you before you become the owner of a pink flamingo bouncy house for the backyard…unless you really like pink flamingo bouncy houses.
(Of course, if it’s classified listings that you’re into, why not kill some time on our Classified Pages for writers? You’ll love our free lists of publishing leads!)
As writers you can disguise some of these distractions by calling it “higher education” or “research.”
Maybe there’s no getting away from online distractions. Maybe we should all devote an hour a day to worthless pursuits—pushing red buttons, bossing guys in chicken suits around, and laughing at pets in clothes—and just get it out of our systems so we can get down to business.
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