We got nuthin’ for today’s money post. We have a lot of half-finished posts but no energy. Work and family life are getting in the way for both of us this semester. This post is about a product to help you put work and family life first, if those are your priorities.
Anyhow, one side of the “spend less than you earn” equation is earning more. In our field keeping your job depends on productivity, and in these lean times, getting a raise is often tied to how attractive you are to outside organizations. If I want a raise, I need an outside offer (presumably one I’d be willing to take). (#2 has no hope of a raise, outside offer or no: my school won’t match, and there hasn’t been money for merit raises in over a decade. It’s a good thing I’m filling all my time with my partner, instead. And, you know, getting tenure.)
Regularly updating a blog when one is supposed to be doing research/class prepping/writing etc. is not conducive to staying productive. Maybe small amounts of internet surfing can increase productivity, especially in regular break-times, but in general, feeding a blog keeps work from getting done. So does reading CNN or whatever your internet habit of choice is.
If you have an addictive personality, these habits can be hard to break. You need a commitment device.
Enter: Leechblock. This is a Mozilla add-in. I wanted something that would allow me to set the times for working and the times for playing. I wanted to be able to say: No spending 3 hours on the internet in the morning– I don’t *want* to get up at 5am, I want to not be allowed to play on the blog at that time. I want to work between 9-12, play from 12-1, and work again except for a 15 minute break the rest of the afternoon. Then free-time after work.
Leechblock allows that. It also allows you to be cut off from a site after a set amount of time… no more than 15 min or 30 min etc.
I spent a lot of time the first few days getting the same blocked screen. Then instead of spending 15 min to an hour pleasantly diverted from the task I was avoiding, I would spend about a minute and then I’d go back to doing something productive, maybe not the same thing, but something off my to-do list. That makes me happier about my work-life, but also leads to a much shorter queue in the blog. (We may have to stop daily updates one of these days, which I understand is part of the amateur blog cycle.)
Of course, nothing interesting ever happens on the internet when I’m not there (obviously the only interesting stuff is reactions to things I’ve said(!)), or other people have made the points I was going to make so there’s no point in repeating. So my evenings have been less full of internet and more full of family as well (filling them with work, so far not happening). And we’ve been going to bed earlier (though a lot of that is having to get up for classes earlier than in previous semesters).
Do you have problems wasting time when you’re supposed to be working or enjoying life? What kinds of things do you do to keep on track?
[Disclaimer: leechblock is a free program and they don't know we exist. We don't do paid product placement.]