Distractions Begone

I admit it, I have a terrible addiction to the Internet. I don’t read as much as I want to, and I waste precious hours on the most pointless things. I am positive I would have so many little projects done if I added up the hours wasted.

Computer isn’t the only thing. I also have bad habits of snacking, going to bed late and sleeping in, and getting lost in thought. The lost in thought thing isn’t so bad, until it keeps me from getting work done. I realize I’m not alone in these habits. They’re extremely common; many people can agree with me.

Now, I haven’t gotten to any perfect position with the habits, but I’ve used a few tactics that have helped in the past, and even made a lasting change on me.

  1. I hide my laptop. When I’ve had quite enough with the Internet, I stick it deep in my closet. Just having it out of my sight does a drastic effect, because 90% of the time I reach for it only because I’m bored.
  2. Keep a journal. The lost-in-thought moments can be a productive thing, especially if you’re a writer. Use those random thoughts in your ideas later.
  3. Boredom invokes hunger, at least for me. I keep many separate writing projects so that if I get stuck on one thing I can easily slide over to another.
  4. I have many random little projects on hand so that I have something to do when I can’t think of anything to do, particularly crafting projects. Or I’ll pull out a binder or folder and do some spontaneous organizing.
  5. Some kind of physical activity can chase away boredom and hunger. I’ll dance or play something on the wii (a game that requires using the wii as it’s supposed to be used: standing up and moving).
  6. If I need to do some reading, I’ll pull a book I really loved and reread my favorite parts. Most of the time, that gets me into the zone and I’ll return to my current book. Often times it just takes a few minutes and suddenly I’ll want to keep going.
  7. To wake up early, I started at a certain hour and worked my way up. First I worked at being awake by 9, and the motivation was knowing the rewards that early mornings provide: quiet house, some alone time, beautiful morning air and sun, extra hours (the idea of having everything done by 11 was highly motivating). Then I worked at waking up at 8. I got my body so used to it that I haven’t slept past at least 9:30 in the past few months. I am currently working on a 7 o’clock hour, but my late bedtimes are interfering with that.
  8. It’s, of course, the computer that keeps me up. One should designate an hour when it’s time to shut down technology. I try at a 8 p.m. shut down (course, I’m not always successful, but that’s what practicing is). After that, I can really only read, write, or go to bed. Which all three are better than wasting precious sleep on the Internet.

Above all, don’t be ashamed or frustrated if you’re trying to break a habit and you’re not exactly where you want to be. That will only influence quiting. Habits can take years to break, but if you remain aware of them and intent on changing them, then you’re making progress, and any kind of progress is always better than standstills.

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