My name is Robert, and I’m
addicted to stupid shit. This addiction has turned me into a very unproductive
person, a lackluster friend, and a generally maladjusted dimwit with dwindling
reserves of both creativity and common sense. I need to break this addiction to
stupid shit and relearn the ability to focus, concentrate, and pay attention to
one task for long, unbroken periods of time.
One stupid thing I’m
addicted to is Facebook. I don’t start my day intending to let Facebook
sidetrack me, but it always does. I’ll scroll down and read every post that’s
been put up since the last time I looked—which is typically right before I go
to sleep. I’ll comment on a few, I’ll “like” a few others, and then I’ll
invariably start clicking on any links I see. This is ironic, because although
I don’t give a flying fuck about any of this shit, I don’t think I’ve missed
anything any of my “friends” has posted in several years.
I’m also addicted to Gmail.
I’ve read scores of articles on productivity over the years, and one common
theme that’s always addressed is the idea of checking email on a set
schedule—at the top of the hour, or a set number of times each day. At a
minimum, I check mine every two minutes. All day, every day, whenever I’m home.
I’m not kidding.
In fact, I’m tempted to
check it right now. My plan here is to finish this post without any
interruptions, and I’ve blocked off a period of time during which I intend to
do just that. In all probability, I have at least two new emails sitting in my
inbox—along with a handful of text messages and missed calls on my phone (don’t
get me started on my instant messaging problem)—and it’s killing me that I
haven’t checked any of this in at least ten minutes. My internal alarm is
fucking screaming at the moment.
This happens when I read,
too. I’m a fast reader, and I can usually plow through a 300 page book in two
or three nights. Over the past few years, I’ve become completely incapable of
reading more than ten pages or so before I’m compelled to pick up my phone and
start fucking around with it.
It needs to stop. I need
discipline of the sort that’s only going to be formed by forcing myself to cut
the shit. This isn’t a luxury. It’s not a skill I’m looking to cultivate just
for the hell of it. My inability to focus is hurting me professionally, it’s
not doing me any favors personally, and it’s the primary reason why I’ve been
so unproductive on this site and everywhere else, writing-wise.
BREAK: I was just
interrupted by my fucking landline. See?
To combat this shit, I’m putting
myself on a program. Starting today, I’m going dark with Facebook, and I’ll
only be checking my email at the top of every hour. I’ll force myself to avoid
abusing both of these things, and I’m going to devote more of my time both to
actual work—and to getting my writing skills back (provided I ever had any in
the first place).
I’ll let you know how this