Monday, August 25, 2008

    Your unproductivity zone.

    What is the unproductivity zone?

    Your unproductivity zone is a name for all the things you do JUST to avoid doing something else. Once you enter it, you get stuck for hours. You may not really enjoy what you are doing, but it is just so easy to stay there! You are not really excited about anything at the moment, you procrastinate what you have to do, and even if you have no obligations, you just waste your time in your unproductivity zone because you don't know what else to do. You resort to it when you don't know what else to do as if you where conditioned for it.

    Everybody has their own unproductivity zone. Mine is, as many people's, the Internet. The routine goes as follows: Get on the computer. Check mail. Check favorite web pages. Check blogs/forums. Don't know what to check anymore, you reach your unproductivity zone. So re-read mail. Re-check the same web pages in case you missed something. Click on links you did not click the first time. Start reading all the comments in blogs (which can be many). Answer them. Oh, you found some interesting video on some page. Click it to see the comments on the video on Youtube. Check related videos. You just received a new email. Since some time passed, you can recheck blogs/newspapers for updates. See if someone answered to your comments on the blogs...etc.Hours and hours pass.

    Did you enjoy it? No. You where just sitting there, waiting for any kind of stimulus the Internet would give to your lazy brain. The more time you spend in the unproductivity zone the harder it gets to do something else. In fact, you will feel more and more passive, bored, inactive, unsatisfied all the time.

    The problem with the unproductivity zone is that at first, the activity may not be useless. For instance, it is not useless to check your mail. But to check your mail you have to get on the computer, and after your productive work is finished, you keep sitting in front of it.

    What do you lose?

    1. You will procrastinate the things you have to do. The more time you are in the unproductivity zone, less time you will have to do your tasks, so the idea of doing them becomes even worse. What happens then? You go back to your own little world and try to forget about how "stressful" your life is.
    2. You won't do the things you want to do because you don't even remember you wanted to do them. Maybe you want to learn to play the guitar, write a letter to an old friend, go jogging, work out, go to the library to buy this book you want, etc.
    Some tips to avoid sinking into the unproductivity zone:

    • List what you must and want to do. In a first one you just write the tasks you need to do. The a second one the things you want to do.
    • Determine your unproductivity zone. Whether it is the Internet, watching TV, playing games on the Internet, talking to your best friend. You probably already know what it is.
    • Detect when you reach the unproductivity zone. Think about it. Realize that from that moment on you are wasting your life on something that you neither need to do, nor enjoy!
    • Nike had it right: Just do it. Step out of you unproductive activity the moment you realize you reached. You will still be fresh, at it will not be hard. Just stand up, breath slowly and deeply and forget about what you where doing. Don't think about it, don't complain. Accept it.
    • Condition yourself to hate this useless state. Think about all the things you have to do, and feel like an asshole for avoiding them. Check your list to remind you about the more enjoyable things you could be doing.
    I still sometimes fail and spend time doing nothing, avoiding reality, and feeling terrible about it. But it becomes less every time because I feel so sick about it. It just feels so much better when you know you haven't been wasting your time.

    1 comment:

    Anonymous said...

    my unproductivity zone, today, was this blog. but my problem is that i can almost always find something good in what i'm doing. but getting sick for wasting time could be useful, i agree