Outsmarting Myself.

This is the term I use to describe what is better described as “getting around my own laziness.”

I mentioned recently the incredible difficulty I’ve had in staying focused on more important things and not losing hours and hours to Facebook and forums. If I had an ounce of self-control I should be able to do this without help.  And I can.

But dammit, it feels like work then.

I’ve faced this problem in other ways as well.  I want to exercise and stay healthy, yet every time I try to get in an exercise routine it falls apart in a matter of weeks.  So when I moved to Ottawa for university, I was thrilled to find a place that was five miles away from the school.

Why? Well, I’m a cheap bastard for one thing.  It was a basement apartment and in crap condition, but it was the cheapest I could find.  But more importantly, it meant I had to bike to class and back every single day.  What’s that? Take the bus?  I did mention I’m cheap, right?

This is what I mean about outsmarting myself. Creating situations where I have to do something I know I should be doing, and the pain in the ass factor for taking the easy route (financial or otherwise) keeps me from cutting corners.  So for three years I was biking ten miles a day in Ottawa, even in the winter.

Same thing happened in Japan. I biked to Berlitz and back most of the time so I didn’t have to spend money on the subway.  And in England when I worked at the bookshop. It was a good system.

Unfortunately, all that changed back in Vancouver.  My first job here was the bookstore my apartment was sitting behind.  And now I’m working from home, which is literally the shortest commute humanly possible.

So my weight has taken a bit of a hit because I don’t have that same imperative to keep going day in and day out. But that’s another challenge for another day. Today the problem is productivity and the internet.

I managed to get around this with a website blocker, something a number of people suggested.  The problem for me was that I had tried this before, and found it insanely easy to circumvent–and as you know the procrastinator is king of coming up with reasons to cheat, just a little, just this once… etc.

StayFocused, however, has a bunch of features in it which prevent easy cheating. In fact, if I even want to change the settings on it, I have to type out a 1000 letter paragraph and not get a single keystroke wrong, or else it forces me to start from the beginning… and it can tell if you copy/pasted. They even allow you to block the browser extension site so you can’t simply uninstall it.

Damn, these guys don’t miss a trick.

I’ve only just started using it, but I definitely recommend having a look if you use Google Chrome exclusively like I do and are looking for a means to curb your distraction sites while keeping the important ones active.

My one problem with the app is that for some of my online work I have created a number of “Supervised” accounts, which are basically secondary accounts which open with all the necessary tabs for that project at the ready, already signed in with that business’s passwords as needed.  A real timesaver. If it was on my primary account I’d have to log out of each and re-log in with the new account names and passwords each time.

Supervised accounts, however, don’t allow for the installation of extensions, it seems. At least, I haven’t found a way.

My solution has been to move my social media projects to a separate computer that I don’t use most of the time and set up the tabs there. It’s a minor inconvenience, but it should work well enough.

Fingers crossed.

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