July 27, 2003

Procrasitnate on /. yields some hilarious insights.

Category: Humor — Biella @ 6:14 pm

So today there was a honest-to-god plea on slashdot asking for help to overcome the great problem of our century–> procrastination. I have been quite cozy to the “procrasitnator” lately which I think has most to do with my life as “errand woman” right now. I hate errands so it kinda saps the soul and biellaness from me being that I have to do all my mom’s errands as well as mine.

But anyway, I sat down and read some of the comments on /. about this great ill because I thought it would be fascinating to see what hackers and computer folks had to say about this. Given the fact that a) hackers have to spend an inordinate amount of time hunched over the computer b) they hate to do what they don’t want to do, I wanted to hear their solutions. Many were sincere and passionate. I recommend reading them. But just in case you don’t want to slog through them all, I present to you the strangest yet most endearing one that recommends a command line environment in the nude . Below is the comment for your convenience:

” Underwear and the Command Line (Score:5, Insightful)
by Snafoo (38566) on Sunday July 27, @01:00PM (#6545023) I’ve been diagnosed with ADD and I have two suggestions for dealing with procrastination and focusing problems. Note that I don’t to either of these much anymore, as I’m medicated, but they worked well enough at the time.

Suggestion #1:

I have a little theory to the effect that, for a certain percentage of the population, GUIs have made focusing a lot more difficult: Sure, your taskbar, icons, buttons and menus make it easier to switch rapidly between many different tasks and contexts, but they also _make_it_easier_to_switch_between_many_different_t asks_and_contexts_. One minute you’re studying faithfully — at your mental office, so to speak — and the next, you’re in your mental rec room, playing FreeCiv; or in your mental coffee shop, chatting on /. And, Oh God, the futzing that one can do with a GUI! Desktop icon arrangement. Wallpaper. Themepacks, for heaven’s sake. It’s a temple of distraction in here.

So here’s what I recommend: Ditch it. Ditch the GUI. Install Linux, if you haven’t already, and configure /etc/inittab to boot to initlevel 4. Learn to love vi or nano or emacs: They work great for comp sci projects, and if you have an essay or a paper to write, do it in vi first, import it to word_processor_of_your_choice (for formatting) only when you’re about to print it.

If you can’t ditch the GUI for whatever reason (i.e. you need a proprietary Windoze app, or you can’t bear to install Linux) then I recommend setting up a new account (linux) or user profile (‘doze) that will only allow you to run only those applications which you need to get the job done. If that doesn’t work, you should seriously consider getting yourself a (second-hand?) laptop upon which you will place only work-related programs — preferably, one without WiFi or some other way of exposing it to the Lethean floodwaters of the ‘net.

Suggestion #2. This next one is a little weird, but it works well for me. Note that it might work less well if you don’t have any roomates, as it depends greatly on your desire to avoid embarrassment. It also requires that you have an extra room in your house.

Make yourself a home office in a well-heated room, and keep only work-related things in it. When you go to study, take in all the food, caffeine, and books that you’ll need for a stint of about five hours. Set an alarm clock to go off in five hours. Now, close the door, and take off your pants. Yes, you heard me, take off your pants. If necessary, take off your shirt as well. Put them in a plastic bag, and tie the bag shut. Put the bag away (the further away the better.). This way, you can’t leave the room suddenly without raising eyebrows: If, say, you have a sudden impulse to jump up and watch TV, or phone a friend, it’ll take you a good five minutes to dress, which should be plenty to reconsider and sit back down.

After a couple of months of this, you get in the habit of staying in the room until the alarm sounds, you don’t have to take off your pants anymore.

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