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Your amazingly creative mind will come up with hundreds of ways to avoid stuff that’s either too boring, too challenging or just unfulfilling. Keep a constant lookout for what some of these avoidance tactics might be and start to battle against them. Yours will be different (and we’d love to hear your Time-wasting Confessions in the comments), but mine have included the following over the years:
- Tidying my house. (If I’m working from home I like to get really focussed. I’ll leave the washing up until later, let mess pile up around me and keep focussed on my work. But if you see an amazingly clean living room and kitchen, you know there’s something hugely important that I’m avoiding finishing!).
- ‘Desk faffing’. Symptoms include over-labelling things, refilling staplers and stationery drawers and so on.
- Eating – sometimes this is, of course, necessary (!) but sometimes spending two minutes eating a Wispa bar is easier than thinking about or doing your work.
- Internet research or shopping.
- Starting conversations in the office.
- Listening to podcasts under the false impression that spending half of your attention on something inspirational will move you forward. Save those for later.
- Fiddling around with some new internet tool or iPad app that needs lots of ‘setting up’ (RSS readers are a good example of this) under the mistaken impression of later time savings and payoff.
- Talking to people on internet message boards and Facebook groups about my extremely enlightened and important opinions about who Aston Villa should sign in the upcoming transfer window.
- Doing easier or more interesting work than the stuff that really needs doing right now.
These are all delay tactics. Some of them might be vaguely useful to you, others less so. Importantly though, they can also all be done with the most minimal attention and if you’re feeling on form now, these things can wait.