Distractions

I’m easily distracted, and the development of multi-tasking operating systems hasn’t helped.  I think my most productive writing was on an Amstrad PC 1512 with a dodgy copy of Wordstar installed.  Ctrl-K O.

Where was I?

I’ve been given a task by my supervisor following our reunion on Skype on Wednesday.  Not major, not rewrite the whole thesis (yet), but wanted me to write a separate paper explaining a tricky area that he wasn’t absolutely convinced I understood.  No problem.  I went back to my original books and articles and started looking again at ontogeny and structural couplings and demonstrating that it is indeed part of complexity theory (still with me?).

I see reference I’d missed and not followed up.  It’s by Stewart and Cohen, my favourite double act of authors who have written some ‘Science of Discworld’ books with Terry Pratchett.  £8.99 as a Kindle e-book, but worth a punt if it gets me past this writer’s block of understanding complexity theory.  I am about to hit the buy button when I have a great idea.

Why don’t I dedicate my old Kindle to my academic reading, leaving my new(ish) paperwhite Kindle for ‘fun’ reading?  Ah, but my old Kindle has lots of books on there, and it would be a pain to delete each one individually, why not simply go for a factory reset and re-regsiter, clean slate and all that.

That was about 10 hours ago.  I’ve not spent all my time faffing with the Kindle, but enough for me to feel that I have been ‘distracted’ by what should have been a five minute job.  800 words, and about 10 per cent through the book (reading it on my iPad and new Kindle), plus some other papers found to support my idea… but still a dead Kindle.

Distractions come from many sources, some generated from within, some are welcome, some are not (see today).  The key is recognising them and doing something about them.  Tomorrow I’m going to compensate for today’s distractions by writing up a section that should be word-heavy, but thinking-light (relatively).  I need this at the moment.

But for now I’m going to step AFK, and enjoy a well-deserved cuppa.  And maybe just one look again at this doorstop that my old Kindle has become.

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One comment

  1. Steve Wright

    As someone who spent some of Thursday, yesterday daytime and then this evening changing file associations in Atlas.ti so I can view the videos of the process of writing on the forms rather than merely listening to the audio I can empathise entirely with taking a lot of time to do something that felt sort-of-important but ends up taking an age and leaving you wondering if that time was well spent at all.

    And for my next trick – oooh there’s a little bit of audio I missed in transcribing sounds important guess I should transcribe that now and then code it and WAIT wasn’t I supposed to be writing???

    When distraction masquerades as productivity or progress it is at its most insidious!

    Good luck…

    Steve

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