Rands in Repose zeros in on a problem I definitely have: Repetitive Information Injury. It’s the nervous habit of circling around your information feeds, pressing the lever hoping to get another pellet. I don’t know if Rands has any advice about it, I got halfway through and then had to go check my email.
He recommends admitting you have a problem, then focusing on positive forward-moving information gathering. Sounds good. I think I get into click-for-a-pellet mode when I am faced with a job I don’t want to do, or when I am stuck and want something easy. It’s the couch potato in me that scans Bloglines for something entertaining. Sometimes I feel like there are too many distractions around me, I know I will be interrupted, so I go ahead and interrupt myself before someone else gets a chance. Rather than dig into a meaty problem and face the frustration of not making progress on it, I’ll punt and click around instead.
A worse problem is when I have two tasks before me: one I want to do, and one I have to do. I’m not supposed to be working on the want-to-do, but I can’t quite get up the hill of the have-to-do. So instead I waste time surfing around. My internal taskmaster dictates that it’s ethically wrong to work on the want-to-do, but surfing doesn’t incur negative karma points. I know, it doesn’t make any sense. Maybe I feel like if I give into the want-to-do, I’ll never get back to the have-to-do. Like Rands said, the first step is admitting you have a problem.