He settles the childless woman in her home as a happy mother of children. —Psalm 113:9

May 12, 2010

Scientific Proof That TV Is a Productivity Killer (And Yet I Watch Anyway)

A couple of weeks ago I had a spectacularly productive week that included three straight days wherein I managed to cross off every item on my To Do list. So rarely does this thing happen, and so proud was I that I tweeted about it at the end of each day, prompting friend-of-the-blog Douglas Cootey to ask via direct message:

What is your secret to checking off everything on your todo list every day this week?

I promised to answer the question in a blog post, and put that on the next day's To Do list. As you can see from the time stamp, that was almost two whole weeks ago, which shows you just how successfully I've been checking off items ever since. This is partly because we've entered that time of year when I feel cruddy 80% of the time thanks to allergies (and thanks also to the meth-heads that have made Sudafed such a PITA to get), and the resulting perpetual brain fog is making it difficult to find my focus.

But the main culprit behind procrastinating so long on this post in particular is that all of the tips and tricks that I thought must make up my productivity "secret" kind of fell apart when I realized that the only real common denominator between those three super-productive days is this: I didn't watch TV.

Well, that's not entirely true. It would be more accurate to say that I didn't watch my shows when they aired but instead waited to catch them online at a more convenient time, after all of my work was done. I don't really remember what prompted the decision, although it probably had something to do with not being able to bring myself to care whether I missed Shania Twain week on American Idol (the only show that I have to watch live if I'm going to watch it at all, since it doesn't get re-broadcast online later). That, and I'd mistakenly thought Chuck had another week of re-runs to go.

Anyway, it just worked out so that I didn't interrupt my work flow to watch TV most of that week, which resulted in a lot of productivity. This might suggest that my TV habits are coming between me and massive success, but mostly I see it as a preview of how awesomely productive my summer should be once all of my shows are on hiatus.

Nevertheless, there are a few other things I did to help get those To Do lists crossed off. I'm going to test them further to see both how ADD-proof they are and how well they stand up to the test of time. Next week I'll compile the winning tips into another post. Meanwhile, I've got lists that need conquering (and shows that need watching ;).


Stevie said...

Watching shows when I want and skipping all commercials means I save lots of time. I do have to remember to vote within the correct time frame with a few of them though. :)

J. M. Bauhaus said...

Yeah, I keep telling myself I should just watch everything on Hulu when it fits my schedule (we don't have satellite or cable and therefore no DVR). The only problem is that shows usually don't get posted online until the next day and I'm usually too impatient to wait any longer.

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