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I have nothing to do. I'm currently unemployed and I have absolutely nothing to do. I'm trying to study, and I just can't. I sit in front of the computer around 9:30am and I only pick the first book at 11:30am.

MY GOD! Does anyone have a bit of Zen lying around to help me focus on this?

Cheese eating surrender monkey
Tuesday, June 8, 2004

Think of the future you want, not the past you already have.

Steve Jones (UK)
Tuesday, June 8, 2004

Make up a software project for yourself. Then read the books that contain the information you need to implement this project.

I find much more motivation to read if I know afterwards the information will be useful.

Tuesday, June 8, 2004

Sometimes I can't concentrate on developing software, usually when I get very little sleep or my head hurts. Of course, these problems should be cured by sleeping, but sometimes there are deadlines, etc.

When I can't concentrate on developing software, I take a small paper notebook with me and a pen.

I write down the next small step I have to take. If I feel like it, I also write down the next 1-2 steps.

So, I always have on paper 1 to 3 "next small steps" which I have to do.

Whenever I finish the steps on paper, I strike through the finished steps and I write down another 1-3 steps, so I always have at least one "next step" on paper.

I know this seems strange, but it helps me A LOT when I can't concentrate.

Whenever I lose focus, I can regain focus effortlessly because I just read from paper what I have to do. I don't have to remember - I have the next small step written on paper.

Tuesday, June 8, 2004

Christopher Wells
Tuesday, June 8, 2004

Write up a plan of where you want to be in a few years time. Then read

Rhys Keepence
Tuesday, June 8, 2004

Go out and get some exercise.

Tony Edgecombe
Tuesday, June 8, 2004

Just to clear things up a bit...

I'm not sleepy nor am I on a schedule.
I simply cannot motivate myself to do something positive with my empty days. Am I going to watch home renovation programs all day, or am I going to study for my Java Architect Certification? Every time I think about starting something more "compelling" grabs my attention, like posting things on this forum or reading

Cheese eating surrender monkey
Tuesday, June 8, 2004

Get a part time job mowing grass or something.  It'll get you out of the house and get you in motion which will make it much easier to accomplish other things.

Tuesday, June 8, 2004

Hey, we all have those days from time to time...

Greg Hurlman
Tuesday, June 8, 2004

Get a CRAPPY, low paying, mindless  job, no better motivation to better yourself in the world!.

Tuesday, June 8, 2004

How about volunteer opportunities. You're in the unique position to volunteer during the day or over night (e.g. a shelter) right now, when normally you'd be at work. Why not make someone else's life a little better?

Do you belong to a church? If so, undoubtedly they have something you can do.

Plus, you meet a totally different crowd of people. It may just change your life.

Lauren B.
Tuesday, June 8, 2004

Cancel your broadband connection.  Cancel cable TV if you have it.  Put your TV in the attic.

Quit f*ing whining and be a man.

Tuesday, June 8, 2004

Did you take my previous advice? About the crystal-meth? Seriously, everybody is doing it!

anon-y-mous cow-ard
Tuesday, June 8, 2004

Don't wait to *feel like* doing anything.

Tomorrow, resolve to get up at a particular time and then do it.

Forbid yourself to do anything else, unless you can't get away with it. Like writing out your rent check, for example. *Forbid* yourself.

The next day, resolve to get up at a particular time and work out for an hour. Forbid yourself to do anything else.

Keep adding things to do. But don't wait to be "motivated" or you'll wait forever.

Fernanda Stickpot
Tuesday, June 8, 2004

What do you WANT to do?

You never mentioned that in your post.

If you don't WANT to study, you will find distractions

the artist formerly known as prince
Tuesday, June 8, 2004


Ged Byrne
Tuesday, June 8, 2004

Oops, caps lock on,hit enter too soon.  All thumbs today.

Yes, Physical Exercise.  You need to get the blood pumping and the adrenalin flowing.

I've discovered this for myself just recently.  I had serious motivation problems but since I started working out it has made an incredible difference at the keyboard.

At 9:30 go for a run, or a bike ride, or something that will get you out of breath.  When your back you'll get twice as much work done.

Ged Byrne
Tuesday, June 8, 2004

"Something that will get you out of breath."

I do that every weekend, sometimes twice, but still I'm not very productive :-(

muppet from electric-chipmunk
Tuesday, June 8, 2004

I also recommend exercise.  Join a gym.  Whenever you have a day where you don't feel like doing anything go to the gym.

Tuesday, June 8, 2004

This may be juvenile, but I find that I'm most motivated when the task is something I've previously thought impossible.  Telling me I can't do something I've been considering is a surefire way to get me started.

Therefore, when I'm in a rut, I try to do something a little outside my comfort zone.  When I was last unemployed, I happened to be a VB developer.  I hunted down a temporary 3-month job doing Java/JSP work because I had gotten into a rut of thinking "I can only get a job doing the same thing I've been doing.  I don't have experience in anything else, so I can't try anything new."

Tuesday, June 8, 2004

prozac or exercise
If you want volunteer work, I've got just the thing, plus you get the feelgood from that (but I can't get dfown to it either)

bah humbug
Tuesday, June 8, 2004

Screw studying, go surf until you can't feel your toes.

Jack of all
Wednesday, June 9, 2004

Pull out your internet connection for a day. You'll find you keep going to visit this or that forum, or reading some news site and remembering that you can't. Eventually you'll settle for doing something constructive because you have nothing else to do.

If you want to resist the temptation to plug it back in, give the DSL modem (or whatever you use) to your housemate with strict instructions to hide it and not to give it back to you until say, 7pm.

Nathan Ridley
Wednesday, June 9, 2004

As someone who has sat in front of a computer for hours at a time without managing any productivity, let me first say that I feel your pain.

Second, let me add that I haven't found an easy answer.  I've tried exercise, cutting off internet, uninstalling all games, adding (among other timewasters) '' to the HOSTS file on my machine.  I've tried using an egg timer to track my time for me.

None of it worked fully.  None of it.

The only answer I have is that you will have to WORK your way out of this.  You will have to make the mental effort to JUST DO IT! like Nike says.  I had no idea what the Nike slogan meant until I got it recently.  JUST DO IT.  Taking away distractions doesn't get the problem at its root, only suppresses some of the side-effects.

The only thing that has made any difference is for me to just sit down, load up whatever I'm supposed to be doing, and JUST DO IT.  I wrote forty pages of awful documentation at work recently.  I swear no one will read it, but I wrote it anyway.  I just sat down and fired up Word.  It was difficult.  I don't know how to explain why it's difficult to do something that is just SO EASY, but it is.  I caught myself, all the time, wanting to fire up Internet Explorer and just ... it didn't matter what.  Do something else.  (Oh, I moved the accessibility of MSIE to a sub-sub-sub-folder on the Start menu, to avoid this very thing--this didn't help either)  But I didn't.  I would force myself to go back and keep working.  Was it painful?  Yes.  It sucked.

Did I get the job done?  Yes.  I wasn't 100% productive (or 100% of normal productivity), but I got it done.  And you know what?  It sucked, the entire way through.  I'm not here to tell you it gets easier.  I haven't hit that point yet, if it exists.  But at some point you're going to be doing something you don't want to be doing.  This is called WORK, and EVERYONE has to do it, so adjust your mindset accordingly.  Sit down, do the WORK, and cry about it later.  Try as you can to remain focused.  It's what I did.

lazier than thou
Wednesday, June 9, 2004

jack off til you get callouses and shoot blood

then go get a f*ckin job

Wednesday, June 9, 2004

Good reading..

Several more really good articles about productivity and programming here

now, I just _have_ to finish that paper..

Thursday, June 10, 2004

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