Last night I read with interest a post at Bitch PhD's in which she asks around for software to help save her from what she aptly calls her "online lifestyle," namely (I gather) email and the internets. If you are reading this, you can probably know what Dr. B's talking about.
Even before the web got interesting, distractions were an obstacle for those with faraway deadlines. I remember my friend Ted in grad school marched into the TA offices one day, slammed two "Civilization" floppy disks on our friend Andy's desk and said "Keep these until I'm done with my dissertation." Andy, devoted friend that he is, locked them away. I also recall a fellow Spencer Foundation dissertator describing how she sought treatment for videogame addiction, and how her two sons were always whining because they could never play their shoot-em-up games. This is serious business!
At Dr. B's, there were some enthusiastic 'homegrown' suggestions like "shut off your router!" and "download parental control software!" And one of the reasons all these intrigued me was because I blew all day Sunday on the old laptop circuiting through my blogroll and newslinks and poking into others' but made nary a dent on my queue blog (a private blog where I keep my running list of things I promised others; the desktop doesn't cut it anymore, folks).
I had set aside the weekend expressly to read stuff for other people, and on Friday I finished one response, so I think I felt a little proud of myself and didn't do anything else for the entire weekend, except read the Sunday paper and noodle around online. And since I'm still waiting for my new timer to arrive so I can try the lifehack Jenny discovered, I figured I could go even more homegrown than the commenters over at Dr. B's. Homegrown and oldschool, that is. This morning, I did not check email until I finished a reader's report for a journal. Even turned off my cell phone. As many of you know, these reports can take hours. And I couldn't go entirely without online access, because I had to be online both to read the manuscript and to submit my report. But: no blogs. No news sites. No google. No weather.com: forecast of misery. Just this journal's manuscript clearinghouse site.
I got in such a groove that I moved directly to reading a cool article-in-progress for a grad student (kind of a pre-pre-reader's report). A quick lunch break followed by yet another reader's report for another journal, and then I checked email and went to the gym. Results? I didn't miss a thing online, and my queue blog is chock full of strikethroughs.
Take that, ya tubes!