Angry Birds, I can’t quit you. Ever since my evil assistant Trevor introduced us a week and a half ago, you have confounded me, enticed me and made me addicted to your charms. Angry Birds, I can’t quit you.
Yes, Angry Birds, the pointless and insipid iPhone app game. Thanks to Angry Birds, I’ve become the Charlie Sheen of my own couch. Playing the game no matter what else is going on around me. In a week and a half, my family has left me, my bank accounts are empty and I wander around my house, robe open in my underwear, staring at my iPhone screen, drooling and muttering insults at the stupid little red bird who can’t blow anything up and bounces off everything without inflicting any damage! On the plus side, I received an encouraging email from Lindsay Lohan in which she offered to be my sponsor, provided I show the tiniest bit of evidence that I want to recover. I have hit bottom and started to dig.
Ah, Angry Birds, my current diversion. I’ve had millions of them. They’ve ranged from incessant practicing of musical instruments to sitting for too long in front of the tube, watching CSI Boise and following the ever fascinating online updates of Charlie and Lindsey as they circle the drain.
I’m talking about the things that keep us from doing the work we need to be doing. Of course, doing the things we like are easy. We gravitate towards these things and tend to do them first. When we’re done with them, we look for any reason we can to keep from doing the things that provide foundation to the dreams we are trying to build. Sound familiar?
I can’t remember where, but I heard something recently about productivity. When asked about his long successful career, an older entrepreneur said “whenever I find myself in a lull at work, I ask myself this question: is this the most productive thing I could be doing right now. I ask this question constantly throughout my day.”
Not as easy for a freelancer of course. When you’re not working and trying to GET work, you also have the rhythm of home to deal with. When you’re sitting in the car waiting to pick up the kids from school, no, it’s probably not the most productive work thing you could be doing. But, if you’re waiting with an iPhone in your hand playing FREAKIN ANGRY BIRDS, stop and send an email to a business contact. If you’re sitting at your computer, resist the urge to do the online NY Times crossword puzzle and do some technical research your craft or find some useful ways to network.
It’s great that we live in a time when there is so much right at our fingertips. Information is everywhere and it’s all fighting for our attention. Leisure is everywhere and it’s all fighting for our attention. I’m not saying never relax. You have to let your mind have some downtime. But, be disciplined and reserve time to work on your career. During that work time keep asking yourself: is this the most productive thing I could be doing right now?
That said, it’s been an hour since I wrote that last line. I had to go to the bathroom, then my neighbor down the road called and said my dogs were loose. I retrieved them, fixed the gate that they compromised, (those damn dogs have more escapes than the cast of Hogan’s Heros) considered taking a shower and finally decided to finish writing instead. So, yes I get it. Being at home trying to work is distracting. At least I haven’t picked up my iPhone and succumbed to the calling of ANGRY BIRDS.
I suggest you might try this: Tape to your computer the question: ‘is this the most productive thing I could be doing right now?’ I mean, what could it hurt? At the very least you might develop a new working habit. As for me, if I can finish this blog post before either Charlie or Lindsey get in trouble again it will be a miracle. Bill Maher said it best the other night, and I have to paraphrase because I couldn’t find it on You Tube yet, though I did look at 20 other things: “Charlie Sheen and Lindsay Lohan, you know you’re a mess when a train wreck stops to look at you! ba dum dum.
Go try to be productive. As for me, I’ve got level 2 to get past and I better not see that friggin little red bird again.