Wasted Days and Wasted Nights

Tell us your tried and true techniques for focusing when that deadline looms and you need to get work done. In other words, how do you avoid wasted days and wasted nights?

When I was in college, being the English major that I was, most of the work I had to do included plenty of reading, rereading, flipping through pages, skimming, highlighting, and just plain old starring. And that was just the first part of the assignment. I still had to write the paper about what I may or may not have actually understood or even absorbed. And to do so meant more rereading, page flipping and plenty of skimming just to get something down on the page.

If I liked the book we were reading, which I usually did, then the first part wasn’t that hard to do and once I did that, the second part came easier. But there were always those moments when even the thought of a good book was overshadowed by thoughts of a comfy couch and the possibility of food and Netflix.

And although I wouldn’t  call a lazy, food and Netflix filled night, wasted, it was still a night where I wasn’t working on what I was supposed to be doing. On those days, I would close my door, sit at my desk, grab all of my materials and stare at the computer.

And then, once I came out of my reverie, I would listen to the little devil on my shoulder that said: “Now isn’t a particularly good time to write this paper” and the little Angle that said: “Now is the only time”.

With the reward of food, Netflix and weight lifting off my shoulders when I finally opened that door, the Angel usually won out. I just had to take the time to listen.


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