I have a serious inertia problem. Getting started is a bitch. Switching tasks is worse.
Yes, I know, concentration is hard for everyone. All the same, those who know me IRL will attest to my epic difficulties settling AND my amazing ability to barnacle once I’ve landed.
A high inertia score does have its upside. I have been known to forget meals and forego sleep entirely while immersed in a Big Doing. I can be nigh-impossible to pry loose from a task once settled. The trick these days is avoiding the perils of the internet.
I do not blame the internet for my inertia, no. Back in the day, I could channel-surf for hours. I could waste hours reading the newspaper. I would clean things. But unlike those old-school distractions, online bread & circuses ars ubiquitous and inescapable. It’s not only on my computer, it’s on my phone. My reading tablet. It tempts from all sides, at all hours, and willpower is a finite resource.
The nasty reality is that I either lose creative time to social media and my various online obsessions, or I can forfeit creative energy to the effort of ignoring those temptations.
Or I could enlist the aid of artificial intelligence in my fight to focus. That’s the route I’ve taken. I now have an internet-blocking program to fight the good fight for me.
I forked over ducats for the Freedom app. (Green butterfly logo.) It has a simple interface, seamless cross-device compatibility, and it was the most customizable program I found. See, I need certain kinds of internet access for many aspects of my creative work, from use of the online thesaurus to historical fact-checking etc, but I need to be prevented from channel-surfing my way through other sites.
Why that app? There are pro’s and cons to all the internet blockers. Better bloggers than me have written excellent comparisons. I will not attempt to top them. A search on “reviews of apps to cut down on distractions” or “internet blocking app review” will net a fine selection. I did a lot of research. (Yes, I saw the irony in spending time online researching ways to spend less time online…but it had to be done.)
The Freedom app’s best aspect for me is the ability to schedule by day, time and device — I do not even have to will myself to turn on the distraction-remover. It happens automatically. And if I need-need-need to override it, I can do so on the phone or tablet easily. But mostly I don’t.
I do not regret the hours I spend diving down figurative internet rabbit holes after odd facts & critical resources, and I am infinitely improved by time spent with the generous amazing folk who have befriended me in the virtual world.
But. Oh, BUT.
The online party never ends, and I can’t stay 24/7/365. I have reading to do, I have plants to water, I have a cat to brush…
I have stories to write. And now I have more time and more energy for them.