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Procrastination Central

I was prattling on about Multitasking and Serial working earlier on in the week. Linked to that is procrastination. Its something I can be very good at. So I’ve been trying to stop myself from procrastinating… and by doing that I’ve been procrastinating further…

As luck would have it I stumbled across this post on 43 Folders called the Procrastination hack: “(10+2)*5”. Its very simple, you force yourself to do 10 minutes work on a small task then take a 2 minute break, repeated 5 times to make up an hour. The idea is you must work for 10 minutes and then you must take your 2 minute break. Its very singled minded and surprisingly it works.

It all falls apart without a timer and in the post comments were lots of suggested apps, mostly Mac based, which is of no use to me. However one did crop up in the comments, called WorkRave. Its actually meant for people with RSI or people who want to reduce the risk of RSI. During the rest breaks as it calls them you can do various exercises, pretty cool, but not strictly related.

WorkRave is cross platform for Linux and Windows and uses GTK+ interface library so looks a bit nonstandard compared to other Windows apps, but nothing out of the ordinary. I turned off the Micro-break and Daily limit timers and just set the Rest break timer to the following (10+2)*5 settings:

WorkRaveSettings

I have to say it works great! Every 10 minutes it popups with a warning box saying its time to go for a break and it gets really annoyed if you don’t. At first you have a smiling light bulb, but if you continue to work he then looks unhappy and an orange flashing border appears, followed by a red border to really get your attention.

WorkRaveWarning1 

WorkRaveWarning2

WorkRaveWarning3

Whilst the rest break dialog is up you can’t use your computer and if you try to the countdown stops and it flashes at you. You can off just skip it if you really want to carry on. Since the focus of WorkRave is to help with RSI, you do get various exercises to do, such as this one:

WorkRaveExercise

I tried a few, but they weren’t for me.

Getting back to the procrastination hack, it does work and I’ve found that when I really get into something I tend to just skip breaks and crack on with it. Definitely worth trying if you’re a procrastinator!

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