Bringing it down

For months I had all stand-up desks. My drawing/illustrating desk was stand up, mostly because it’s just easier for me to work that way, and my computing desk was elevated out of necessity. What prompted that particular need was my work – or more accurately, lack of work – at my iMac.

I have Attention Deficit, as you likely already know, and sitting down with the world at my fingertips was far to tempting. I would sit at my computing desk for hours, dicking around on eBay, Amazon, random websites, art supply sites, and lose hours to the sprawling distractions before me. Work wouldn’t get done. Embarrassment and shame filled me, yet I was helpless to stop myself. It’s a bit like an addiction- an addiction to distraction. I had to break it, so I made it unpleasant to be in front of my computer by requiring physical effort to be there. I raised my desk to the same height as my drawing desk and it worked. I suddenly noticed every passing minute of computer time. Standing to type, browse, or update sites became more of a chore. It became work again. I surfed far less. I got more done in shorter timeframes. It seemed a flawless plan… but then I stopped working too.

You’ve perhaps noticed that my blog posts have been infrequent at best over the past year. For most of that time I’ve endured a torn shoulder muscle, heavy depression, and the broken habit of being able to type comfortably at length when the mood did strike. I stopped updating this website, my work website, and relied on my iPhone for nearly all other communications. This was great for breaking my habit of website hopping for hours, but shit for continuing to do the things that matter. It is an incredible pain in the ass to retouch photos at a stand-up desk. The backlog I have for posting art to my portfolio/sales site is appalling. But change is afoot…

I have a big project I’m doing with a local author, and – provided she has not given up on my sorry, unproductive ass yet – I’m illustrating her book. I’ve decided to do it digitally with Corel Painter as it’s the most versatile tool for the job. I bought a new Wacom tablet this week and today I have returned my desk to a full-time seated workstation. This scares me and yet I know it’s necessary to do the work. I don’t want to waste all that time again on the web. I broke that habit and I hope it doesn’t return. I have painted far more this year than ever before and I know a huge reason for that is my lack of sitting down in front of this humming box of temptation. Strength and courage will keep me clean and web-sober. I may also use a timer or Pomodoro again to keep me aware of passing time. I cannot go back to the insecure time-waster I was. I want better things for myself and those around me through my productivity.

2 thoughts on “Bringing it down”

  1. I think most everyone has this problem to some extent “on the job” and it’s worse being self employed sometimes. Perhaps using and older computer without wireless internet connection just for your work to resist temptation to go online. I am thinking of doing something like this with a little laptop. I have the same habit and it involves not paying bills and filing taxes and through the years I’ve paid fines for my procrastination. I am getting better but I still fritter away key hours when I really should be taking care of business or getting my tush out of the house! Love the set up, sounds like a great project in the works!

  2. Thank you, Julie. I have, alas, already dicked around on the internet more than I should today, but it’s been a day of distractions in general (most, out of the office). Fortunately, I’ve got time on my side and the afternoon isn’t over. I’ll be working into the evening, but that’s normal for me.

    My friend Pete has gone so far as to write in access controls for his work hours in the past, as in- from this time to this time I block sites x, y, z. He had some success with that. It’s a bit extreme, but perhaps just turning off my wifi for awhile will do the trick. Of course, if I did that, I couldn’t respond to you right now. 😉

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