Thursday, April 9, 2009

Wasting my time

I'm an avoider. When faced with what I perceive to be a potentially unpleasant or overly taxing (yes, obvious play on words there) task, I turn to pretty much any and everything else to distract myself from what I should really be doing. Don't worry, I always get my stuff done - sometimes I could just do it a little more efficiently, that's all. I actually do better work under a little bit of pressure - solid deadlines, those speak to me. The "oh, whenever you have a chance to get to it" guideline pretty much ensures that it's going to the bottom of this week's to-do list, only to be pushed to next week's to-do list (and possibly the next week as well) until I self-impose a deadline.

My work schedule has definitely gone through some adjustments in the past couple months. There are certainly a few things that pop up every now and then with some sense of urgency, but I'm not nearly as deadline-driven as I used to be. This is a little dangerous, because it affords me the opportunity to just...put things off. Hence the aforementioned self-imposed deadlines. Otherwise I could come frightfully close to accomplishing absolutely nothing. Besides, when I put things on a list and keep track of them, I get such great satisfaction from checking them off. I even have a "box" system that I'll add next to certain items once they've already earned one checkmark but may have generated a follow-up item....oh, I should really stop with this. Now I'm just scaring you, or maybe you're knowingly shaking your head at me.

Anyway, here are some of my favorite "wasting time" activities at work, most of which are easily and discreetly accomplished with a strategically-placed browser window that can be easily minimized:
  1. Having recently met the author and enjoyed the book that resulted from the blog, I'm currently working my way through Orangette from start to finish. And when I'm all caught up here, you can bet I'm moving on to Smitten Kitchen and doing the same thing.
  2. Playing with this blog. I come up with random ideas for posts and start typing them in...and yes, a decent chunk of this appeared between approximately 4:53 and 5:11 today when I just couldn't take it anymore.
  3. Constantly checking Serious Eats for the latest updates.
  4. Online shopping. In a quest for fiscal responsibility (says the girl who's leaving for Europe in 29 days, but you have to live a little, right?), I've lately taken to adding items to my Amazon wish list rather than actually purchasing them. Plus I have no room in my small-ish DC kitchen for a food processor or Le Creuset cookware.
  5. Finding cool things to do in DC. This involves perusing DCist and Washingtonian as well as assorted blogs, including DC365 and Penn Quarter Living. Plus whatever Google might turn up.
  6. I probably check the weather forecast three times a day. Why? I have no idea. Other than the fact that I now sit remotely close to a window and can actually perceive weather changes as well as the position of the sun.
  7. Daily checks of credit card and bank account activity. This, of course, is to ensure the safety of my credit score and therefore totally justified.
  8. Browse recipes. From everything to the boozy cupcakes that might show up in "my bakery" (pretend that's me throwing air quotes around that wishful phrase) to what I could throw together for dinner that night (that risotto is really tasty, by the me, click that "throw together for dinner" link). Favorite places for this include many of the aforementioned websites. I sure do think about food a lot.

I should probably stop numbering a list of all the things I do during the work day when I should actually be working. Of course, all of this time-wasting results in my having to put in a little extra time at work to accomplish the real work things I actually need to do. Imagine if I actually worked all day! I could reclaim some evening time! Hmmm, although I tend to waste a lot of that time, too - avoiding laundry and dishes by watching DVR'd (can I use that as a verb?) episodes of truly thought-provoking programs like...Wings....and...Tyler's Ultimate. I highly value my leisure time, but maybe I should be doing more productive things with my time...delicate balance.

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