I have had issues working on the tasks that I need to work on for as long as I can remember. The issue isn’t a lack of focus, but more of an impairment of my ability to change my focus from whatever I’m doing at the moment to what I need to be doing. There are two ways I usually get around this: if I can get hyped for whatever task I need to get done, I can usually sustain a reasonable amount of effort working on it. Otherwise, I drink enough coffee to laser in on what I need to get done. However, there are lots of times when that isn’t enough, especially for frustrating tasks (like writing a parser!) And so I need a little boost.
I’ve been reading about the impact of exercise on mood and productivity, and I’ve decided to replace the infinite stream of blog posts and Wikipedia articles that I seem to find when I’m distracted with running. When I feel myself slipping from the task at hand, I’m going to go outside and run until I can’t anymore. I’m also going to have one scheduled run a day, which I will do in the morning right after check-ins.
I’m going to keep track of the running breaks with Emacs. I’ll note how many breaks I take a day, the task I was supposed to be working on when I took the break, how long I ran, and my mood (1-10 on the completely objective bad-good scale :P) before and after the run. I don’t know how to measure how productive I am, so I’m going to use my mood as a proxy. If anyone has measured their productivity in a way that works, I’d like to hear about it.
I’m also going to start eating away from my laptop and stay hydrated throughout the day by always having a container of water near me. These will confound the data for my running thing, but I’m more interested in increasing my focus and productivity than running a completely legitimate experiment :P
Also, smileys are punctuation :) See? New sentence :D