I bet almost everybody reading this could double their levels of computer productivity and pleasure without increasing the time they spend using their computer if they use the tricks listed below.
Trick 1. Keyboard and Keyboard shortcuts
Keyboarding and keyboard shortcuts are not just for quicker navigation: they change your relationship to computer work. Using the keyboard keeps your hands off the mouse. The mouse can be a big culprit behind procrastination, perfectionism, spending too much money online, and undisciplined, excessive time spent on the computer. And more bad stuff. Including diabetes, MPB and low testosterone. In short, once you get used to a new keyboard shortcut, you never go back. Once you get used to tons of new keyboard shortcuts, your life will change. Start keyboarding and keyboard shortcutting, you’ll free up more time to build muscle. Read this page for more info.
Trick 2. Turn ON and Turn OFF your computer throughout the day
I noticed when I turned ON and turned OFF my computer between sets of tasks, rather than allowing it to be powered on forever (and act as some sort of dark whirlpool to spin into and out of throughout the day), I was getting more done and enjoying my time on the computer more. I tried to use the computer the same way we would use something like a dishwasher: we don’t leave the dishwasher running all day and throw dishes into it as they come, instead we collect batches of dishes and turn on the dishwasher only when we have a full batch. Wait for a batch of actions to accumulate before powering on the computer to dispatch them. So you are either mindfully working or mindfully not working, instead of mindlessly surfing and google imaging celebrities.
Trick 3. Prepare for computer work
Before I even turn on my computer, I straighten up my work area. Then I play with some grippers and some rubber bands I bought from Ironmind. I stretch and move my fingers and massage my forearms. It feels good and warms me up for typing. While doing this, I think of the things I need to do when I turn on the computer and write them down on a sheet of paper. So I’m warmed up for typing and have an idea WHY I’m turning on my computer before I turn it on.
After I do my things I turn off the computer. (see trick #2 above) Buying a cheap gripper from a sporting good’s store and getting a few rubber bands they use to bundle produce items would be perfect for freshening up your hands before computer work.
Even if you don’t want to warmup and prepare like I do, try this: just PAUSE after your computer fully boots before you touch the keyboard or mouse. Look at your desktop wallpaper, with your hands in your lap, and breathe in, breathe out, and just PAUSE for 20 seconds. This helps you clarify WHY you’re using your computer, which is important to know before you sit down at it.
Trick 4. Sit at the computer
It’s counter-intuitive, but sitting at a computer will reduce the amount of time you have to sit at one. If you’re already a sitter, sit up. Correct your sitting posture. I see most people’s attempts at avoiding sitting at a computer as a prolongation of the problem itself. I can get a hundred times as much work accomplished in half the time sitting upright at a desk than this woman can with her laptop on her bed.
Then again she’s not doing work she’s browsing pinterest. I also recommend avoiding the temptation of fancy standing desk setups too, unless you have the option to convert it back into a sitting desk they’re absurd. And so are recumbent biking and treadmill computing weirdness.
I guarantee these people are not getting anything done at all. Is this a recreational activity then? If it is I don’t understand it. I can shave my face while I’m driving, it doesn’t mean I should do it. Anyway, if you’re tempted toward any of these oddities, consider spending your money instead on a good chair so you can sit and get work done fast enough before your butt starts hurting, then you can get away from the computer altogether. Besides, when was the last time you saw a buff person or a competitive triathlete using one of these standing, walking, cycling setups? You don’t. Why not? Because their activity levels are so sky high that sitting is a welcomed form of rest. Go to the gym twice a day: sitting at a computer in between your sessions feels REALLY GOOD!
Trick 5. Print out your documents for proofing
This has become one of my favorite tricks recently. I got tired of spending time editing my writings on digital devices, so I printed one of my writings out and took it away from the computer. I was amazed by the amount of things I was “catching” and “fixing” in my writings when I was proofing a printed copy instead of proofing on the screen. So now, when I’m nearly finished with a document, I print it out on paper and do final proofing. At first, I was intuitively taking these documents and lounging with them, but I’ve discovered it’s much more effective to proof them at your desk where you use your computer.
Print it. Turn off the computer or just your monitor. Get up for 5 minutes. Come back. Proof your printed document while sitting at your desk. I don’t think you can get any more effective than this when you need to finish a writing.
Trick 6. Get a life.
First, stop playing computer games. Or play in moderation. Using the tips on this page can only make you better at those games anyway (warmup your hands, sit down, use keyboard shortcuts, take breaks.)
Then start tricking if you haven’t already (why else would you be on this website?). Go get a gym membership (or two), lift weights, get a part time job that doesn’t involve computer work, get in a relationship, go somewhere with a friend, cook a meal in advance you usually wouldn’t. If you don’t have something or someone pulling you away from your computer then the tricks on this page will not be valuable to you. Just understand that new activities and new responsibilities that draw you away from your computer, will demand that your new limitation on the time you spend at your computer is very, very efficient. Then the tips you find on this page will finally have value and make sense if they already don’t. And you will understand why I wrote this.