Use barriers to your advantage

I use to read iwillteachyoutoberich, as he had some useful tidbits, and I, like many twenty-somethings, usually worry about personal finances…But anyway, the one piece that I really like that I gleamed from him was his take on barriers.

I think the source of 95%+ of barriers to success is…ourselves. It’s not our lack of resources (money, education, etc). It’s not our competition. It’s usually just what’s in our own heads. Barriers are more than just excuses–they’re the things that make us not get anything done. And not only do we allow them to exist around us, we encourage them. There are active barriers and passive barriers, but the result is still the same: We don’t achieve what we want to.

He had another post where he turned it around and said that you can make barriers work to your advantage as well, not just in avoiding kooks, but in increasing your productivity.

Since I do web dev, the browser’s up all the time, and it’s really easy just to hit ctrl-t http://www.facebook.com. And then before you know it, a whole half hour’s been wasted. It’s even worse with proggit or hacker news. A couple days ago, there was a tip on 4 lines to increase your productivity (can’t find it now) on reddit, and it was just lines in a /etc/hosts file. It reminded me of barriers, so I decided to try it out.

I set up my /etc/hosts file:


127.0.0.1 www.facebook.com
127.0.0.1 news.ycombinator.com
127.0.0.1 news.octoparts.com
127.0.0.1 programming.reddit.com

# if I'm really having problems concentrating:
127.0.0.1 www.gmail.com
127.0.0.1 mail.yahoo.com

And lo and behold, it actually worked. Just the extra step of having to type in a command and a password is enough to deter me from not working. I do still hit ctrl-t once in a while, but then I’m reminded that it’s fruitless, and I might as well get back to work. My friend Ian closes everything but a max windowed emacs as his productivity trick.

Anyone got any others they fool themselves with to get crackin’?

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2 thoughts on “Use barriers to your advantage

  1. I started doing this a few days back (in my case, blocking reddit and google reader) and was pleasantly surprised that it worked. Pleasant because it worked despite the fact that it would’ve been so easy to undo.

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