The briefing.

So, here I am posting again, after 2 long months.

Feels good to be back at the WordPress editor window.

If you’re reading this now (and if you’re not new), you may have noticed a slight blog redesign. T’was carried out this week in order to improve the stuff I care about THE most. Readability and Textual content. 

Just made a few tweaks here and there. Plus, updated the blog with a fresh typeface, that lucky font being Ubuntu’s default system one. It’s actually quite neat and easy on the eyes.

K, enough about the blog. Time for my narcissistic self to take charge.

Me.

I was finally done with my finals last week and early finals means just one thing: I got a shit-load of time.

See that’s both a good thing and a bad thing.

Good thing is, I got loads of free time to do anything I want.

Bad thing is, I got loads of free time to do anything I want.

Let me elaborate on the “Bad thing”. The Instant Gratification Monkey part of my brain has massive issues with managing the flow of time. My time is just one vortex away from being funnelled out from me. So it’s rather important that I have a super-strict schedule to guide me through this. Unplanned block of time, for me at least, would be a…

Things I’ll be focusing on…

I’m almost done crafting a semi-big article on one of my most personal topics, The Social Media. Will probably publish it this weekend-ish.

I also have come up with a few new, exciting ones. Most of them stem from random synaptic bursts. Also, some historically significant ones.

I plan to write these articles after talking to *actual* people who have gone through the experience. Really, I have personally observed this.

Researching on the Internet and quoting the appropriate sources is one thing, but field blogging is just taking it to another level. Really excited about that.

Also, there will be a guest post written by someone soon. It will either be a standalone guest-post or will have my commentary packaged along with that of the guest author. I’m sure you will love it.

Final thoughts

Though I might not have been regular, I certainly think I have a strong love for writing. Topic fragmentation is certainly an issue, as some of my own friends have mentioned sometimes, but niche is just not my thing.

Also, it’s incredibly enriching to be able to connect the dots through your vast data store of knowledge. The world just makes so much more sense.

 

Stay tuned…

 

Oh, and if you’re wondering, the feature image is not mine. It’s actually from a royalty free photo project called Unsplash!. Those guys actually have a trove of high-quality, royalty free images with which you can do anything imaginable. It’s opensource and under CC Zero license, which means you basically own the image. You don’t even have to credit the creator. Great resource for small time blogs/websites. Check it out! :)

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It’s time.

So, I open my browser. Hit up reddit. Fuck around there for a while. And while scrolling, I find a post about Time. The perspective of time.

That got me thinking. Time. It’s something we all have in equal amounts, mathematically at least. 24 hours. One complete rotation of Planet Earth. The one which we currently inhabit.

You feel me?

Last time I posted on this blog was on June 5th, 2016. 106 days have passed since that post. Almost 1/3 of a year. That’s a long time. But it feels like it was just yesterday.

It’s all in the perception, they say.

Time is one of humanity’s greatest fallacy. People say there is always a tomorrow. When I say people, I’m also included. There’s always a tomorrow. We can always get it done someday. Right?

But, what most people don’t realize (and certainly I did not), this habituation of telling to to oneself that there is always a tomorrow creates a neural loop in the brain that fuels the fallacy even more.

As the time goes on, this neural loop only gets stronger and stronger until one loses perspective.

You may feel things look familiar. In fact, they are. That habitual loop is called procrastination. It’s one of Humanity’s greatest curses. The Internet, as useful as it may be, is a massive bottomless pit for the wandering minds.

Procrastination, contrary to most beliefs, is not binary. It’s not like, “This guy procrastinates” and “This guy doesn’t procrastinate”. It’s more of a spectrum.

Reality is, everyone does. Even Elon Musk. The person I admire and so do millions.

Tim Urban of WaitButWhy beautifully explained procrastination and it’s ties to our evolutionary history in his post, way back in 2013. I read that post a week after it was out and at that time I was in my 12th grade. I then had eureka moment of finally cracking the Procrastination puzzle. I thought I had the answer, I thought reading Tim’s post would be the final nail in my procrastination coffin.

As it turns out. There is a difference, a MASSIVE difference in knowing something and deliberately acting on it.

The bottomline is. We all have aspirations. We all have dreams. We all want to advance, grow, develop, *more adjectives*, but our evolutionary circuits make it super hard. Advertising only works to break our resistance and give into temptation.

Signed up for diet plan? Here’s a big fucking billboard, OMG OMG McDonald’s happy hour is on, can’t miss it!

Anyway, the point of the post is not to educate you. In fact, I haven’t even structured the post in such a way. This is more sort of a rant. A rant about Time, Procrastination and Evolution. As brief as it may be, it certainly helped my synapses to offload some cognitive stress.

With that said, there’s more.

Updated my blog’s theme to match my shift in perspective. Less visual, more text.

Internet today is all about grabbing eyeballs. As much as you can, just hold reader’s attention until he clicks on that Ad. Most blog posts (especially sites like BuzzFeed/similar shitty sites) are 90% unrelated pictures/gifs/ads and 10% content (you should be very lucky to find even that).

My inspiration came from one of my favorite blog of all time. Zen habits.

It’s an incredible blog. Clean as fuck. 100% content. Nothing else. It’s the true definition of WYSIWYG.

That’s about it for now.

And, I am not going to make any posting promises.

Abhishek. :3

The Productivity Paradox

The Productivity Paradox!

I remember the times when I was a young student, in 2nd grade I think when people used to debate about whether the newly upcoming Smartboards would radicalize education and would transform the way students learn.

A similar excitement buzzed through our own household when we got our first computer with an internet connection. I thought my grades would skyrocket now given the fact that I have a massive store of information and valuable data right at my fingertips. I have never been more wrong. My grades in fact DROPPED after Internet came to our home and my focus DRIFTED from my academics onto other things the Internet offered.

And I know many of us have experienced this. Why does is our productivity remaining stagnant(even dropping) when the computational capacity of PCs have been increasing and the prices of chips have been falling down over the course of past two decades?

That forms the basis of the Productivity Paradox. According to Stanford, Productivity Paradox is “the peculiar observation made in business process analysis that, as more investment is made in information technology, worker productivity may go down instead of up. This observation has been firmly supported with empirical evidence from the 1970s to the early 1990s. This is highly counterintuitive. Before investment in IT became widespread, the expected return on investment in terms of productivity was 3-4%. This average rate developed from the mechanization/automation of the farm and factory sectors. With IT though, the normal return on investment was only 1% from the 1970s to the early 1990s. ”

More research into this topic across many MNCs and other global companies revealed the fact that workers tended to procrastinate more than they used to get the job done. With increasing computing power and increasing internet speeds, it became easier and easier to access sites that are a distraction from the actual work. According to the popular academic blogger Matt Might, “The transaction cost to from productivity to procrastination has become close to zero”. It only takes a few second to jump from a doc file that you’re working on, onto reddit, with just a few bunch of clicks.

So, how is this information useful for me?

So you ask.

As I mentioned, it’s got everything to do with how easy it has become to get lost into the dopamine jackpot that is the Internet these days. You’ve got 24×7 entertainment Web2.0 sites like YouTube, HULU, Netflix and social sites like Facebook, Twitter and you name it. Don’t get me started on Gaming now.

So, it’s SUPER EASY to switch from doing something productive to get into any one of the above procrastination hell hole. You need to realize that.

To counter this problem, you need to make it harder for your brain to switch from the thing you’re working  on to procrastinating. You need to gradually increase the transaction cost for the switch. You can do that by using website/app blockers like ColdTurkey for Windows, SelfControl for Mac, StayFocusd for Chrome and LeechBlock for Firefox.

And, to give further strengthen this, have a WORK ONLY computer, preferably with the internet disabled for all the offline tasks. Don’t install stuff like Steam, Netflix on this computer. Use this for getting work done.

If buying a new computer seems like an expensive option, what you can do is create an Administrator account and ask someone else to set a complex password (and tell them to remember it/write it down.). You create a limited account for all of your work related stuff and tell the one with admin account to disable the internet etc. according to your needs.

Ultimately, you need to realize that you’re only cheating yourself if you try to bypass all of the blockers that YOU have set for YOURSELF. Because I used to take bypassing the above blockers *as a challenge* (yeah, I was really stupid) myself earlier. Don’t do that.

That’s about it.

The Internet is a necessary evil. You can’t live without it but it’s also super easy to get lost online. Be mindful of your browsing.

And, even I’m not perfect. I’ve done all of the above stuff that I’ve mentioned but I’m still susceptible to relapse. Maintaining your focus is a continuous battle and it’s always on YOU.

New post next week. Until then.

Sources

  1. http://matt.might.net/articles/cripple-your-technology/
  2. http://cs.stanford.edu/people/eroberts/cs181/projects/productivity-paradox/background.html
  3. http://ccs.mit.edu/papers/CCSWP130/ccswp130.html