Don't Let Your Computer Make You Stupid

Ever get writers block staring at a blank screen, waiting for that epiphany to happen?

Yeah, me too. It's like the rays from the monitor penetrate your skull and short-circuit your synapses. Or maybe it's something about looking at that rectangular shape. Maybe the human mind responds better to circles or octagons, or something other than square-ish.

I don't know, but it happens to me all the time. As soon as I finish whatever I had in mind when I sat down, my brain just stops functioning.

Sure, the random thought pops in once in a while, but generally it's just something I'd rather avoid. It's quickly replaced with something else I can get lost in. Some other time waster.

So how do you remain focused? How do you cope with that demon creature sitting on your desk whose sole purpose is to suck the very life out of you?

Simple. Turn it off.

Make a List

Yes, a list. A To-Do list. A list of things you want to do when you sit down in front of the beast. Don't even sit down unless you have that list in hand.

It really doesn't matter how you make your list, but make one. It should itemize each task you'd like to complete AND how much time you're allotted. That'll give you direction and a sense of urgency.

And be specific. Don't just say you're going to write an article in an hour. What is the article about? Do you have an outline, or at least a general direction for the article? If you don't you'll just wind up sitting there again, basking in those rays.

Get a Book

A notebook to write down your article ideas is really helpful. It can even turn into a source when you're making your list. Maybe even have two books. One for your list and another for ideas.

On each page, write down an idea. Use the rest of the page to expand on things like headlines, subheads, and maybe even a rough outline. Whatever you want to do. The point is that once your butt hits that chair, you're already rolling. The rays can't penetrate as long as you remain on task.

Keep it handy while you're writing, too. There's nothing better for generating ideas for articles than writing articles. Write them down so you can refer back later and remain focused now.

Get a Life

Once your time runs out or you complete your task, whichever comes first, push away from the screen. You've reached your exposure limit. It's time to move on.

Go do some of those other things in life you've either been avoiding, or just really like doing. If you didn't finish what you started, you've already got something to put on your next list.

You'll be amazed at how many things come to mind while you're not staring directly into that artificial photon stream.

Just remember, as long as you have focus and determination, the rays can't penetrate. Once you lose that focus, move on. Don't let your computer turn you mind to mush. Get more done. Have more fun in life.