Man, I love computers. Always have. But it’s terribly easy, if you don’t approach one with discipline, to putter around. Do I work on getting GitLab set up as a private code repository on my server? Do I work on migrating my blog to Jekyll? Let’s read about that… oh look, the night’s over and I haven’t actually accomplished anything, just spun my wheels.
It’s another form of the Tuco’s Law for your life I mentioned before: when it’s time to act, act, don’t think. That’s not just about feeling bad about yourself, it’s also about doing your thinking beforehand, so when you sit down at the keyboard you can just get things done.
Being deliberate about it, I am in planning mode now / Okay, now I am in doing mode, makes a big difference. I need to remember that before I sit at the keyboard, though, because once every digital possibility is at my fingertips, I get swept away.
A million years ago, I was in a classroom and we were learning how to use computers. We were maybe less than ten years old, maybe a little more, but point is I was even more likely to get distracted then than I am now. And the teacher knew it, too, he knew his audience: he wanted us to stay focused on the task at hand in whatever program we were using, and I remember his choice of words because they were odd. He warned us not to “be hypnotized” by the computer. I remember resenting that exhortation, and the implied accusation that I couldn’t stay on-task, that this treasure chest of glittering possibilities, in all their 8-bit VGA glory, was too tempting to resist.
But, goddamn the man, he was right. Still is.