Why Don't You Do Something Other Than Sit at Your Computer?

By Sean Ogle •  Updated: 04/12/12 •  4 min read

I should probably have been climbing this rock behind me…

I have a confession to make: I’m addicted to my computer.

When I’m away from it for too long, something just doesn’t feel right.  On any given day I may spend 8 to 10 hours sitting in front of this damn thing.

Now, if I was getting 8-10 hours of solid work in, that could actually be a pretty great thing for an entrepreneur.  The problem?

I’m not.

If I were to answer honestly, I’d say probably 50% of my time on my computer is actually productive work.  You know, creating things or doing activities that directly relate to the bottom line.

The rest of the time? Oh, what’s mom up to on Facebook? I need some interesting things to tweet about, let’s spend 2 hours cruising the web to find some good stuff.  These You Tube videos are hilarious. 

I spend way too much unfocused time in front of my computer, and you know why? Because I can. We all can.  It’s really easy to trick ourselves into thinking we’re being productive.  Oh, I did 15 minutes of work, time to take a little break.  Before you know it that break turns into an hour and it’s difficult to get back into work mode.

It’s so easy to do, and I bet if you were to ask yourself honestly, you’d agree that a portion, if not the majority of your time at your computer is unproductive.

So let me ask you a question.  What if you were to take those 4 hours a day where you’re not being productive and do something away from your computer?  I often as myself questions like what if I spent 4 hours a day practicing my golf swing? Or learning piano? Or volunteering for those in need?

How much more enjoyable and fulfilled would my life be – and how many others could benefit in the process?

I’ve learned something.  The more time I spend in front of my computer, the less I get done.

If I know I have exactly three hours to get a blog post out or prepare something for a client, I get it done. If I have all day to do the same amount of work, I get it done as well – it just takes me three times as long.

So what if we tried an experiment.  What if for a week, you spent half your day doing something you really enjoy.  Schedule it in to your day, consolidate any meetings into your work period, and get away from your computer.

I’m willing to bet you’ll end up more productive, happier, and more motivated to make things happen.

When you spend 10 hours a day at a computer but only a fraction of that time is productive, it’s really easy to get depressed and down on yourself.  You want to work and be focused but you just can’t do it.  It’s human nature these days.  With so many shiny objects to distract you, only the absolute most disciplined people can get around it – and I know I’m not one of them.

The days where I sit in front of my computer, doing 15 minutes of work at a time, and convincing myself I’m working hard are the worst. There are times when I find it physically impossible to work.  That lack of control makes me question my abilities as an entrepreneur, can lead to a lot of doubt about the trajectory of my business, and can suck the energy and momentum out of a business  really quickly.

However, when I schedule time into my day to get away from my computer and do things I enjoy? Amazing things happen. I’m more creative, more motivated, and more excited about what I’m doing.

This is one of the main reasons I always try and choose play over work, because I know if I do so, I’ll still get big obligations done.

So quit kidding yourself.  You’re not as productive as you tell yourself you are. You also aren’t doing as many things you could (or should) be doing that you enjoy.  So why don’t you start?  Schedule your working hours around the time you’re most productive and take the time you would be sitting at your computer and go do something else.

Come back in a week and let me know how you did, I’m willing to bet you’re even more productive than you thought you’d be.

Sean Ogle

Sean Ogle is the Founder of Location Rebel where he has spent the last 12+ years teaching people how to build online businesses that give them the freedom to do more of the things they like to do in life. When he's not in the coffee shops of Portland, or the beaches of Bali, he's probably sneaking into some other high-class establishment where he most certainly doesn't belong.
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