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How to Get Distracted

Updated on July 8, 2010

Ever find yourself being a bit too productive and you just want to unconsciously waste as much time as possible while getting less and less done? You've come to the right place! Like many people, I'm an expert at getting distracted. Here's how to flush all your productive time down the toilet, in 5 easy steps:

Step 1: Check your e-mail obsessively, at least eight times per hour.
If you're in the middle of working on something important--writing that term paper, or your first novel, or something equally tedious--there's nothing like checking your e-mail fifty times to help ease your nerves. The moment you think to yourself, "What if I fail? What if my writing/drawing/design skills suck and I flunk/get fired/lose business?" the best solution to build up your confidence is an avoidance strategy that involves getting totally distracted by reading the political chain mail that your republican friend keeps sending you full of funny caricatures of President Obama.

Step 2: Watch Youtube videos about stuff you don't really care about
...And then watch even more videos about stuff you don't care about by clicking on the "related videos" in the section next to the video about stuff you don't care about that you're currently watching. Watch videos of other people's cats being given a bath, or of people hanging out somewhere you sort of wish you could be, or watch news clips about celebrities or politicians getting caught doing things that don't personally affect you and that you wouldn't care about if it wasn't for the fact that you're trying to avoid doing something more important.

Step 3: Read Wikipedia pointlessly

The key here is that you're not looking for anything specific after a certain amount of time. You start out reading an article about something that you have to "research" for the actual important project you're working on, but then you get distracted by the "see also" section that lists the related topics and you click over to another article, then get distracted and click a link to another article in that article, and so on and so forth for the rest of eternity.

So, say, you start out with the article on President Lincoln, but end up reading an article about the tentacle rape genre. Since basically every article on Wikipedia is interconnected to some degree to every other article, you could potentially do this until you've read pretty much every page on Wikipedia.

Which is preferable to actually getting work done.

Step 4: Talk to people you don't really like that much on IM
Any self-respecting time-waster always has his favorite instant messaging program open all the time. In fact, ideally, it should be launched automatically at start-up just to make sure you don't forget about it.

During the middle of the day, when you might be working, a lot of your friends might also be working or doing things that are remotely productive, so oftentimes the pool of people to talk to on the IM is limited. A lot of the time, you'll only get those people who you added to your buddy list as an afterthought and happen to be unemployed or otherwise have lot of time on their hands.

Talk to them. Talk to that old acquaintance from high school who has nothing in common with you and says "lol" a lot after things you say, but doesn't really add much to the conversation. Respond in kind to things he says as well. Don't actually communicate much or get anything done. After all, if you really got a whole lot of value from talking to him, you'd probably go see him in person.

If you have trouble opening up the conversation, try: "im bored lol." It's universal. People love knowing that you're willing to talk to them when you have nothing better to do.

Step 5: Play solitaire (or other simple single-player games) a lot
Whether it's on your computer or with a real deck of cards is irrelevant so long as it can keep you from the things that really matter. It's easy not to fail at solitaire and sometimes you just don't want to challenge yourself.

If card games are not your thing, try something else that is equally mind-numbing and addicting, and that also only takes seconds to load on a modern machine like the shareware versions of old school DOOM or Wolfenstein 3D. If your need for pseudo-3D maze shooters extends further than this, the whole of Ken's Labyrinth is now available as freeware.

Now that you have reached Step 5, a full cycle of pointless distraction has been completed. What now, you ask? Back to Step 1 and onward endlessly. This is the only way you can be sure that you'll never get distracted from being distracted and accidentally actually get something done.


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    • Attention Getter profile image

      Attention Getter 7 years ago

      I switch out Wikipedia for facebook. I just have to know what all the people I don't talk to are doing and whether or not they have any more pictures posted that show me one side of their life - the one they want me to see! But you are spot on with the rest!

    • epigramman profile image

      epigramman 7 years ago

      How to get distracted: Read your hubs and have a good laugh.

      Your sense of humour reminds me of somewhat like mine.

      And looking around these hubpages as of late I have not seen a lot of humor!

      We may have cornered that market - either way - keep writing and I'll be back!

    • Kay Creates profile image

      Kay Creates 7 years ago from Ohio

      I've already mastered these steps but I'm glad you've provided this information for those who use their time productively :-)