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Faffing – The art of doing something without achieving anything”

Faffing affects all of us, in all areas of life and it means doing something without achieving an outcome. It affects business, personal life, writing, internet surfing, and domestic life.

To give you an example: As I am writing an article I am aware that I have to do a bit of stumbling in order to keep up my traffic from Stumbleupon, so I click on the Firefox button and stumble for a few minutes before coming back to the article. Then an e-mail might come in and I think, “I better check that in case it’s important” so off I wander over to Outlook and check my e-mails, I then get caught in an e-mail which has a link to something interesting. I then get off Firefox and back to the article. My sons come downstairs and ask me a question, I give them an answer, and then back to the article. Something on TV catches my eye so I start watching TV. The cycle can be never ending and you could start something and make a 1-hour job last all day. This article should only take an hour to write and edit and put on the blog, I’ll tell you how long it took at the end.

5 ways to getting out of faffing mode

  1. Know your outcome – Always keeping the goal in mind is not as easy as it sounds. I find it helpful to verbally remind myself what my outcome is: “Got to finish washing the dishes”, that kind of thing.
  2. Turn off all things that may distract you – This includes; TV, radio, e-mails, instant messengers, Firefox, internet, the kids (if only!), and anything else that usually distracts you from getting the job done.
  3. Allow yourself time to finish the job at hand – Don’t try and cram two hours of work into one hour. If you do this you will end up frustrated and possibly do some sloppy work.
  4. Let others know your timescale – I have told my wife and children that I will be writing for about 90 minutes so if it’s possible, not to disturb me for this length of time. This way the responsibility is mine to get the article done and I can’t blame anybody else for it not being completed in time.
  5. Allow time for a quick reward – I always reward myself for getting any job done, whether it be the dishes, washing the car, writing, or anything that I need to have completed. This is usually in the form of a quick cup of tea and a read of a book.

Okay how long did it take me to write, edit and upload this article? It took 92 minutes, that’s not bad. I’m off to have a quick cuppa.

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