Technology-Induced Procrastination

Thursday is the last work day of my week. I therefore like for it to be a productive day. Well, that or I'll work late Wednesday to take extra time off on Thursday. This Thursday was anything but. And technology was (mostly) to blame.

  • I tend to get some early tweeting in while I have my first cup of coffee. I do this because it not only lets me ease into my day, but it also allows me to move seamlessly into managing a client's Twitter account that I also check on the in the mornings. Twitter -- as it often does -- decided to go glitchy yesterday the moment I switched from my personal account to my client's account. I don't know why this happens as often as it does. It drives me crazy. It's completely baffling. It's as though the Twitterverse is out to stop me from getting my work done. So I had a slow start.
  • Then I took care of some comment management on blogs (keeping the social media-related work together). And Chrome -- the browser I'm currently using -- was being obnoxious (also as usual) by saving my passwords but not my usernames. So I had to either remember or enter usernames on a bunch of sites. And that doesn't even count all the client blogs I had to do the same for later in the evening. Frustrating. And time-wasting.
  • Speaking of Web browsers, they were really out to get me. I adore Firefox. But I use Chrome now. That's because Firefox starting giving me grief a few months back. All of a sudden it became so resource-intensive that it actually started overheating my laptop. I thought I was nuts. I thought "no way can a browser do that!" But apparently it can. And it does. And not just to me. So while I was hoping it was just an issue of needing to do maintenance on my machine, it wasn't. And I had to switch browsers.
  • That switch to Chrome has given me all kinds of problems. Yes, Chrome is fast. I love that. If you could give me Firefox with Chrome's speed I'd be in little blogger heaven. (And no, Firefox 4's beta doesn't even come a wee bit close in terms of speed, so that's not looking like an option in the future -- I also don't like Opera, and you couldn't pay me to use IE). Chrome also randomly won't acknowledge when I click on menu items in the right-click menu that I use frequently. And Chrome often refuses to clear my cache even when it says it did -- not acceptable when you're altering your site's code and you need to see the frontend results of the changes right away. Really, if Chrome could fix those two issues and get the damned Google Toolbar for their own friggin' browser, it would be perfect. (And please don't spout that crap about Chrome having the toolbar's features built in -- that's BS. The most common features I use there are indeed not built in -- at least not close to the same ways and quality. Like the word find tool based on your search queries.)

So I was doing research yesterday, and I was beyond frustrated that I couldn't quickly click a word find option like I can in Firefox. The info I wanted was buried in a huge page of text after all. I got so annoyed that I switched back to Firefox... which was so slow I had to switch back to Chrome... which was frustrating the hell out of me so much that I eventually just gave up and took an extended break on Twitter, which was finally working properly again (until my beloved Fail Whale made an appearance again for a while).

I got far less work done than I planned to. I was up late in the evening clearing a few things up as a result. Thursday evenings are supposed to be the start of my weekend, and instead I spent it making up for earlier procrastination resulting from tech issue after tech issue.

What's the point? I don't know. That technology occasionally bites? That it can interfere with even the best laid plans? That you'd better prepare for the worst when working on a deadline? That you shouldn't start the day expecting it to be a productive one because the technology gods will have a nice little snicker at your expense? I don't know. I'm just ranting. There's really nothing we can do when these things happen. We just have to work around the problems the best we can. And sometimes that means working late and a grumpy freelancer as a result. Then again, isn't the flexibility supposedly a perk of the job so we can account for things like this? Doesn't feel like a perk when you're working late, let me tell you.

Now you tell me. What's your least favorite tech issue that plagues your freelance writing work? Do these issues force you into a state of procrastination from time to time? Have you run into issues you absolutely couldn't work around? Leave a comment and tell us about it.

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Jennifer Mattern is a professional blogger, freelance business writer, consultant, and indie author. She runs numerous websites & blogs including All Freelance Writing, Freelance Writing Pros, NakedPR, and Kiss My Biz.

Jenn has 25 years' experience as a professional writer and editor and over 20 years' experience in marketing and PR (working heavily in digital PR, online marketing, social media, SEO, new media, and thought leadership publication). She also has 19 years' professional blogging and web publishing experience (including web development) and around 18 years of experience as an indie author / publisher.

Jenn also writes fiction under multiple pen names and is an Active member of the Horror Writers Association.

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8 thoughts on “Technology-Induced Procrastination”

  1. It’s interesting that you mention the problem with your computer overheating. I too use Firefox (which I love!!), but I’ve been having problems with the computer randomly shutting down on me while in the middle of something I’m doing. Also, I think, from overheating. Very annoying! I’ve found that switching the power option to power saver seems to help a bit.

  2. I don’t know if my issue is really procrastination so much as it is stress inducing. I prefer to use my desktop for work. Sometimes, the electricity, in my town, goes off for no reason. It will happen a few times a day and usually lasts around a minute or so.

    The work is saved along the way, so I don’t worry so much about losing what I’ve done. What bothers me is that it breaks the flow that I had going. You have to wait for reboot, make sure everything’s okay and try to figure out where you were.

    Then, there’s the anxiety of getting the work done before it happens again, if it does. If I have a tight deadline, it’s even worse. Once the flow is broken, it’s hard to get it back. I do have a laptop, but I don’t like to use it for work, unless it’s for researching.

  3. The biggest technology problem I ever had with freelancing is when the power was out for over a week following Ike. (Gotta love hurricanes!) It made communication very spotty via cell phone, but I have great clients and managed to get back on track fairly quickly.

    What is even more frustrating for me is when the server goes down in my school. There’s nothing better than planning a week-long computer-based project and learning that Monday morning as the kids try to login that the server is down but should be back up “soon.” 16-year-olds are so very cooperative when it’s time to suddenly turn off their beloved computers and read instead….

  4. Have you tried using one of those social media managing programs to help with your Twitter issue? Hootsuite is an excellent web-based program for this, as it was designed for professionals like you.

  5. As a “new” writer (new to online writing) I find I have more trouble with “technology-induced ADD” – as in (like today), I’ll have this great idea for a blog post, but when I sit down to write I become distracted by my google reader updates (e.g., your interesting post!), catching up with news online, floating around the various social media sites I try to keep up with (both my personal accounts and my “clients”), etc., and before I know it an hour has passed and I haven’t written anything for my blog!

    Anyone else experience this? Got any advice re: time management/online “ADD” for an aspiring freelancer??

  6. I didn’t know that about Firefox either, but just recently have had my laptop freeze when I had multiple tabs open.

    My technology glitch is my ISP going down multiple times for hours (or days) on end. I know, everyone says run to Starbucks or wherever for a wireless connection, but, you know what? It’s not convenient. I just can’t pack up and take off all the time. My 87-year-old mother is healthy, but I am here to help her out with some day-to-day stuff, so I’m not inclined to take off and say you’re on your own.

    Every time I see one of the ISP’s ads about their lightening-fast speed, I want to throw something at the TV.

    Thanks, I feel better now. 🙂


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