When I was an undergraduate in 1998-2001 the things that I got distracted by were online games and chatrooms. I did my MA in 2002-2004 and I actually have nearly no recollection of that period at all strangely – perhaps that was my MySpace years. But now during my PhD 2013-2016 the thing that is distracting me the most is Twitter and Facebook. I have hardly any friends on Facebook but still I go on there multiple times a day even though nothing new is in my feed. Twitter, however, has a huge amount of stuff on it to read and contribute to, so it is never ending.
Today’s big story has been the one about David Cameron doing some strange initiation ceremony with a pig at university and there has been lots of funny jokes about it on Twitter. But what benefit does it have to my productivity? None! So I decided that I need help and quickly, so downloaded a free piece of software called Cold Turkey where you can block certain webpages for a set amount of time. It seems to work because although my weak willpower means I feel I need to get onto Twitter every five minutes to check out the latest pig jokes, I got blocked and had no option but to focus on my thesis.
Reading about David Cameron makes me think about his penis which in turn leads me onto thinking about other politician’s penises and toe sucking and all other instances through time using up precious brain space. Blocking these things out has enabled me to think only about delightful things like philosophy and sociology, and just my usual allocation of penis thoughts.