I just read Aaron Swartz's piece on procrastination. The subject has been in my mind a lot lately. I've always been a procrastinator, and it's been a real problem for years and years.
Aaron did a great job in luring me to think about this in a structured way, and I already came up with a great example: RSS readers. Intuitively, you'd think that an RSS reader would increase your productivity by decreasing the amount of time spent checking if a blog has been updated.
But I've noticed that's not really true. My RSS reader, NetNewsWire, has instead transformed catching up on blogs into a distinct task: getting the unread count back to zero. I've now realized that I'll always choose that task over real work. And it's the same with email. The only time I'm getting work done is when those unread counts are gone from NetNewsWire's and Mail's Dock icons.
I'm now running both my Mail and NetNewsWire primarily on my laptop, so my main development system should be free from such attractions.
Now, back to work.