How to do Stuff

8 Apr


I am a procrastination expert, especially online. In my defence, it’s hard to stay on track when the internet is such a fun place. There are cats to laugh at and creepypasta to devour. But I’ve recently discovered that the internet is actually a kinda neat platform you can use to get things done. I thought I’d use today’s entry to show you guys some of the tools I use to improve my laptop-centric productivity.


Do It Later!

A Planner (or Non-Planner) for the Creative Procrastinator


This diary is an absolute godsend to putter-offers like me. As well as the week-to-a-page layout – so you can plan your week in one go – it has a to-do list on every double page with subheadings including ‘Things I have to do but that can wait a day, or two, or three…’ and ‘Things I absolutely have to do unless I absolutely don’t want to do them’. There is also an ample supply of tips and quotes. They’re not very helpful but they are fun to read.

(You can preorder the 2014 title here. How futuristic does 2014 sound, by the way?)


Challenge Accepted!
Free (£10 suggested donation)

This is probably my new favourite way to get stuff done. Challenge Accepted is a web-based productivity app structured like an RPG. There’s quests, mini-boss battles, leveling-up, skills and achievements… basically, your to-do list becomes a quest log and therefore way more appealing. ‘Drudgery’ is a skill, and you can set your race as ‘Unicorn’. What is not excellent about these facts?


SelfControl for Mac
Online app

This is a Mac application designed to help you avoid distracting websites. SelfControl lets you block your own access to distracting websites to help you avoid getting stuck in a technology loop. You add the distracting sites to your blacklist, set a time to block them for and then click ‘Start’. Then you’re locked out until the timer expires.

Let me just warn you that this app is evil. I guess that’s why the logo is a skull and crossbones. Even if you restart your computer or delete the application you won’t be allowed to check your precious Facebook newsfeed until your allocated time is up. But it works.

Obtract sounds good too, if you want to monitor productivity as a team. It’s Mac as well though – if you don’t use one this website helpfully lists some alternatives.


What are your tricks for getting things done? Do you turn off the WiFi or use Write or Die? Let me know in the comments!

3 Responses to “How to do Stuff”

  1. alexandrawilks April 8, 2013 at 6:21 PM #

    Self control is one of my favourites too and is basically the reason I managed to finish my dissertation!

  2. Kas Sommers April 8, 2013 at 6:42 PM #

    There’s always the “you can do anything for 15 minutes” philosophy. Set your timer for 15 minutes then write, vacuum the floor, do the washing-up, trim the hedge, answer emails, play Angry Birds, whatever. When the timer goes off, you HAVE TO STOP. (You can restart the timer, but the idea is that 15 minutes is a small chunk of time, and it’s better than not starting at all.)

  3. Josh June 8, 2013 at 1:10 AM #

    Haha, I love that Portlandia clip!

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