My brain hasn’t been a happy place for several years, but sometimes, it’s more unhappy than usual. Sometimes that’s because my mood’s low, and sometimes it’s because depression has made mashed potatoes out of my brain. Whatever the reason, my tendency is to seek out mindless tasks to just power through and keep moving.
Illness has left me a pretty narrow range of things that have any interest for me. Watching tv or Netflix is okay, but it’s very passive, and I often like a more active form of mindlessness.
This blog is a great source of mindless activities that are at least somewhat productive but require little thought. Tidying up pages and old posts is an almost endless time sink. It’s mildly useful, as quite a few of my old posts still see visitors, but it’s entirely unnecessary. Yet as a mindless task, it’s perfect.
Lately I’ve had a combination of worse concentration and lower mood than usual, and on top of that, the world just feels icky. As I often do, I rely on mindless tasks to keep the day moving. I’ve been spending a buttload of time cleaning up old posts. I just googled buttload, because I no longer trust myself to know if terms or real or if I’ve made them up, and a buttload (or more specifically a butt) is an actual unit of measurement. Who knew?
I’ve got plugin installed called Yoast that makes recommendations for search engine optimization (SEO). According to Yoast, the readability of my posts sucks. I haven’t cared before what Yoast has to say about that, nor do I care now, but it works very well as a robotic time sink. So over the last while, I’ve been going back to old posts and breaking up long sentences and decreasing the use of passive voice. It’s tedious, but that’s why it works.
Another time sink, although it isn’t anymore because the issue is resolved, was fussing around with developer tools in Google Chrome to try to figure out why my page layout was dancing around when pages first loaded. I spent far more time on it than it warranted, but that’s part of why it was useful.
I’m not sure why I find tedious technical tasks to be the most effective mindless time-waster for me. I think in part it’s because it makes time seem to move faster. It may also be partly because I’m a geek, and I get some geeky satisfaction out of getting technical tasks done. Plus there’s the “reward” of seeing Yoast’s red unhappy face change to an orange neutral face.
And who knows, maybe that red unhappy to orange neutral face shift is just what I’m trying to do on a personal level. On the other hand, maybe the world really is going to hell in a handbasket. Hard to say either way.