Monday, September 9, 2013

Recycled Post: Stall Demons

We interrupt our regularly scheduled "Ask Dr. Dina" series to bring you this recycled post from 2008, as Dr. Dina is out of the office this week. Enjoy!

(Originally posted 2/28/2008 on my Livejournal. This post is 100% recycled material. Some references have been updated to reflect the current year.)

*eyes the little maniacs in the corner laughing gleefully*

Stall demons.

"What are they?" you ask. Good question. Most people don't recognize them when they see or encounter them, or they confuse them for Shoulder Devils/Shoulder Demons, which are a completely different type of demon. (Hmm...maybe I should blog about types of demons at some point. *makes a note* There are a bunch.) Shoulder Demons/Devils are the ones that tell you it's okay to do things when you know better.

Stall Demons are no such creature. These are evil miniature imps from the Timesuck Realm that tell you, "It's okay, just check Twitter. It won't take that long!" or "You know, you have a WHOLE DAY to write/get XYZ done/do what you planned. This will only take a minute." or "Have a nap. You're tired and will work much better if you're rested."

This is the thing with Stall Demons. They're much, much different than Shoulder Devils/Demons. Stall Demons pretend to look after your welfare. They're only helping! After all, don't you deserve a little break/fun/pie before whatever it is you're supposed to be doing? For emotional/physical/mental well-being? C'Mon...just check Twitter. Or Facebook. Or your F!list on LiveJournal. Or Tumblr. Or Pinterest. Aren't you behind on that webcomic? That was pretty funny, and you could use a laugh. No? You're right. You're right. You should write. Blog something to get your creativity going.

You see the pattern here?

Stall Demons are also responsible for the stipulations you put on yourself, such as "I can't write, the bathroom needs cleaning" or "I'll wait until the house is quiet" or "Wow, I have a lot of laundry to do. I can't write until I do something else."


Stall Demons will do absolutely anything to stall you. Fun things! Shiny things! Games! Want to clean? Sure! Let's do that! That's good for inspiration you know...a mindless task really helps clear your meditating!

Back! Back you demons! Back into your realm of Timesuck where you belong! I know what you are and what you're trying to do! Back! Back I say!

Ah, but Stall Demons cannot be subdued. Just frightened off temporarily. Like Sandpeople (Tusken Raiders for the politically correct or uber!geektastic among us) - easily startled, but will soon be back. AND in greater numbers. (Points if you know the name of the noise that frightened them off Luke Skywalker!)

What frightens off a Stall Demon?

Confidence. Determination. Willpower.


Never mind what the Borg say. Resistance is NOT futile. That's a party line to get you not to fight. Fight the Stall Demons! Don't let them take away your productivity!

Don't trust yourself? No willpower? There are programs out there like Freedom and StayFocusd that will force you to stick to your guns.

Does the prospect of not being able to connect frighten you? Still can't manage to resist? Fear not! There is still hope.

You'll have appease the Stall Demons with a bargain. They're DEMONS, first and foremost, and how do you deal with a demon?

*Brando imitation* Make them an offer they cannot refuse.

Offer a deal. You'll Stall AFTER _____. After your wordcount for the day is reached, you'll read Twitter. Do the dishes. Clean the bathroom. Blog something. NOT before. They leave you in peace for whatever you need to do, you'll goof off for (amount of time here).

It's what I did today. The Stall Demons had me captivated with their Sirens' song for a time this morning, with me protesting all the while about wordcounts and deadlines and how I had to get to work.

"No, go read Twitter," the Stall Demons replied soothingly. "It won't take long."

"That's timesuck, and I don't have any time I can afford to squander," I protest feebly, all the while lulled by their wonderful charms. "Things to do."

"They're not important, you're important," said the demons, who really know how to stroke an ego. "Networking is important. You want to stay in touch, don't you? Come Twitter. Go check on your characters in World of Warcraft. Your auction should be concluded by now. Just go take care of your bank stuff. It won't take long...."

"It won't take long" is the stock phrase of the Stall Demon.

Beware this phrase. If you hear it in your head, or even from a friend, be very careful.

You could just have a Stall Demon in your house. (Points if you get the reference!)

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