Silence is golden

One of the biggest time consumers in my computing life has been IRC. My very best friendships have been forged in the fires of Mount Freenode and I remain in touch with some great friends on a private server populated by folks I used to work with. To this day, IRC remains the best way to get in touch with likeminded people when it comes to technology.

My problem is that I gravitate to it all too easily. The Beyond3D IRC channel is home to the best discussion on 3D graphics you can have anywhere on the planet. I live and breath 3D graphics. I’m there a lot.

Procrastination for me therefore means attaching to the screen session that’s running irssi. What better to do in your spare time than talk about the thing you love the most. I’m trying to cut down on the habit, though, to be more productive on other things I’d love to do, but where IRC tends to take over instead.

The biggest help has been to cut down on the game of IRC whack-a-mole that every IRC user will recognise. Your client will light up some part of the UI when there’s been some activity in a channel you’re part of. That leads to frantic chasing around in your client where you’re trying to keep up with what’s happening in multiple places at once. Even if you’re doing something else, the activity notification is easily more than enough to tear you away and back to IRC.

Since I turned off the activity notifications in irssi, I spend much less time there. There’s no game for my brain to play, to make sure I’ve read and contributed to everythere coming through in the channels I’m on. I don’t flick to the IRC window to check if something’s happened. I actually get things done now.

If you recognise that pattern in yourself, I highly recommend doing the same. The silence from my IRC client truly has been golden.