You really need to stop wasting time on the Internet if you want to increase your productivity while working unsupervised. The Internet can be a great source of knowledge, wisdom, information, entertainment and useless shit and if you are on your own and if nobody is breathing down you neck, it’s very difficult not to waste your time browsing different websites and blogs and chatting with your online “buddies”.
Once you’re in front of your computer with a couple of opened browser windows you don’t realize how you’ve spent the past two hours randomly clicking links, checking updates, leaving comments, clicking on “Likes” and replying to a few emails. Everyday you decide that no, today you’ll focus just on your work and complete the client assignments, and everyday your resolve gets sidelined. You end up wasting time on the Internet.
Here are a few things you can do to
Stop wasting time on the Internet
- Prepare a task list for the next day. Have a list of tasks you need to accomplish the next day as soon as you switch on your computer. If possible, take a printout and put it or stick it somewhere you cannot avoid looking at the first thing in the morning. Since you’ll be knowing exactly what to do the moment you start working, there’ll be less chance of getting distracted and ending up wasting time on the Internet. You can use a service like Remember The Milk to manage your tasks and set your RTM desktop as your home page. Another good service is Tadalist. Of course there’s always the good old notepad.
- Block the websites that just waste time. Are there websites that contribute nothing but still you cannot help visiting them, the p**n sites, for instance? If it’s difficult for you to resist the temptation you can tell your operating system to block them. Read how to block certain websites from your computer. Of course you can unblock them whenever you feel like but this is a good deterrence for one of those quickies that turn into hour-long visual and intellectual orgies.
- Allocate time to different activities. Need to check emails? Need to spend some time on Facebook and Twitter? These activities cannot be avoided these days but don’t let them distract you. Set aside some time for such activities and stick to that allocated time frame. It’s understandable that you may need to check your email the first thing in the morning and send a few replies, but if you’ve decided that you’ll spend only the first 30 minutes on this then stick to it. You can decide that you’ll check email just 4 times a day and your social media profiles just twice a day, or whatever.
- Take someone into confidence. If you still find yourself wasting time on the Internet then you can take someone into confidence. Let someone close to you — your spouse, your girlfriend/boyfriend, your sibling, your close friend, your parent, or even someone on Twitter or Facebook — know that you have this tendency to waste time on the Internet and you need to be asked again and again how much real/important work you have done. This way you’ll be cautious of wasting your precious minutes.
- Punish yourself if you cannot stop wasting time on the Internet. No, I don’t mean commit harakiri, slit your wrists or gulp down a cocktail of coke and rat poison. Deny yourself your favorite food or beverage or miss your favorite TV show or avoid having a bath on a very hot day (and make people run away from you). Wasting time on the Internet should pinch you hard.
- Declare it openly. Putting yourself to public scrutiny can help sometimes. Let your Facebook and Twitter friends know that you are not to be seen exchanging messages on these websites at particular times.
- Disconnect the Internet. Why remain connected if you don’t need the Internet. Surely you don’t need to be online all the time. Make it difficult to get online by always disabling your network connection the moment you can remain offline for a while.
Wasting time on the Internet is a serious problem, and millions of man hours (or woman hours, or person hours) are being wasted by spending just a few minutes on this website and just a few minutes on that website. And this problem is going nowhere (unless we get bored of it) as more and more devices get connected to the Internet. We’ll need to learn to stop wasting time on the Internet on our own.