Time Management & The Internet

posted by Andrea | 12/6/2010


What do the following items have in common? {Email, Facebook, Twitter, Craigslist, Ebay, U-Tube, Flickr, Tumblr, etc.}

Photo Credit: Salvatore Vuono


They are all great on-line services, and they ALL have the potential to waste lots and lots of valuable time!!

Believe me…I speak from experience!

Over the past couple of years, I have wasted more than my share of time stalking friends on Facebook, Tweeting, looking through picture albums on Flickr, reading some of my favorite blogs, and shopping on Craigslist{my all-time favorite time waster!}

But once I realized how much time I was actually wasting {it was a lot}, I implemented a few VERY SIMPLE concepts that helped me increase my productivity, and better manage the time I spent on the Internet.

1. I Set a Timer:

If you’ve been hanging around my blog long enough, you know this is my #1 suggestion for anyone trying to be more effcient and/or productive — simply set a timer for 15-20 minutes and go crazy! Check your email, scour Craigslist, stalk your friends and family on Facebook, whatever you want to do. Then, when the timer goes off, move on to more productive work.

I know it sounds “too good to be true” but honestly…IT WORKS!!!

I wish I could show you all the emails I get from people who have successfully implemented my timer suggestions. Almost every single person starts by saying, “I didn’t think this would work, BUT…” followed by success story after success story!

2. I Work Offline:

If you have a job {like mine} where you are on the computer for large portions of the day, remove these tempting distractions and simply work offline for a set period of time. {I often write my blog posts in Word documents so I’m not even tempted to open up another browser}

If you can’t work offline, then at least close down any sites that might distract you during your “focus time”. I like to focus for chunks of time {1-2 hours} without doing any Facebook, Twitter, email, etc.

Honestly, I think you’ll be surprised at how much you can accomplish with NO distractions — and if you have children, I would suggest planning your “focus time” during their naps or while they are at school!

3. I Use Rewards:

Set a goal to accomplish a set task and when the task is complete, reward yourself with an appropriate amount of “Internet time”.

For example, if you need to accomplish a specific task like writing a blog post or cleaning out your refrigerator; set aside a chunk of focused time and finish your task. Once the task is complete, you can “reward” yourself with a set amount of Craigslist shopping, Facebook chatting, etc.

4. Use Time Management Software:

Yup, this DOES exists…and it can be free! By using a program like Toggl you can track and measure your productive and wasted time spent on the internet!

Seriously…this is cool!

Looking for more advice?

Here are a few more articles I’ve written about Time Management:

I also LOVE the “Tell Your Time eBook” from Amy Lynn Andrews.

What are your tips for eliminating wasted time?


Filed under: WorkTime ManagementProductivityBlogging

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