Do You Get Easily Distracted On The Internet?
Have you ever recalled an afternoon where you were typing an essay for school or a critical business report on your computer? You find yourself getting into the meat of the paper, and the next thing you know, a ring or notification sign goes off on your web browser. It’s a new message on your Facebook account- you only intend to check it for a minute or two, but end up scrolling through Facebook for the next 20 minutes.
In my first year of college, this happened to me occasionally while studying. I regularly checked my Facebook page, but I had a bad habit of spending too much time looking over the latest news feed. Ultimately, this cost me valuable time to get some studying done because I had small distractions get in my way sometimes. This once lousy habit is something many people fall into but can easily avoid if they’re more mindful of their activities.
Even though living in the internet age has made our lives easier and more convenient, it does have some downsides as well. In this post, I’m going to write some of the best tips I practice spending less time on the internet. These tips include using a journal to keep track of your internet time, taking regular breaks, setting time blocks away from technology usage during the day, utilizing block or disable icons on your computer, and using software to limit your computer usage as well.
Tip # 1 Keep A Log To Track Your Time Spend On The Internet
Writing time limits in a log will remind you not to spend too much time in one area, such as social media usage. A general rule I follow is I set aside one hour daily to non-important tasks or passive activities. (passive meaning not taking any meaningful action on a job or responsibility). Within the one-hour time slot, I break it down into the following:
- 30 minutes to checking and responding to emails
- 15 minutes to check social media accounts, instant messaging, chatting
- 15 minutes to anything else you desire: check the news, watch videos, and so forth
Now, this may not be the exact breakdown for you, depending on your lifestyle (personal, work situation). But I use this model to help me save more time on work I need to get on any given day. Therefore, I set aside one hour each day to knock out these usual mundane, routine activities. Before I started this practice, I ended up with some days being stressful and not accomplishing what I needed to get done. Having this written down and sticking to them helps me stay focus.
Tip # 2 Take Regular Breaks To Reboot Yourself
Taking short breaks from electronic usage is vital to recharge yourself and to clear the fog out of your mind after working on challenging tasks. My own rule is to take five-ten minute breaks after every hour I work on the computer. Whether it’s getting up to stretch, moving your body around, or drinking water, whatever it takes to re-energize yourself, make an effort, so you’re ready to go back to work (whether at home or in the office).
What I’ve discovered over time by taking breaks is I found myself more energetic, very relaxed, and even more productive. I used to have days when I would continuously work without taking breaks, and I felt not as focused or clear-minded I should be. Using a computer (or a smartphone) for prolonged periods can have negative health consequences if it becomes a bad habit. Therefore, not taking regular breaks from spending time online can make you feel sluggish, slow, and work situations more stressful.
Tip # 3 Set Time Away From The Internet During The Day
We live in a digital age. As valuable as the internet has become in society, it is equally crucial to set time aside for non-tech/internet activities. Whether it’s meeting friends, going to the gym, or just being outdoors, in general, are very beneficial to live fulfilling lives. Regardless of what day it is, I force myself to get out of my apartment daily. It can range from a short walk, going to the store, or anything that requires me to get outdoors. Put it; get out every single day for a little or an extended period.
Based on my current schedule, I set a two-three hour time block away from my electronics and screen time. I may go to the gym, grocery shopping, or be outdoors and experience nature at it’s finest. At times, I’ll leave my phone at home just so that I don’t get lured away. I know it may sound crazy, but you be amazed to find you are more focused than before. I put this excellent time to set aside, where I clear my mind a while not being distracted by my electronics. Remember, it’s okay to step away from your electronics or internet use temporarily.
Tip # 4 Utilize Block-Off/Add-On Features On Your Electronics
When you need to focus and get meaningful work done, on the computer, it’s necessary to limit distractions while you are working. Web browsers such as Google Chrome and Mozilla Firefox have add-ons where you can block-off sites that can easily distract you. Social media sites are enormous distracts, so you should turn off all notifications that pop up on your computer while doing serious work. The same method applies to smartphones. As an iPhone user, I usually turn off all notifications in the settings’ app, so I don’t get easily distracted and throw away 10-20 minutes of my time.
Tip # 5 Use Technology To Limit Internet Usage
Though it may sound odd, there are some apps aimed to help people save time from computer usage. Software services such as RescueTime (an automated time tracking software) and Sanebox (email management service) work well in saving time from using the internet. Additionally, apps such as SelfControl (for Mac users), 1Focus are useful tools to keep track of your time spent on the internet. For iPhone users like myself, one great feature is the screen time app. This app keeps track of your phone usage and shows how much time you’ve spent on your phone daily and weekly. I check it often so I can monitor my time spent on my iPhone. These are some excellent apps, to name a few- I will write separate reviews these apps later down the road.
Once again, in a digital age, staying focused and getting more things done can be very challenging. At this point, technology and electronic usage are not going away, and that’s not necessarily a bad thing. But there is no need to get rid of our electronics (that sounds too extreme these days). But more importantly, we should be mindful of how we use technology effectively. Hopefully, these practical tips will help you manage your time while using the internet daily.
Feel free to leave a comment or share some of your best practices on this subject.