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You sit down at the computer to complete what should be a 15-minute task. Two hours later, it remains undone. Meanwhile, you’ve fallen down a Wiki-hole and your internet productivity is gone.
It’s tempting to grab popcorn and watch the latest social media smackdown — but doing so can result in burning the midnight oil if it prevents you from completing your work. How can you eliminate the distractions inherent in this medium? Here are seven tips for improving your internet productivity.
1. Set a Timer
Let the countdown begin. Setting a timer helps keep you on task by reminding you how long you’ve been working. Here’s one reason to have your phone out — it can tick down the minutes and seconds you’ve allotted for working on your given task.
You can also use this method to increase your overall productivity. According to the Pomodoro technique, people do best when they work in 25-minute increments followed by a short 5-minute break. Knowing that you have an assigned time to do things like check your social media accounts can help you remain focused on the task at hand long enough to power through a significant chunk of it.
2. Use Site-Blocking Software
Unless your job requires you to access Facebook and Twitter to manage your company or client’s social media accounts, these sites provide way too much distraction. If you’re the intellectual sort, you could run into the same problem with Wikipedia. What starts as a simple inquiry into when the Hundred Year War started can devolve into a full afternoon of English noble genealogy — all while you should have been balancing that budget report.
You can find free and paid site-blocker software that limits your ability to distract yourself. Ban access during working hours or at any time if you have others in your family whom you want to keep off social media.
3. Run Regular Virus Scans
If you’re one of the many working or going to school from home — or both — you know that few things destroy your productivity like unexpected computer crashes. The stress alone can get you off-task, not to mention the time it takes to fix the issue.
The best defense is a solid offense. Please install antivirus and antimalware software on your computer and run it once a week. A quality VPN is also a must if you connect from public places like coffee shops.
4. Move Your Router
Lag time can also hinder your internet productivity, especially if you’re a content creator. Large file uploads and downloads can eat considerable bandwidth.
One solution is moving your router — the closer it is to your workstation, the better your signal. You can buy boosters if your home office is in a corner bedroom. Hardwiring your computer to your modem is still your fastest bet for large files.
5. Start With Your Most Difficult Task
Productivity experts say that if you eat a frog first thing in the morning, the rest of your day will be smooth sailing. This wisdom refers to tackling your toughest task first, nipping procrastination in the bud.
Make your first order of internet business whatever job requires the most brainpower. Save the stuff you could do in your sleep for later in the day when your energy levels flag.
6. Minimize Outside Distractions
You’re trying to balance a spreadsheet when your 3-year-old bursts in crying, knocking over your water and taking your eyes off your screen. By the time you sop up the mess, you have no idea where that zero was supposed to go, and it takes you 20 laborious minutes to pick up where you left off.
Do your best to minimize outside distractions to finish what you need to do on the internet. According to a University of California at Irvine study, it can take 23 minutes to get back on task. Close your office door or set up a signal — like a special sweatshirt or jacket over your chair — that means “do not disturb” if you share a dorm.
7. Schedule Screen Time Downtime
One of the best ways to improve your internet productivity could be to log off for a bit. Doing any activity for prolonged periods leads to fatigue.
Plus, excessive computer time can lead to headaches. It can even make it harder to sleep at night, given the exposure to blue light. When planning your weekly and daily to-dos, schedule tech downtime — especially if you work and attend school via computer.
Tips for Improving Internet Productivity
The internet is an incredible tool for getting things done. It can also lead to distractions that prevent you from completing the task at hand. Heed these seven tips for improving internet productivity and taking control of your computer time.