How to reduce distractions on Internet and increase your work productivity?

“All that really belongs to us is time, even he who has nothing else has that”. WWW is a Nice toy, it stands for World Wide Web but often turns out to be “Wander Wasting time on Web”.

You have a important work to be accomplished within night. You plan so much on how to finish it quickly on schedule. You come sit with your computer. You start working and things will go on fine for few minutes. In the mean while, you will just think of checking your mails and then switch back to work. This sets in motion the “Wander Wasting time on Web” so-called WWW.

You open the email sent from a colleague asking you to check out the “hilarious video” ever posted on YouTube. You open that video on YouTube, watch it for few minutes and then switch to Facebook , where you end up watching videos of even some crappy stuff. Suddenly, a friend pings you and starts talking about the last night party. And by the time you tell him goodbye, you would have ended up spending 20 more minutes. Then you move to Twitter followed by Orkut, then a music website, then eBay, then CNN and so on.

You soon realize that you wasted an hour of work  while the task at hand remains incomplete. A new term has been coined – “wilfing,” short for “What Was I Looking For?” and the workers who spend hours in aimless browsing are called Wilfers.

It would be inappropriate to say sites like Facebook, YouTube, CNN  or Orkut are certainly not bad but our constant urge to check sites for new content certainly distracts us from actual work leaving us less productive and at times, inefficient.

A helping hand for this problem comes from a tiny Firefox add-on called LeechBlock. It is a simple productivity tool designed to block those time-wasting sites that can suck the life out of your working day.

With LeechBlock,

  • You can specify up to six sets of sites to block, with different times and days for each set.
  • You can block sites within fixed time periods (e.g., between 9am and 5pm), after a time limit (e.g., 10 minutes in every hour), or with a combination of time periods and time limit (e.g., 10 minutes in every hour between 9am and 5pm).
  • With the ‘lockdown’ feature, you can block sites immediately for a specified duration.
  • You can also set a password or random access code for LeechBlock’s options, just to slow you down in moments of weakness!

The sites to block can be specified using wildcards (e.g., *.wordpress.com) and exceptions (e.g., +technojourney.com).

Here are some more screenshots for a better understanding of LeechBlock.

Well, If you ask “How mean! What about people using other web browsers”? I have another simple software for you guys. Even those using Firefox can make use of it.

Download and unzip the file – LetMeWork.zip – to your desktop. Just a  double-click from you can instantly block some of the distracting sites on your computer. When you are done with your work, again double-click the same icon to unblock access to all the sites as before.

Note that you may see a User Access Control warning dialog in Windows Vista or 7. Just say yes.

If you ask me how it works?
The list is customizable. You may open the vbs file in notepad and edit the WebsitesToBlock array to include any other website(s) in the banned list.

WebsitesToBlock=Array(“twitter.com”, “www.facebook.com”)

Few more very general tips:

  1. If you are dating online, only email back and forth a few times with your potential date. Relationships happen in person; the longer you wait to meet the more awkward it will be when you do. Make sure you are in a safe position before you meet, but don’t drag on an email correspondence longer than necessary.
  2. Always go online with a purpose. Think to yourself, “I am going to check my email and buy that sweater.” Simply go online to do said tasks and don’t wander off exploring silly websites/message boards.
  3. Give yourself allotted time every day to go online and be productive. Schedule your time like you would any other appointment during the day.
  4. Limit the number of sites you need to check. Limit yourself to one social networking site, one email account and one message board. Once you are finished checking these accounts there is no reason to browse all over the place and waste time.
  5. Think about other things you used to do before you discovered the Internet: reading, exercising, meeting up with friends in person, going to the movies and hiking are all good alternatives to reading celebrity gossip blogs online. Don’t become anti-social and let your mind go to mush.

It’s as simple as that. Hope this helps you to be  more productive and efficient in utilizing your time and finishing work on schedule.

Feel free to comment below if you know few more ways to manage time effectively on the Internet.



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4 Comments to How to reduce distractions on Internet and increase your work productivity?

  1. This is a great article with some good ideas. I also recommend the program StopDistractions. It runs on Windows and blocks websites like Facebook and Twitter. You can set a timer and customize the list of blocked websites. Definitely worth a download!

    http://www.StopDistractions.com

  2. Hi Nikhil, great post thanks for sharing these tips with us. These are very useful to help reduce internet distractions and improve work productivity. There are different ways to stay productive while working. It happened that I also work in front of the computer often and internet is really a distraction. Like social networking site, playing games, online shopping and email. However, I manage to ignore those distraction with the help of a time management tool which I list my entire tasks and set an estimated amount of time when working on each task. This is also my own way to limit wasted time and stay focus to work. My key to follow scheduled tasks and finish it on time is with discipline. It also helps me ignore distractions while working. I believe that with the right tools and discipline you can ignore work distractions and increase productivity.

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