How to Tame Digital Time Wasters in 5 Sensible Steps
Ever feel like you work hours online and get so little done? Sometimes it’s due to getting so distracted online.
Typical time wasters online include social bookmarking sites like Reddit, 9Gag, Pinterest and StumbleUpon, as well as seemingly productive utilities such as checking your email and viewing updates on Twitter and Facebook.
These sites can easily suck you in, waste away hours of your time before you even realize that you’ve been so terribly distracted and dwindled away much your work time.
So why bother taming these time wasters? The power of a focused business can quickly turn a struggling business into a successful business. So, it’s truly important to tame these time wasters.
How do you handle these digital time wasters without giving them up all together?
- Step 1: Pinpoint the Culprits
Which digital time wasters are your biggest time crushers? This answer will vary from person to person.
Some people browse from joke to joke on 9gag, while others incessantly check email every hour. Some people spend far too much time on Facebook, while others are quite hooked on Pinterest or StumbleUpon.
Whatever it is for you, start by observing your own behaviors and identifying your biggest culprits.
- Step 2: Set Specific Times to Check Your Favorite Sites
The goal isn’t to eliminate the browsing of these sites altogether. Instead, the goal is to limit visiting these sites to a manageable amount of time that doesn’t distract from your daily business work online.
Set a few specific times to check these sites. For example, you might check Facebook once before work, once at noon during lunch break and again after you finish your work as much as you like. Or you might simply check your favorite sites only once a day or at night if it’s hard to pry yourself away.
Get some quick help. Set a timer to limit the amount of time spent on social sites if you’re doing it during work hours. *A nifty tool you might use is an online stopwatch with an alarm…here’s one that I found: http://stopwatch.onlineclock.net/alarm/
- Step 3: Let Everyone Know Your Work Schedule
The decision to stop these time wasters becomes much more powerful when you’re openly making a commitment.
Let your co-workers and your Facebook friends know that you’ll no longer be checking email (or whatever site you chose) every hour. You can even let them know what specific time you’ll be checking your email or personal messages so that they can be aware of when you’ll be able to respond or receive their messages.
- Step 4: Block the Sites that are Huge Distractions
For people who have a lot of trouble with self-control and eliminating distractions on their own, a really good option is to simply block your computer from being able to access these sites.
This works best for social sites like Reddit or StumbleUpon, rather than sites that you also need for work such as email.
How can you do it? Check out http://getcoldturkey.com which will allow you to block off certain sites while you’re working online. Another option may be to simply work “offline” on a computer without internet access if you’re working on writing or creating reports and documents.
- Step 5: Review, Improve, Reward
Next, ask yourself, “How has my productivity been since I’ve implemented these changes?” Take a look at your results after one week and see what happened.
Ask yourself some more questions: Is this adequate? Can you maintain your digital time wasters at this amount for the long haul, or do you feel like you’re being overly strict? On the flip side, do you think you need to be even stricter to achieve maximum productivity?
As a final note, be sure to reward yourself for your accomplishments. When you’ve made improvement, create a positive mentality by rewarding yourself for eliminating these distractions and getting more of your goals completed during the week.
Try this new system for a week or two, then adjust the system to suit your own needs. I also recommend that you grab Kelly McCausey’s training on “The Power of a Focused Business” which also includes some printable focusing sheets.
What are some of your time wasters?
What has helped you to overcome some of your time wasters?