Ok, I need to say this: you probably ended up here because you were procrastinating and spending time on the Internet, don’t you?
I just wanted to point out the irony in this, sorry for the awkward joke.
Now with that being said, let’s get serious.
In today’s post, we’re gonna talk about how to stop wasting time on the Internet.
I’ve already written and published a blog post about how to stop procrastinating – in general – and you can read it here.
But today I want to be more specific, because let’s admit that: in 90 – maybe 99 – % of the cases, when you procrastinate you end up being on the Internet. Whether it’s on social media on your phone, or watching videos on Youtube,
or reading blog posts on how to stop procrastinating – you’re still on the Internet.
However, as I was saying, this blog post is gonna be more specific and we’re gonna see in details many resources and tools that you can use to avoid getting distracted on the Internet.
Let’s dive in!
1. WEBSITE BLOCKERS
The first way to avoid wasting time on the Internet is to make it inaccessible for you. And you can do this by using website blockers, like Cold Turkey.
Cold Turkey is really easy to use. You just basically define a list of websites that you want to block and then you create a time window in which you want to block them. Once you hit ‘go’ on that timer, between now and the end time you selected, you absolutely cannot visit any of the websites you chose.
It has both a MAC and PC version. There’s currently a paid version that costs about $25 and has some advanced features, but the free version is more than adequate for most people’s needs.
And for those of you that specifically struggle with writing – essays, blog posts, ebooks or whatever (I do too, so I got your back!) – there’s also an app called Cold Turkey Writer that basically turns your computer into a typewriter. It lets you do absolutely nothing except write until you’ve hit a word count goal or a time interval you selected. Pretty cool, isn’t it?
But when you need a greater access to your computer – maybe you need the Internet for research – in those cases, the original Cold Turkey is more practical.
More website blockers suggestions: FocalFilter, Freedom, SelfControl
2. CREATE A WORK ACCOUNT
Creating a work account on your computer will allow you to use it for working only and don’t get distracted. This will be basically an account where you don’t have access to your games, any fun programs – or whatever else you’re into. You will use this account for work and only work. Pinky promise?
3. USE A TOTAL DIFFERENT COMPUTER
Instead of a work account, you could have a work computer. Or, if you’re in college, you could have access to a computer lab or a library computer lab, so that you do your work on a completely different computer that literally doesn’t have any of your favourite softwares on it.
4. USE NO COMPUTER AT ALL
Ok, at first, this might sound a little bit extreme. But stick with me.
“Do I even need to use a computer?”
Because if you’re writing a paper or doing some research, maybe you can just go hit the books in the library – or go back to pen and paper and just sketch some stuff out – do some handwriting and then come to the computer only when you really need it.
So these were some tools that could prevent you from getting distracted in the first place, but what do you do when you’re currently distracted and you realize that you’re procrastinating?
Related post: “Stop procrastinating now! 7 ideas”
Well, this is what I do step-by-step.
(A.) First, I realize that I am distracted and that I am procrastinating. And most of the times this step alone is crucial.
(B.) Then I get rid of anything not related to the task I want to accomplish – like browser pages, stuff on my desk etc. – so that I can focus on the one thing I need to accomplish.
(C.) And after that, I take out the ace up my sleeve: an intense 25 minutes Pomodoro session. You can read more about the power of the Pomodoro technique here (it’s number #5).
I find the Pomodoro technique to be the most effective tool to beat procrastination and avoid getting distracted on the Internet. Actually, whenever I get stuck in a rut and I’m having a slug day – we all have those – a Pomodoro session is what really takes me back on track.
I find it so effective because it’s so simple. I mean, everybody can focus on anything for 25 minutes. And that eventually starts a positive loop.
I really want to point out that this entire blog post wasn’t just about blocking sites out or getting rid of other distractions. It is about building a stronger brain so that your ability to focus and pay attention to block out these distractions can improve.
Focus is like a muscle and it has to be trained but when you’re thrown into this complete distracting environment, where all the websites that distract you are just a click away, it doesn’t have the ability to get trained.
So these tools should be thought of as training wheels. They’re tailoring an environment in which your brain actually has the ability to grow stronger.
But someday your brain can (and will, if you follow the pieces of advice in this blog post) actually cast off these tools and operate within the greater environment while still pushing out distractions and getting great work done. And that should be your end goal.
But sometimes it won’t go as you planned and you’ll end up having a slug day. In those cases, just take it. Allow yourself to have a slug day once in awhile. You deserved it. You earned it. Sometimes it’s OK to feel tired, don’t force it.
Related post: “How to get twice more productive”