Five Ways to Manage Distractions While Working Online

Using the internet for work makes online distractions rather easy to come by, and it’s rather difficult to not give in to the temptations which would lead you to surf the internet at random or troll Facebook for hours upon hours when you’re trying to get work done.  So here are some tips to minimize distractions when you’re trying to get work done with the use of the internet.

Use a Dedicated Tool for Browsing

If you have multiple devices (ie, a work computer and an iPad), use one of them for browsing, or if you don’t, you could use a separate browser for any online work that you have.  If you’re able, it’s really best to have a dedicated computer only for work activities, without the distraction of unnecessary programs or files.

Set a Timer

Your attention span only lasts for so long before you lose focus on a particular task.  So, one option is to set a timer for a period of time to complete a task, taking a break afterwards.  This may mean that a particular task would take several “sessions” but it will boost your productivity and focus in the mean time, making you less susceptible to various distractions which otherwise might arise.  Self-policing is one thing, but if you really want to be precise, there are apps like RescueTime which help you track your productivity cycles.

Close Programs that aren’t for Work

Don’t leave open programs which you aren’t working on, and try and minimize desktop clutter.  This should keep you from getting too distracted while trying to work.  Actually, a better thing to do is take this to its logical extreme: de-clutter your work environment – not just your computer desktop, but your desk and work space as well.  You’ll find it much less distracting to try and work without a bunch of visual clutter scattered about your space.

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Minimize Internet Surfing and Social Media

Try to avoid aimlessly surfing the internet, clicking your way through links on blogs or Wikipedia, and using social media sites such as Facebook as much as you can.  If you can’t control this, there are a few browser add-ons to help you limit your time spent on these sort of distractions – StayFocusd is a good one for Google Chrome, and there are similar tools available for Firefox and Safari.

Schedule an Appropriate Amount of Time for Tasks

Just because you’ve set a specific amount of time for a particular task doesn’t mean that you will complete it in that block.  You should account for other factors, like if you’re working with someone else on something, and give yourself a realistic allotment of time to complete a particular task.  But don’t give yourself too much time to do any one thing, as you’ll end up finding other ways to fill that time, thus getting distracted.

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