How To: Stay Focused and Be Productive Online

Stay Focused and Be Productive Online

The Internet has had a huge influence on many areas of our lives, but, in particular, has resulted in nothing short of a revolution in the way we work. The web has offered the sort of flexibility to the individual that few people would have dreamed of just a couple of decades ago. And where once a global marketplace was available only to a handful of multinational corporations, today thanks to the Internet, we can all access it.

However, the seemingly boundless world of opportunity provided by the 7.5 billion web pages available on the net, is tempered by an equally enormous number of different ways to waste time and be unproductive.

The temptation to spend time Tweeting, updating one's Facebook status, or playing online games, instead of engaging with productive activities is too much for many people. One of the best ways to improve our productivity is simply to manage our time more effectively. Some of the tips that are recommended by productive people to maximise your time efficiency are:

Step 1: Don't Multi-Task

Switching from one task to another in quick succession is counter-productive. It is much more constructive to focus one's energy on a single task and follow it through to completion.

Step 2: Eliminate Distractions

Don't be afraid to take your phone off the hook, switch your mobile phone off, or even your Internet connection if you have the information that you require from the web.

Step 3: Set Clear Goals and Time Limits

Before you begin working set yourself a clear goal of what you wish to achieve. And work in manageable chunks of between 60 and 120 minutes and then allow yourself a break. You will come back to your work refreshed, which is much more effective than slaving away for long periods until your concentration has dissipated.

Step 4: Break Tasks Down into Manageable Chunks

Focussing on the ultimate goal of a huge task can be demotivating. Break your work down into smaller tasks that can be achieved more regularly. Or, as if often said in sport, focus on the process not the outcome.

Step 5: Use Browser Add-Ons to Remove Temptation

In addition to the above tips, a useful tool which many people are not aware of is a browser add-on which enables an Internet user to block certain sites, domains or pages. These add-ons tend to be fully customisable, allowing the user to decide whether pages are blocked indefinitely, between certain times, or on certain days.

There are two well-regarded browser add-ons for Google's Chrome that enable the user to block sites. The first of these add-ons is WasteNoTime, which allows the user to track the amount of time spent on either a daily, weekly or monthly basis on various sites, as well as all of the blocking parameters discussed previously. There is also another Chrome add-on with similar functionality called StayFocusd.

The most popular browser add-on of this nature for Firefox is called LeechBlock. This program includes many functions similar to those featured in the packages available for Chrome.

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