What are some helpful ways to be productive when connected to the internet?
June 1, 2005 10:55 AM   Subscribe

What are some helpful ways to be productive when connected to the internet? How does one fight the constant draw of trivial news sites, blogs, IM, e-mail, wiki articles, and forums--especially when work is 'net related?

The tabs feature in Firefox is both a blessing and a curse.

We might find ourselves a helpful answer here.
posted by aaronshaf to Computers & Internet (11 answers total)
Quit yer browser. Out of sight, out of mind. I do this, and it works. You just need a little self-discipline.
posted by Dr. Wu at 11:38 AM on June 1, 2005

I missed the "work is 'net-related" part of the question, so the quitting the browser bit isn't helpful. But the self-discipline bit is. fight the urge, man. I dunno what else will do it for you.
posted by Dr. Wu at 11:40 AM on June 1, 2005

"The only way to get rid of temptation is to yield to it."
Oscar Wilde
posted by caddis at 11:42 AM on June 1, 2005

I no longer leave my e-mail open all the time. I still have temptation to check it every half hour or so, but that's better than every thirty seconds.
posted by grouse at 11:56 AM on June 1, 2005

Things that have helped me:

Take breaks.

Change your environment, if you can: go work in a cafe, work at home for a while, etc.

If you're stuck on a particular piece of work, step back and think about the next action, as in something concrete that takes 2 minutes or less to do, that will move it forward.

It's harder for some people to focus than others, so just take whatever measures you have to.
posted by lbergstr at 12:00 PM on June 1, 2005

Allocate a specific amount of time to waste every day, and distribute it any which way you want. Go nuts in that time, and don't feel guilty. Keep track of it.

I write this while procrastinating on an overdue assignment
posted by ori at 12:39 PM on June 1, 2005

1) Export your Firefox bookmarks to bookmarks.html and email it to your personal email. Now delete everything that's not work-related. Import bookmarks.html when you get home. If you see anything else interesting at work, email the link to personal/home email for later reading/browsing/bookmarking.

2) Delete IM if it's not required for work. If it is, create a new account and populate with work contacts only.

3) If you take ori's suggestion, I suggest going nuts during your lunch break. When you finish eating, time's up and it's back to work.

4) Listen to music. I find that music provides enough of a mental diversion to monotonous work that I don't need to look elsewhere.

5) In my line of work, I need to track billed hours on a timekeeping website. I set it to my homepage. A few minutes of entering records makes the work I do have to finish feel like Disneyland. In other words, find a long-term task/project that you can always fall back on.
posted by junesix at 3:19 PM on June 1, 2005

Best answer: I leave my browser open to this.

No more procrastination.
posted by incessant at 4:42 PM on June 1, 2005

Go cold turkey for a few days. Get rid of anything non-work related. Tell any family members that may need to reach you to physically call you if it's an emergency or something important.

It's terrible at first, but as you immerse yourself in your work, it will get better.

Once the few days are passed, you'll realize you never really needed that stuff.
posted by tozturk at 9:26 PM on June 1, 2005 [1 favorite]

I said more or less the same thing in a thread yesterday but: allow yourself as many breaks as you like, and for as long as you like - but only to meditate. This enables you to go cold turkey off frivolous web sites as tozturk suggests while still feeling that you have somewhere to escape to. As a bonus, meditating is the most unstimulating thing you can do, it will clear your head and make you want to go back to work. You'll work more effectively as well; when you cultivate mindfulness through meditation you get insights into better ways to do things.
posted by teleskiving at 1:33 AM on June 2, 2005 [1 favorite]

Merlin has just posted an interesting script to 43 folders - Webolodeon. It's a greasemonkey script which pops up a box every 5 minutes to remind you to get back to work.
posted by blag at 1:35 PM on June 2, 2005

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