Are Online Distractions Limiting Your Personal Productivity?

The computer is one of 'I think I found the problem with your spreadsheet -- it's a sudoku.' - An Andertoons Cartoonman’s best inventions (in my humble opinion) for boosting personal productivity. It can also be one of the greatest time sucks when we end up checking email or surfing the web instead of doing the work we know we need to do.

Most of my work is done on my Macbook laptop, and it’s easy for me to fall into the trap of checking email too much because it’s just a click away.  Does anyone else struggle with this, or is it just me?

Here are some tips I’ve discovered to help improve focus and reduce or eliminate online distractions when working on the computer:

  • Have set times when you check email – maybe 3-4 times a day (unless your job demands a more urgent response).
  • Limit personal web surfing or game playing to your lunch hour or break times.
  • Use a timer to set a time limit for checking email or personal web surfing.
  • Post a note on your computer, or at your workstation, that asks you, “Am I on Task Right Now?”
  • Do a daily or weekly review at the end of each day or week to track your progress.
  • Keep a time journal to track where your time goes.
  • Unsubscribe from email newsletters you no longer read or that distract you from focusing on what’s important in your life and work right now.

What else would you add to the list?

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