3 tips and 1 application to stay focused and get thing done online
Do you sometimes have the feeling that technology is slowly beginning to rule you instead of serving you? In my opinion it's really becoming a case of the tail wagging the dogg. I usually get this feeling after spending hours online going from article to article under the assumption that I am doing something valuable only to find out a few hours later that I haven't accomplished anything of value at all. All I have done is add a few bookmarks to my already overloaded Delicious or Bitly account, or some other bookmarking service.
I often had this feeling at the end of every weekend whenever I tried to check what I had done with all that free time that I thought I had at the beginning of the weekend. After a few weekends of tracking time spent online, using the Firefox plugin Mind The Time, I quickly realised that my weekends were not as productive as they should be. I had to do something about it.
My first step was to check what it is that I was doing that I wasn't supposed to be doing. Like Tim Ferriss said, "You can't improve what you can't measure". Since my problem was information overload, I new I had to go on an information diet. My bookmarks were bursting with information. I heard all the information I needed to accomplish the tasks at hand. Searching for information was just an excuse to waste time and pretend to be doing something instead of getting things done. I am sure you know how difficult it is to get started and get the ball rolling. Like someone said somewhere online "getting started with any task is as difficulty as it is easy for a space shuttle to escape gravity". That's why a lot of fuel is burnt during the first stages of the journey. It's exactly the same with us human beings. We need a lot of will power to get started with most tasks that we don't find to be pleasurable.
Do you get the feeling I am doing the same thing here? Anyway, let's put theory into practice and get going on this difficult task of getting things done online by blocking or ignoring all the temptations that keep appearing wherever we look. Here are the 3 simple steps and 1 application that helped me escape information overload and what some people call addiction to the Internet. I prefer calling it a bad habit.
The 3 simple steps
Since I am a fan of using applications to improve productivity, any list that I make would not be complete without at list one application. The web service that I use to get things done online is found at www.minutes.at All you have to do is enter the amount of time you want to spend on a site, write the name of the website, click go and a countdown time will appear on the status bar of your browser. When the time is up, a pop-up message appears to let you know that it's time to get back to work. It's as simple as that. Like I always say, no application will help you to get things done unless you have the willpower and make a habit of stopping whatever you are doing as soon the pop-up message appears. This system works for me.
And a bonus application
Did I mention the fact that I I am a fan of productivity applications? Anyway, here is a bonus Firefox add-on that you can use if the one above does not suit you. It's called LeechBlock. It might just be the right tool for you.
You can find out more about forming new habits to improve productivity in my article Habits or Discipline? or go to Productivity and learn more about all the productivity applications that I use and recommend.
If you have other methods or applications that help you to get things done online please share by leaving a comment below.
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