Friday, May 7, 2010

Why So Unproductive?

One word:  distractions.

Think of all the things you need to do.  Now look at what you're doing.  That's right... you've surfed onto a blog on the internet.  My guess is it's not the first one you looked at when turned on your computer, and it's not going to be your last stop on the interwebs today.

But think of all the things you need to do.  Is sitting here surfing from to to TMZ really more important than accomplishing your goals?

I know what you're thinking... and the answer is, "I can put you on the spot and ask that question because I am entirely aware that my relationship with the internet is responsible for most of my lost productivity." I'm sure there are lots of theories about internet addiction out there, but I will tell you why I spend so much time on it:  it's easily accessible, it doesn't require any thought, and it's mildly more entertaining than reading academic articles.  After a long day teaching, interacting with dozens of people, I just want to decompress.  So I turn to the internet and three hours later...

So how can you change this pattern of bad behavior?
  1. In keeping with the theme of this blog, make internet your reward.  Writing a dissertation?  Work for an hour, then allow yourself 15 minutes (and only 15 minutes!) of fun internet time.
  2. Unplug yourself from the internet when you're doing work.  Need to look up something for your novel, thesis, gardening club?  Write it down and look it up during your scheduled internet "research time"
  3. Those entertaining blogs like have RSS feeds that will deliver their content to your inbox once a day.  No need to keep hitting refresh!
  4. Set your Facebook page to deliver all notifications to your email inbox and act on them only once a day.  Better yet, tell everyone you're worried about security and deactivate your Facebook account!
  5. Block the sites that really suck you in.  Yes, like you would block porn from a 10 year old.  Even removing sites from your bookmarks/thumbnails can make them less of a distraction.
  6. When you're online and you need to get work done, make yourself invisible on chatlines.  Schedule chats with those people who mean the most to you when you can devote your full attention to them.
  7. Channel that energy into writing a blog that may actually help people be more productive :-)
The internet isn't our only distraction.  Stay tuned for more under the heading "Why So Unproductive?"

1 comment:

  1. Excellent post! Sometimes, I spend too much time surfing in the internet, specially blogs devoted to film/film theory. It's so time-consuming, but, as you said, internet does help to decompress, although it prevents me/us from doing what I'm supposed to be doing.