How to Stay Focused when You Work on the Internet

Distractions are part of life, especially when you decide to do something important (you know, like earning income). The things in the surroundings grab more of your attention than the task at hand. This happens frequently when you have to work on the internet. Even in the office where there are fewer distractions around, the internet itself becomes the greatest medium of interruption and you find yourself browsing the web, checking out Facebook, watching videos on YouTube or simply checking your email.

You convince yourself that you’ll focus on the work at hand once you’ve watched one last Jimmy Fallon skit, or scrolled down your newsfeed just a little further and checked in to see what your ex is up to (otherwise known as stalking), and before you realize it, another hour has passed.

Once you learn how to stay focused on the task you’re doing, you will realize that you can complete your work very quickly and end each day with a sense of accomplishment.

It has been found that in the office employees get distracted after working on the internet for about 15 minutes. That means, on average, only 15 minutes of work is completed before countless hours of wasted time perusing social media sites. If you’re working for someone else and they haven’t fired you from your lack of productivity and you’re complacent with where you are in your career, keep on keepin’ on. However, if you’re your own boss and your income depends on your output, remember that procrastination is the biggest form of self-sabotage that exists. Are you in it to win it, or simply along for the ride? The choice is yours.

Here are some tips to help you stay focused when you have you work on the internet either from home or at office:

  • If you don’t require the internet, turn it off while you are working to concentrate more on the task at hand.
  • Plan ahead what you want to achieve during the entire day at office or at home. This way you will be aware of all the tasks before even starting the work.
  • Complete hour-to-hour gut checks. Set a reminder for every hour and ask yourself if you’re doing the most productive thing possible at this point. If not, you have a decision to make to either redirect your focus towards productivity or continue on, knowing that you’re sabotaging your own success.
  • Close all irrelevant windows on your computer to pay attention to what is important.
  • Working for hours at a stretch is not possible for anyone no matter how workaholic a person is, so take a break every now and again, eat something to boost your energy level and then get back to work to stay more focused.
  • Use helpful tools to keep time-draining, productivity-stealing, actions at bay:
    • StayFocused is a Google Chrome extension that helps you stay focused on work by restricting the amount of time you can spend on time-wasting websites. Best of all, if you change the settings to increase or decrease time allowed for waste, it gives snarky little comments. When I reduced my time for Facebook, I received a celebratory slow clap. It’s like they know me!
    • Kill News Feed is another Chrome extension that prevents you from being distracted on Facebook. You’ll still get your messages and notifications, however news feed posts won’t distract you.
    • 1Password and LastPass are password managers that integrate with your web browser to automatically log you into websites. They can also enter credit card information and complete registration forms. These apps are huge time savers and keep you from stressing over remembering passwords for less frequently, but still vital websites.
    • Google Drive – When you’re working with others, Google Drive is a great place to not only store images and documents, but to work on them together in real time.
    • Asana – The ultimate task management tool that allows teams to share, organize, plan, assign tasks, and track progress.

There are many other timesaving, productivity-increasing applications like Evernote and Dropbox that are essential to organization outside of the paper and pen world.

What are your favorite productivity apps and how do you prevent yourself from procrastinating when working on the internet?

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