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5 Ways to Stop Wasting Time Online

5 Ways to Stop Wasting Time Online

Do you sometimes find yourself online placing bets with total strangers in article comment sections about whether or not Kimye will name their next baby South West when you should be working to make your next deadline? Don’t feel bad; it’s a problem many of us face. There are websites and discussion threads completely dedicated to cat videos, and Ivy League institution. The University of Pennsylvania even has a class called “Wasting Time on the Internet.”

If you’re one of those people who just can’t seem to quit tweeting, liking, or Googling, here are five tips on how to stop wasting time and get shiz done.

1. Log Off Social Media – Yes, All of It

Humans are hard-wired to seek out social connections. We crave attention and a feeling of being close to one another that we often satisfy through the use of social media. It doesn’t even have to come from our own friends. You probably check out George Takei’s Facebook page more than you do most of the people you went to college with.

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One way you might’ve heard suggested on how to stop wasting time on social media is to shut it off. Before beginning work or sitting down to study, log out of your social media accounts, delete them from your phone, or block them through your browser settings to reduce the amount of time you can procrastinate.

2. The Repeat Test

In order to see just how much time we’re wasting sometimes we need to write it down. The Repeat Test is a great tool to help you keep track of your daily habits and activities and how doing them made you feel.

Start by drawing a table representing each hour of your day. At the beginning of every hour, take a minute or two to write down exactly how you spent the last 60 minutes, along with a short note of how each task made you feel. At the end of the day, go over the list and review which habits were productive and which need to be eliminated.

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3. There’s an App for That

Yes, there are apps to help keep you from Googling all day long for the newest iPhone product to hit the market. Apps like Facebook Nanny can help limit the time you spend on social media. Other apps like Concentrate allow you to specify which sites should be blocked and which you might need to visit, while an app like Checky can keep track of your online habits and let you know where you need to work on self control.

4. Schedule Your Internet Time

You schedule your workout times, possibly your meals, and your travel plans, so why shouldn’t you schedule your Internet time too? Instead of leaving yourself free to hop online willy-nilly throughout the day, schedule specific times when you’ll allow yourself to browse the web.

Whatever posts you see that look interesting in the morning will still be there in the evening, so it’s not necessary to click on it right away. Make note of your favorite games, social media pages, and news sites and schedule a window of time to visit them. Just make sure you stick to this schedule.

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5. Take Work Breaks

Stopping your study session or workday in order to play online could indicate you simply need a break. Research has shown regular breaks help us prevent boredom while also helping us retain information over time. In fact, studies show taking a break every 90 minutes could improve our productivity.

Set a timer for work sessions, then take a short five minute break to help maximize your potential each day. Walking, eating, and even looking at cute animal pictures can help us relax and recoup energy throughout the day, so this is the perfect opportunity to log onto Facebook for a quick Grumpy Cat fix.

Training yourself to focus and avoid playing around online is tough, so use the tools above to help you get started. Remember, it’s all about willpower. Learn how to assert yours and you may find yourself getting more done than ever before.

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Featured photo credit: raneko via flickr.com

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Last Updated on September 20, 2018

8 Ways to Train Your Brain to Learn Faster and Remember More

8 Ways to Train Your Brain to Learn Faster and Remember More

You go to the gym to train your muscles. You run outside or go for hikes to train your endurance. Or, maybe you do neither of those, but still wish you exercised more.

Well, here is how to train one of the most important parts of your body: your brain.

When you train your brain, you will:

  • Avoid embarrassing situations. You remember his face, but what was his name?
  • Be a faster learner in all sorts of different skills. No problem for you to pick up a new language or new management skill.
  • Avoid diseases that hit as you get older. Alzheimer’s will not be affecting you.

So how to train your brain and improve your cognitive skills?

1. Work your memory

Twyla Tharp, a NYC-based renowned choreographer has come up with the following memory workout:

When she watches one of her performances, she tries to remember the first twelve to fourteen corrections she wants to discuss with her cast without writing them down.

If you think this is anything less than a feat, then think again. In her book The Creative Habit she says that most people cannot remember more than three.

The practice of both remembering events or things and then discussing them with others has actually been supported by brain fitness studies.

Memory activities that engage all levels of brain operation—receiving, remembering and thinking—help to improve the function of the brain.

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Now, you may not have dancers to correct, but you may be required to give feedback on a presentation, or your friends may ask you what interesting things you saw at the museum. These are great opportunities to practically train your brain by flexing your memory muscles.

What is the simplest way to help yourself remember what you see? Repetition.

For example, say you just met someone new:

“Hi, my name is George”

Don’t just respond with, “Nice to meet you”. Instead, say, “Nice to meet you George.”

Got it? Good.

2. Do something different repeatedly

By actually doing something new over and over again, your brain wires new pathways that help you do this new thing better and faster.

Think back to when you were three years old. You surely were strong enough to hold a knife and a fork just fine. Yet, when you were eating all by yourself, you were creating a mess.

It was not a matter of strength, you see. It was a matter of cultivating more and better neural pathways that would help you eat by yourself just like an adult does.

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And guess what? With enough repetition you made that happen!

But how does this apply to your life right now?

Say you are a procrastinator. The more you don’t procrastinate, the more you teach your brain not to wait for the last minute to make things happen.

Now, you might be thinking “Duh, if only not procrastinating could be that easy!”

Well, it can be. By doing something really small, that you wouldn’t normally do, but is in the direction of getting that task done, you will start creating those new precious neural pathways.

So if you have been postponing organizing your desk, just take one paper and put in its right place. Or, you can go even smaller. Look at one piece of paper and decide where to put it: Trash? Right cabinet? Another room? Give it to someone?

You don’t actually need to clean up that paper; you only need to decide what you need to do with it.

That’s how small you can start. And yet, those neural pathways are still being built. Gradually, you will transform yourself from a procrastinator to an in-the-moment action taker.

3. Learn something new

It might sound obvious, but the more you use your brain, the better its going to perform for you.

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For example, learning a new instrument improves your skill of translating something you see (sheet music) to something you actually do (playing the instrument).

Learning a new language exposes your brain to a different way of thinking, a different way of expressing yourself.

You can even literally take it a step further, and learn how to dance. Studies indicate that learning to dance helps seniors avoid Alzheimer’s. Not bad, huh?

4. Follow a brain training program

The Internet world can help you improve your brain function while lazily sitting on your couch. A clinically proven program like BrainHQ can help you improve your memory, or think faster, by just following their brain training exercises.

5. Work your body

You knew this one was coming didn’t you? Yes indeed, exercise does not just work your body; it also improves the fitness of your brain.

Even briefly exercising for 20 minutes facilitates information processing and memory functions. But it’s not just that–exercise actually helps your brain create those new neural connections faster. You will learn faster, your alertness level will increase, and you get all that by moving your body.

Now, if you are not already a regular exerciser, and already feel guilty that you are not helping your brain by exercising more, try a brain training exercise program like Exercise Bliss.

Remember, just like we discussed in #2, by training your brain to do something new repeatedly, you are actually changing yourself permanently.

6. Spend time with your loved ones

If you want optimal cognitive abilities, then you’ve got to have meaningful relationships in your life.  Talking with others and engaging with your loved ones helps you think more clearly, and it can also lift your mood.

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If you are an extrovert, this holds even more weight for you. At a class at Stanford University, I learned that extroverts actually use talking to other people as a way to understand and process their own thoughts.

I remember that the teacher told us that after a personality test said she was an extrovert, she was surprised. She had always thought of herself as an introvert. But then, she realized how much talking to others helped her frame her own thoughts, so she accepted her new-found status as an extrovert.

7. Avoid crossword puzzles

Many of us, when we think of brain fitness, think of crossword puzzles. And it’s true–crossword puzzles do improve our fluency, yet studies show they are not enough by themselves.

Are they fun? Yes. Do they sharpen your brain? Not really.

Of course, if you are doing this for fun, then by all means go ahead. If you are doing it for brain fitness, then you might want to choose another activity

8. Eat right – and make sure dark chocolate is included

Foods like fish, fruits, and vegetables help your brain perform optimally. Yet, you might not know that dark chocolate gives your brain a good boost as well.

When you eat chocolate, your brain produces dopamine. And dopamine helps you learn faster and remember better. Not to mention, chocolate contains flavonols, antioxidants, which also improve your brain functions.

So next time you have something difficult to do, make sure you grab a bite or two of dark chocolate!

The bottom line

Now that you know how to train your brain, it’s actually time to start doing.

Don’t just consume this content and then go on with your life as if nothing has changed. Put this knowledge into action and become smarter than ever!

Featured photo credit: Unsplash via unsplash.com

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