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Does the Internet Really Increase your Productivity?

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Does the Internet Really Increase your Productivity?
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    Because of the power of the web, we assume the internet must be saving us time and money. It is true that if used carefully the internet can increase our productivity. However, at the same time it can create additional burdens on our time, negating any benefits we may have got. Using the internet for an hour a day, can save us considerable time in shopping, business, and social activity. However, that doesn’t mean spending 7 hours a day, is going to give us 7 times the benefit. Does the internet make you more productive or is it just an addictive tool for wasting your time?

    How to Make sure the Internet Increases your Productivity.

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    1. Email.

    • Is the message really necessary? Don’t send a message for the sake of it.
    • Keep it short. 5 sentences or less is a good standard to aim for.
    • Don’t check email compulsively. 2 or 3 times a day should be sufficient.
    • Don’t check email, just because you’ve got nothing better to do.
    • When you do check email do it thoroughly. I.e. either delete messages or archive the in a suitable folder.
    • Avoid at all costs getting into arguments and disputes via email. Email is impersonal and tends to aggravate conflict. It is better to wait, cool down and try speak to the other in person. Don’t waste time in meaningless flame wars.
    • If you have several email addresses, consider having them forwarded to a central email account. Although, it may be good to keep a separation between personal and business.


    2. News and web surfing

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    Since I started using the internet, I very rarely buy a newspaper or magazine. Through RSS feeds and Google News, you can more accurately search for news that is both relevant and of interest to yourself. However, news and social networking sites can take up more time than we may realise. Checking sites for interesting stories requires little effort; it is a passive task easier than doing something productive. Therefore, whenever we have a spare 10 minutes or feel like a break we start surfing. But, because there is so much information we can be drawn in and spend many hours just reading and being unproductive. Try to monitor and limit the time you spend surfing. Always be aware that the time we spend clicking through pages, could be better spent on actually doing something.

    3. Clear Purpose

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    When you turn on the computer have a clear idea of what you wish to achieve. Measure your productivity by what you have achieved and not by how much time you spend.

    4. Don’t Get Addicted To Forums

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    Forums can be useful for gaining information and making contacts; but don’t get addicted to following every irrelevant thread. If you are not careful, forums can become the perfect time waster.

    5. When 115 billion web pages are too much.

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    The vastness and unlimited quantity of the internet is both a boon and disadvantage. Getting information from the net is like getting a cup of water, sitting under the Niagara falls. We certainly get a cup of water, the problem is that we also get far more than we need. When surfing the internet there is no shortage of information. The trick is to get the information that we need. Be ruthless with your bookmarks, time and RSS feeds. Make sure you set up the internet to get what you want, not what other people wish to give you.

    Tejvan Pettinger works as an Economics teacher in Oxford. In his spare time he enjoys writing on topics of self-improvement, meditation and productivity. He updates a blog on writing, and productivity tips at Net Writing.

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    Last Updated on October 21, 2021

    How to Create Your Own Ritual to Conquer Time Wasters and Laziness

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    How to Create Your Own Ritual to Conquer Time Wasters and Laziness

    Life is wasted in the in-between times. The time between when your alarm first rings and when you finally decide to get out of bed. The time between when you sit at your desk and when productive work begins. The time between making a decision and doing something about it.

    Slowly, your day is whittled away from all the unused in-between moments. Eventually, time wasters, laziness, and procrastination get the better of you.

    The solution to reclaim these lost middle moments is by creating rituals. Every culture on earth uses rituals to transfer information and encode behaviors that are deemed important. Personal rituals can help you build a better pattern for handling everything from how you wake up to how you work.

    Unfortunately, when most people see rituals, they see pointless superstitions. Indeed, many rituals are based on a primitive understanding of the world. But by building personal rituals, you get to encode the behaviors you feel are important and cut out the wasted middle moments.

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    Program Your Own Algorithms

    Another way of viewing rituals is by seeing them as computer algorithms. An algorithm is a set of instructions that is repeated to get a result.

    Some algorithms are highly efficient, sorting or searching millions of pieces of data in a few seconds. Other algorithms are bulky and awkward, taking hours to do the same task.

    By forming rituals, you are building algorithms for your behavior. Take the delayed and painful pattern of waking up, debating whether to sleep in for another two minutes, hitting the snooze button, repeat until almost late for work. This could be reprogrammed to get out of bed immediately, without debating your decision.

    How to Form a Ritual

    I’ve set up personal rituals for myself for handling e-mail, waking up each morning, writing articles, and reading books. Far from making me inflexible, these rituals give me a useful default pattern that works best 99% of the time. Whenever my current ritual won’t work, I’m always free to stop using it.

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    Forming a ritual isn’t too difficult, and the same principles for changing habits apply:

    1. Write out your sequence of behavior. I suggest starting with a simple ritual of only 3-4 steps maximum. Wait until you’ve established a ritual before you try to add new steps.
    2. Commit to following your ritual for thirty days. This step will take the idea and condition it into your nervous system as a habit.
    3. Define a clear trigger. When does your ritual start? A ritual to wake up is easy—the sound of your alarm clock will work. As for what triggers you to go to the gym, read a book or answer e-mail—you’ll have to decide.
    4. Tweak the Pattern. Your algorithm probably won’t be perfectly efficient the first time. Making a few tweaks after the first 30-day trial can make your ritual more useful.

    Ways to Use a Ritual

    Based on the above ideas, here are some ways you could implement your own rituals:

    1. Waking Up

    Set up a morning ritual for when you wake up and the next few things you do immediately afterward. To combat the grogginess after immediately waking up, my solution is to do a few pushups right after getting out of bed. After that, I sneak in ninety minutes of reading before getting ready for morning classes.

    2. Web Usage

    How often do you answer e-mail, look at Google Reader, or check Facebook each day? I found by taking all my daily internet needs and compressing them into one, highly-efficient ritual, I was able to cut off 75% of my web time without losing any communication.

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    3. Reading

    How much time do you get to read books? If your library isn’t as large as you’d like, you might want to consider the rituals you use for reading. Programming a few steps to trigger yourself to read instead of watching television or during a break in your day can chew through dozens of books each year.

    4. Friendliness

    Rituals can also help with communication. Set up a ritual of starting a conversation when you have opportunities to meet people.

    5. Working

    One of the hardest barriers when overcoming procrastination is building up a concentrated flow. Building those steps into a ritual can allow you to quickly start working or continue working after an interruption.

    6. Going to the gym

    If exercising is a struggle, encoding a ritual can remove a lot of the difficulty. Set up a quick ritual for going to exercise right after work or when you wake up.

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    7. Exercise

    Even within your workouts, you can have rituals. Spacing the time between runs or reps with a certain number of breaths can remove the guesswork. Forming a ritual of doing certain exercises in a particular order can save time.

    8. Sleeping

    Form a calming ritual in the last 30-60 minutes of your day before you go to bed. This will help slow yourself down and make falling asleep much easier. Especially if you plan to get up full of energy in the morning, it will help if you remove insomnia.

    8. Weekly Reviews

    The weekly review is a big part of the GTD system. By making a simple ritual checklist for my weekly review, I can get the most out of this exercise in less time. Originally, I did holistic reviews where I wrote my thoughts on the week and progress as a whole. Now, I narrow my focus toward specific plans, ideas, and measurements.

    Final Thoughts

    We all want to be productive. But time wasters, procrastination, and laziness sometimes get the better of us. If you’re facing such difficulties, don’t be afraid to make use of these rituals to help you conquer them.

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    More Tips to Conquer Time Wasters and Procrastination

     

    Featured photo credit: RODOLFO BARRETO via unsplash.com

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