You need to use your computer for work and staying connected. But somewhere along the way, there are distractions, and you lose track of time and that hurts everyday life. With a little planning and a few tools, you can keep that from happening if you want to.

Step 1: Identifying the problem

You can’t cut yourself off from the Internet entirely. And when you’re online, it’s likely that you’re going to open sites for fun, along with the ones you need for work. But how much time is actually wasted on these diversions? Are you too good at wasting time? To check, download RescueTime. It’s a free programme that you can download for your computer, and it analyses how you’re using the Internet, giving a breakdown of the time spent on different sites. You can spot inefficiencies and learn to manage your time effectively.

Step 2: Limit access

Once you know which sites are able to draw you in, it’s up to you to use self- control. Or more accurately—SelfControl (Selfcontrolapp.com). That’s a free Mac app, and Windows users can get Mee Timer. What these apps do is let you create a list of restricted websites and enable you to block them, or permit limited access.

Step 3: Focus on work when you work

The reason you’re spending so much time on the computer isn’t to have fun, chat or surf. You’re on the machine to work, but it’s easy to get distracted, with notifications popping up from the browser, and large cluttered office programs don’t make it easier to work either. Try something like Omm Writer —this beautifully designed word-processing software will help you stay focused. It’s a clear, distraction-free screen, with custom audio that plays with every key you type, and soothing background music to help you focus and keep away from distractions.

Step 4: No group chat sites or programs

Sure, you might want to keep access to Facebook and Twitter even if they are a distraction, but it’s best to cut out group chat sites and programs entirely. The fact is that there’s no control over the people you find on these networks—it’s not a vetted circle of friends like Facebook but rather an anonymous crowd of people. If you’ve had a problem with Internet addiction, then such an environment is a strong enabler, and should be avoided completely.

Step 5: No private screens

When you’re working on the computer at home, position it in a public location, so anyone can see what you’re doing. There’s no technical reason not to!

Step 6: Switch to a basic phone

This is an extension of the previous point. Our phones are, by default, private screens. And today, anything you do on a computer, can be done with a phone. Do you feel you’re spending too much time in the virutal world? Then it might be a good idea to buy a basic phone, which can be used as just a phone, so you get your work done and aren’t tempted by distractions.

Close