The Internet gives us all the knowledge we could dream of at an unbelievable rate. So fast, in fact, that it can sometimes feel impossible to filter through its massive cloud of distraction and stay motivated to get work done.
To remain focused when using the Internet you need to:
Develop a solid plan before opening your web browser.
Keep your number of tabs open to a minimum.
Identify your biggest distraction and monitor your time spent with it.
For me, monitoring distractions is not the same as cutting them out altogether. One of my favorites is YouTube music videos. I use these as a sort of reward for goals I set while online and have found myself more productive in-between breaks.
How many tabs do you have open right now?
Data collected by Slate Magazine shows us that 38% of web readers leave pages like this one before getting past the 1st paragraph. (You’ve made it so far on this tab!)
Why is this?
Because we like to go fast. It’s hard to stick with a detailed academic paper on, say, Mervyn-Sterne’s benevolent, endless resource library when shifting tabs would bring us back into the comfort of our favorite music artist or indulging ourselves in a juicy dose of simulated social interaction on Facebook?
Concentrating your online pursuits away from distraction is by no means easy. In the time it took to write this article, for example, I have spent nearly as much time flipping through my emails, reading articles (well, half-reading) that were shared on Facebook, and deciding and on a good “get-work-done” playlist.
Online distractions do have their place, though, as the Internet can introduce us to a rich world of culture and social knowledge that may not necessarily be relevant to our task at hand.
We just need to take charge of our time. Be wary of all the web writers, bloggers, and the Googlers and gogglers who creep into our online space.
For more tips on staying centered while online, check out this wikihow article. It’s a good read – if you can make it past the first paragraph!