On-line work is more and more vital to your success these days, whether you work in an office, run a small business, or are a coach or solopreneur.
So today I’d like to take a look at on-line work and some specific time challenges that it presents.
Your on-line time challenges are a little bit different from time challenges you confront in the rest of your daily life. That’s because it can be tough to maintain focus when temptations like e-mail, Google, Wikipedia, Amazon … and literally hundreds of thousands of other sites are just a quick click away.
Have you ever been in the position of suddenly ‘coming to’ in front of your computer and realizing that you have ‘lost’ half an hour? That’s a familiar experience for many of us, so I’d like to share 5 powerful and proven time tips that will help you maintain your focus on-line and stay in charge of your time, even in the face of thousands of interesting internet distractions!
5 Time Tips to Keep You On Track On-Line!
- Know where you are starting – what’s your on-line baseline? Keep a log of your on-line activities for a week. This helps you set realistic expectations. Make no judgments. Just track how much time you actually spend on activities like checking the news, e-mails, and other things on the Internet. Use broad categories to start – you can always fine-tune this later if you want. You are just looking for the facts. Once you know where you are, you can make better choices to get to where you want to go!
- Close computer distractions to help you focus. Turn off your e-mail (or at least turn off the sound so you aren’t continually interrupted by new message alerts). Do the same with your instant messaging and RSS feeds. Setting clear boundaries helps you stay on task when you’re on-line.
- Keep your goal front and center. Don’t give in to the temptation to explore all the fascinating information that your search uncovers. Return to your task as soon as you have the answer you need. Tip # 4 will help you with this!
- Keep a running list of interesting links. Clip or bookmark links you want to look at later. There are plenty of on-line tools like Evernote that make this very easy. Also, make an explicit promise to yourself, to set aside time to explore these links later. Knowing that you’ll come back makes it much easier to let go and refocus NOW!
- Keep your promise to yourself! Make time to revisit those links. Maybe it can be a reward for completing a task, or a planned bit of relaxing ‘playtime.’ Keeping your promise is important, both as a way to reward yourself and to build trust in your follow-through. It also helps you keep work and play separate, making both more meaningful.
BONUS TIP: Don’t get “Lost in (Cyber) Space! Set clear time parameters for your tasks. Using a timer is a big help with this. It’s so easy to lose track of time while you’re on-line! So before you begin, set a stop time for yourself and, when that time arrives … stop!
Stopping when you promised yourself can be a struggle so, if it’s feasible, you might try setting an alarm in another room. This moves you away from your computer and from the temptation. You could also try planning your work so that your on-line time occurs before you have to leave for an appointment.
The bottom line is that, while time on the internet is necessary for marketing and other business-related activities, it is a challenge to stay focused. If on-line time is taking you away from other things you need to be doing, then these tips will help. When you take positive control of your internet activity, you are not only finding more focus and productivity … you are also finding more time!
And if Twitter is one of those on-line traps that you find yourself tempted by, you can definitely eliminate that frustration — and much more. I’ve developed a step-by-step, time-saving guide called The Twitter Trap that helps you create your Twitter Time Plan and avoid the Twitter Trap along with ANY on-line time traps. Learn more HERE and start taking charge of ALL of your on-line time!