Online Work and Its Challenges: 5 Timely Tips

routines help with online work
Online work is a challenge you can tame.

Online work is where many of us spend our time now, given the current state of the world.

Indeed, hundreds of thousands of people, if they are lucky enough to have jobs, are engaged in some form of online work these days. So, if you are interested in being more efficient and effective in how you use your available energy, then sharpening your online time management skills is a good place to start.

Online Work Offers Particular Challenges

The challenges presented by online work are a little bit different than those 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, Facebook, Twitter, 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?

5 Time Tips for Online Work

This isn’t an uncommon experience at all, so I’d like to share 5 powerful and proven time tips that will help you maintain your focus and stay in charge of your time, even in the face of the most interesting internet distractions imaginable.

1. Know where you are starting.

Discover your online baseline. This is important because it helps you set realistic expectations for yourself.  I suggest that you keep an internet log for a week. There are apps that can help you with this if you’d rather automate the process.

Make no judgments. Just track how much time you actually spend on activities like checking the news, e-mails, and other things online. Use broad categories to start – you can always fine-tune this later if you want. You are just looking for the facts because once you have them in front of you, you can make informed choices.

2. Focus on the task at hand.

Close down any computer functions that might be distracting. Turn off your e-mail (or turn off the notification sound so you aren’t continually alerted about new messages).  Do the same with your instant messaging and RSS feeds. Setting this boundary for yourself greatly enhances your ability to stay on task.

3. Explore wisely.

Keep your goal front and center when searching the net. Don’t give in to the temptation to read all the interesting links that your search uncovers. Return to your task as soon as you have the answer you need.  The next tip will help with this.

4. Keep a list.

When you return to your task, you don’t have to lose those interesting links you discovered.  Clip or bookmark those links using any of the excellent services available, like Evernote, Pinterest, OneNote, and others.  Also, make an explicit promise to yourself, to set aside time to explore these links later. Knowing that you’ll come back later makes it easier to let go and refocus in the present.

5. And keep your promise.

Set a specific time to revisit those links.  Maybe it can be a reward for completing a task or a planned time of relaxation.  This is important, both as a way to reward yourself and to build trust in your follow-through.  And it has the added benefit of helping you keep work and play separate. This is a boundary that makes both more meaningful.

Online Work Bonus Tip: 

Set clear time parameters for your tasks.  To accomplish this I strongly advise you to begin the practice of using a timer.  It is very easy to lose track of time while you are on the computer. So before you begin, set a stop time for yourself and, when that time arrives, stop. 

This can be challenging. So, if you struggle with stopping (and it’s logistically feasible), you can try setting an alarm in another room.  This moves you away from your computer (and away from the temptation).   Another thing to try, if you have difficulty pulling yourself away from the internet, is to plan your work so that your online time occurs before you have another commitment.

The bottom line is that, while online work is increasingly necessary for many jobs, it is a challenge to stay focused. When you take positive control of your internet activity, you are not only finding more focus and productivity, you are also finding more time.

So how will you start improving your life today by deciding how YOU want to take charge of online time?

For more help…

For many people engaged in online work, it’s important to be visible and active on social networks. But it’s challenging because distractions on the web are tempting. And when you’re busy, that can be disastrous.

Maybe you give in, just for a second. Then you feel like you’ve wasted time, fallen further behind, and your stress grows. It’s an energy-draining cycle that no one needs. So, today I’m sharing a new Finding Time resource. It’s titled “Step Out of the Social Media Trap: 5 Keys to Engagement and Success While Staying on Top of Your Time” and it contains tips, tools, and practical advice that I’ve shared with my clients through time. Now I’m sharing it with you.

Social networking needn’t be a time drain for you. Step Out of the Social Media Trap offers a blueprint for setting and maintaining time boundaries and increasing your productivity. It applies to your online work and also to LOTS of other areas in your life.

Eliminate the frustration of this sneaky time trap. Here’s your very own, step-by-step, time-saving guide that will help you create your Social Media Time Plan and find time for what matters most to you. Learn more HERE

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