I saw this quote on a mailing list:
For personal reasons, I do not browse the web from my computer. (I also have not net connection much of the time.) To look at page I send mail to a demon which runs wget and mails the page back to me. It is very efficient use of my time, but it is slow in real time. — Richard Stallman
Basically, if he wants a page, he sends an email to a special address asking for it and the page is emailed back to him. That is definitely one way to keep from wasting time on the internet.
A lot of times the internet doesn’t help productivity because it wastes just as much time as it saves. Here are some tips for keeping focused.
Block Ads – Ads are there to distract you and get you to do something different. If you can block them out, there is less to keep you from focusing on the task at hand.
Two Browsers – Sometimes using one browser for work and one for personal use can be a good idea. It forces you to think about whether you are saving or wasting time.
Disconnect – I know some of my most productive times have been in areas where I have limited internet connectivity. Some routers will let you schedule times to block access. For example, you could block internet access every day from 8am to 10am to help force you to do non-internet related work.
Slow Connection – Sometimes having a slow connection can bring good balance. If you can get to what you need, but it is too painfully slow to jump around unnecessarily, you will naturally limit your web use to just the minimum necessary.
Time Audit – Knowing where your time is going can be a good way to keep your browsing in check. Check out our post on how to do a time audit.
Auto logging – There are applications that will keep track of what apps you are using on your computer and what sites you are visiting. Check out SLife for some software with which to do this. You can download their older, free client here (which is the version I’ve used).
What techniques do you use to help keep from wasting time on the internet?