“The Internet is like trying to get a glass of water by standing under the Niagra falls.”
The problem is not the lack of water, but its capacity to drown us.
The internet has a similar infinite capacity that at times can overwhelm us. There is so much “information” – things to see and read, that if we are not careful, we will be distracted and not achieve anything useful.
Here are some tips to gain greater productivity when working on the internet. This is the first part in a series of posts to help increase productivity and efficiency whilst working on the net.
1. Check stats and Email Once a day.
This may sound quite difficult, but if we are honest with ourselves, we really don’t need to check our inbox for the 38th time today.
If you check email once a day, you can set aside time to answer all emails in a timely fashion. If you open an email, whilst doing something else, you may forget to respond, or not have time to write a measured response.
2. Have a Clear Focus of what you are going to Do.
Before turning on the computer have a clear focus of what you want to do / achieve. If you just switch the computer on, you will find it is easy to start browsing – going through news sites, social bookmarking, checking emails – anything, apart from doing anything productive. If you want to add a web page, or blog entry, do that and don’t get distracted.
3. Make Writing a Priority.
The Secret (well its not really a secret) to successful blogging is writing good quality content. Therefore, we need to create time to write. However, it is difficult to write with the numerous potential distractions of the internet. I find my most productive writing periods occur, when I have a laptop but no internet access. If you have no internet access, you are forced to focus on writing – there is nothing else to distract you. (It’s also a good excuse for taking your laptop to a coffee shop.)
4. Make A Plan
If you have 2 hours you might like to divide your time up like this.
The Ideal Plan:
1. Writing content for your website (60%)
2. Reading other relavant blogs and websites for inspiration (10%)
3. Improving Design and attractiveness of your blog (10%)
4. Looking at your Stats for successful keywords and sites linking to you (5%)
5. Commenting on other blogs, responding to comments and networking with other webmasters (10%)
6. Amusement (10%)
What Actually Happens.
1. Checking email, stats and technorati rankings (20%) – You are not alone in the compulsion to check email messages several times a day
2. Reading other blogs, but then following several links so you end up spending half an hour on finding new sites. (20%)
3. Maybe there’s something inspiring on Digg – There isn’t. – but its still a good time filler (20%)
4. Writing Content – In theory 20%; but getting distracted, means your focus is not all on the writing anyway.
1. Spend 10 hours trying to implement CSS changes to blog, getting hopelessly frustrated.
Have 12 tabs open in Mozilla Firefox, and try to do the 12 different things at once, but not succeeding in any of them.
Read Digg, then Reddit, then watch videos at YouTube, then read the newspapers and sport section, participate in a meaningless forum debate about “whether the internet increases productivity.”