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The internet, great way to NOT get things done

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  • The internet, great way to NOT get things done

    Last week I was very productive, as I explained in this post.

    One key thing I did last week was turn off my browser and email. I would only open outlook once an hour to check my email and then close it down right away. I'd only open my browser to look up a specific technical question I had and then turn it off right away. This week I went back to having both open all the time. I feel like this week was one big interruption. As soon as an email comes in, I'm compelled to check it. I then go to my browser to look up something and then I'm lost down some mindless maze of clicking links, originally forgetting what I wanted and an hour has gone by.

    Please make it stop!

  • #2
    Identify problem behaviors, consider timed breaks

    There are probably a million different ways to deal with this problem. Here's what I have done:

    1. E-mail: I have turned off all new-mail notifications in Outlook. Now I check for e-mail when I want to, not whenever the machine goes ding.

    2. Web browsing: A lot of my time-wasting happens because of blog reading. I eventually went through my blog subscriptions and deleted many things that were redundant, or interesting without being directly useful. Fewer blogs to read means fewer tangents to follow. Be merciless.

    3. More web browsing: I occasionally delete my browser history too, so I don't have appetizing distractions in my drop-down "location" list of recent web sites.

    4. Timed breaks: Breaks are a good thing, and I took some advice I was offered in a different forum: Minute Timer, available free at (this is a Windows program, and there are similar things available for other platforms). I have a hotkey mapped to it, so I can quickly start the timer for a 15-minute break. At the end of the break, I get an announcement that the timer has run out, and I know I should get back to business.

    I'm sure other people will have other suggestions, too. I can't give up my web browser, because I do web development work.


    • #3
      I'm in the trial period of using Website Watcher ( and it seems to be a great tool for any blog/news/forum reader.

      I haven't invested very much time in the configuration but nevertheless it's already very usefull to me - you see which and what part of your sites of interest have been changed - very easy, very fast.
      Of course it only helps if the problem is to much searching for any news on a lot of sites, if the problem is just the amount of things to read it won't help