Streamline Your Life

How to Stop Compulsive Web Surfing

“If I only had more time in the day I could really make headway on this project…”

I’ve heard this one before. I’m sure you’ve even muttered words similar to these. WIth the explosive birth of social media (Facebook, Twitter, MySpace, iPhone Apps, Blogging etc.) it’s becoming more and more difficult to focus on anything. This is especially true if you are doing the majority of your work on a computer, where the net is just a click away. This description likely fits you, as you are reading this post online. And since this site is called “The Great Office Escape” you probably are also looking for ways to improve your professional life!

I have a great suggestion for you: stop surfing the web. If this means closing this browser after reading this post, so be it. In fact, I’m actually going to tell you to make this your last web-surfing activity of the day. But more on that later.

Why You Should Quit Surfing

1. You’ll save a lot of time – This goes without saying. If you only surf 15-20 minutes a day, it isn’t a big deal. But 15-20 minutes a day is 2 hours a week. That adds up. What could you be doing with that time otherwise?

2. You won’t retain much of what you read – Most idle surfing is just a replacement activity for boredom. While it may seem like you are learning or taking in information, studies show that you are likely to either forget most of what you “learn” or never have much of a use for it anyway.

3. It drains your energry – How many of you seriously feel like doing work on your computer after you’ve spent an hour looking through Facebook photos? Not many, I’d assume. This is because you’ve already spent a lot of your energy staring at your screen. Your reserves are taxed, and you haven’t accomplished anything. It’s best to do your work first, then surf if you must.

Methods to Quit Surfing

1. Replace idle surfing with active surfing – Idle surfing is surfing the web without a purpose. This is akin to going downtown and driving around aimlessly, wasting gas and looking at all the storefronts. It’s much, much better to use the net to learn or to obtain useful information. If you are doing research on how to escape your 9-to-5 job, that’s active surfing because it has a purpose. (I hope that’s why you are here!)

So drive back home with your head held high and think about what you need downtown before you go there again.

2. Schedule a time to surf – This actually works wonders. When you get up in the morning and you have the urge to go through all your favorite sites, tell yourself “I will not do this until noon, and then only until 12:30.” If you force your surfing time to a certain time of the day, you’ll probably find that when the time comes you’ll do more active surfing (instead of passive surfing) because there are likely things you will realize that you need to do as the time gets closer.

3. Check and respond to your e-mail only twice a day – 9am and again at 1pm. These are good hours to check and respond to e-mail. Any more than this and you are probably just looking at an empty mailbox and driving yourself batty.

4. Do pushups – Yup. You heard me. Every time you view a webpage that is a result of passive surfing, do 5 pushups. If you view 10 pages, that’s 50 pushups. Soon you’ll be so tired that you won’t be able to type. This goes under the self-punishment category, but it works!

5. Close your browser – After you are finished reading this post I want you to try something. Exit this website (after bookmarking it, of course!) close your browser, and your computer, and don’t go online the rest of the day. If you have honest-to-goodness work to do, go ahead and do your work, but if not – turn it all off.

I know this sounds a bit extreme, but if you can train yourself to stop the surfing process instantaneously the middle, you can break the habit.

Ready? Go!



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