How to Block Online Distractions and Improve Productivity

Online distractions, the Internet can be an overwhelming place. It’s easy for a simple research mission to turn into an online shopping spree or for your email to arrive in a never-ending stream that you just have to respond to immediately. So with all the distractions at every turn, you might be wondering how to optimize your web strategy in order to get things done. Here’s where to start.

Clean house

Every once in a while, take a step back and evaluate your online activity. Determine how much of your time goes to different activities, how much you are paying for monthly subscriptions you don’t use, and ultimately look at what accounts you should delete altogether. As a rule of thumb, if you haven’t used something in over three months, it may be time for it to go.

Enable temporary blocking

There are apps out there that will allow you to choose which distracting websites you want your access to cut off for a specified time frame. These may be helpful if you know exactly where you’re likely to get most distracted. You can also choose to deactivate certain accounts, such as Facebook. Many users opt for the latter when they need to be distraction-free for an extended time.

Get in and get out

Allow yourself 15 minutes of online connectivity in order to get some references for your work, then disconnect from the Internet. You can either leave the web pages open in your browser or, save them as PDF files. From there, you can put more focus into offline applications to get your work done.

Use offline references

If you’re writing a report or compiling a research project, consider using the hard copy versions of your references. Head over to your local library for free access to loads of reference materials.

Work against a social timer

When you work away from home, choose a location that will put a bit of pressure on you to work within a time allotment. Coffee shops are great for this, as many of them will request that you not overstay your welcome and/or make a purchase every hour. You can also leave your computer charger at home, forcing you to get your work done before your battery runs out.

Enable advertisement blocking

Advertising these days is pretty smart, and based on your general Internet activities, can tailor ads that you will actually want to see. Pretty distracting, right? Luckily you can download an ad blocker to prevent the personally tailored ads that bombard you at every turn.

Turn off notifications

Between emails and breaking news, you probably receive dozens of notifications every day across all of your devices. Opt for switching all notifications off in order to avoid the constant audiovisual reminders on your screens.

Unsubscribe from emails

Aside from the spam and sales emails, you have already got a lot on your plate when it comes to electronic correspondence. So instead of letting your inbox become cluttered with daily emails from social media networks and Netflix announcements, simply unsubscribe from them.

Once you’ve got your distractions set aside for a more appropriate time to indulge, you can also focus on the productivity side of things. Consider what you can do to inspire productivity, such as redecorating or optimizing your sleep schedule. In combination with the tips described above, you’ll be in great shape to accomplish your productivity goals.



Emily Burgess is part of the team behind Course Guru, an Australian business specializing in online training and education. She likes to share her professional experiences and insights through blogging.

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