Waging the war against online distractions
Isn’t this the usual scenario at work?
You’re there in front of your computer, so focused on the task at hand when suddenly you get an email alert. And like what most of us would do, you just can’t fight the urge to check that new mail, only to open some forwarded chain letter, a Yahoo! Mail scam or, worse, some black propaganda against your candidate (yep, it always happens during the election campaign period). So you go back to your work, trying to recall what you’ve been focusing on a while ago before the unsolicited message arrived.
After few minutes, another email alert comes in. It’s a notification message from Facebook, informing you of a friend request from a high school classmate. “Wow…it’s Joey! I haven’t heard from this guy since ages ago,” you tell yourself. So you go open the link and find yourself browsing through your friend’s profile, clicking through his photos, and commenting on them. Then you see some interesting YouTube link from another friend’s status and viewed one video after another. Ooops… you suddenly realize how time flies and you haven’t even made some real progress on your work.
There will always be work distractions, isn’t it?
For those with jobs that require being online, alerts coming from email messages, social networking sites or chat programs would always be there unless we do something about them. There’s also the temptation of browsing over online news which would usually lead to opening more sites. For instance, you check the daily news and find yourself landing on the pages of the latest headlines in movies and entertainment. That’s how the web works, links are made more attractive to visitors with eye-catching or shocking headlines and flashy photos.
So, how do we combat online distractions? It’s as simple as attending to them on a scheduled basis or at certain times during the day. While we value our emails and connections with friends, we can control how these alerts come to us. For instance, you can turn off your email alert program while at work. Set a regular time for checking your emails or logging in to your chat program twice or thrice a day. These activities can also be done during breaks. In this way, you won’t be hounded by incessant alerts while you’re engrossed with some computations or composing a business letter. If you’ll be doing some online research, make sure to close your Facebook or YouTube windows so you won’t get distracted.