Technology in theory is supposed to save us time. It also offers an easy way to be distracted and interrupted.
Sometimes it seems there is a correlation between spending more time in front of a computer or mobile device and getting less done.
It will take discipline to change the bad habits you have been developing over time. Try changing one or two areas to see if you can take back some time for real focused work.
Set boundaries. Changing your work habits not only requires that you be more disciplined but also letting those around you know when you don’t want to be disturbed and need focus on work. Set notifications to let others know when you are busy.
Create separate user profiles. On your home computer you may already have individual profiles for each family member. You can do the same for a work and personal profile. Don’t include games or social media in your work profile so that you won’t be tempted.
Try time tracking software. Rescue Time tracks every window and application you open on your computer and how long you spend there. It can be eye opening to see what percentage of your day is spent on games or social media. Realization can be the first step to making changes.
Work offline. Gather all the research you need while online. When you are ready to work on a project, switch to offline mode. You can focus on the task at hand without being tempted by email or a little internet shopping.
Turn off notification sounds. If a chime goes off every time you receive an email or text you will be tempted to stop and read it. You tell yourself it will only take a few seconds but reality tells us differently. Each time you switch tasks it can take up to 15 minutes to re-engage with the original task.
Take breaks. You are more likely to stick to new habits if you allow yourself time to indulge your technological weaknesses. Set certain times for distractions and set a limit of how long you can ‘play’.