I don’t know how many times I’ve wasted hours on a computer without doing something productive. And the reason: I didn’t have a very specific purpose to log on. We’d all be better off avoiding the computer until we have a path in mind–after all, we don’t turn on the oven until we know what we want to eat.
There is a time for playing around online, but for most of us it’s not as often as we do it. Sometimes it feels like being at the computer is synonymous with working, but that’s far from the case. So here’s my recommendation: before you bring up your web browser or email program, decide exactly what you want to accomplish. You probably have a To-Do list or a calendar–consult those or decide on something else…yes, even email can wait.
The best approach I’ve found is to decide the evening before what I want to accomplish in the morning. Then when I get to the computer I’ll have something important to focus on, rather than taking new information in or “seeing what’s going on.” The tangents are best saved for when I have already accomplished something.
It’s far from rocket science to say, “work on something you have to do when you’re at the computer.” But the nuance I’m throwing in is that you should think hard about what that something is and focus on it before touching your mouse or keyboard. And if you can, set yourself a very strict goal of an hour (or something similar) to complete that task.
Now that I’ve got this blog post out of the way, I’m off to empty my inbox.