In "celebration" of the return of the Friday Five...I've made a little post header! True to my style...it's black and gray. I love color, but I'm so hesitant to pick one accent color for my blog!
As someone who blogs, uses Netflix, reads e-books without an e-reader, has three jobs to coordinate via email, and loves social media, I spend a lot of time on my computer! But it's summer: the outdoors are calling, all my friends are home, and I want to spend time with my cat while still getting in everything I need to online. It's incredibly easy to get distracted and find hours have passed and the sun has set and you still never sent that one super important email. Internet time management is something I continually struggle with, so here are five tricks I have found helpful. While intended for the computer, they often apply to mobile phones or other areas of life that need some time-management-help!
1. Make a to-do list.
With a concrete list, it's easier to see when you've gone astray. If you've spent a few hours on the computer and haven't crossed anything off your list, or if your entire list is completed but you're still bouncing around the internet, you are much more aware of how your time has been spent.
2. Set a timer.
Although it may seem a bit juvenile, a loud and obnoxious reminder is a great way of limiting time spent online. Decide how long you want to allot on a task, for example responding to emails, and set an alarm for that time. If the alarm goes off and you still aren't done, set another alarm for fifteen minutes from now. Even if you end up going over, the audio cue leaves little room for debate--you know exactly how many minutes you've spent on one task. Alternately, use Self Control [Mac only] to block trouble websites for up to 24 hours at a time (I usually block twitter, Facebook, and tumblr for two hour stretches).
3. Limit the number of windows or tabs you have open.
It's far too easy to click and click and click until you have what seems to be hundreds of tabs open. Choose a number to stick to--mine is five--and if you come across other articles or pages or posts you want to delve into, save them somewhere. I prefer a word document, but bookmarking or using an app like Evernote works just as well. Assign an hour or two for going through your link collection, and organize them as needed.
4. Make plans.
Nothing is more motivating for me than knowing I have plans with family or friends. Whether it's a yoga class, a coffee date, or a beach trip, if I know I have something awesome coming up it is much easier to drag myself away from the computer. Sun and waves cannot compete with cold, headache-inducing computer light!
5. Plan for fun & distractions.
You will come across fun videos or photos or ideas that you simply can't anticipate. Save the links, and check them out when you need a break from the stress of emails or blogging--anything that makes you smile or laugh is never truly a waste of time!