7 Ideas to Help Prevent Mindless Surfing

by Brad Isaac on February 17, 2006

Hello, my name is Brad and I’m a surfaholic…

I was asked in a recent comment to put down my thoughts about preventing surf and blogging addiction.  Since I can definitely relate to feeling addicted to Net surfing, some times more than others, I use 7 ways to get away from surfing and getting more work done.

If you find yourself in mindless surf mode more than you’d like, try one or all of these methods to snap out of it: 

1. Unplug your network cable.  Probably the most effective way to prevent mindless surfing is to unplug your network cable.  You can unplug it from the wall or the back of the computer.  If you have a wireless connection just turn it off.

2. Schedule your surfing.  Make a commitment for one week not to surf before 12 noon.  Sort of like you wouldn’t drink an alcoholic beverage before noon, don’t surf before noon either.

3. Do more work on paper.  Try offloading some of your computer work to paper.  For instance, instead of using Outlook for task and calendar management, try using a pen and paper.  Outlook has a built in distraction method.  If you are working on your task list and an email comes in..BLING!..instant distraction.  Heaven help you if the email contains a web link beckoning you off into the nether regions of the Net.

4. Create a specific reason for using the computer and write it down.  If you need to do research on housing costs make sure you research housing costs and then unplug your network cable.  Place a post it note on your computer with the reasons you are going to surf and stick to the list.

5. Keep a paper or note cards next to where you work.  Jot down distractions and surf destinations as they occur to you while you work.  If you write them down, then you know you can surf them when your work is done.  This will prevent the impulsive "let me go check CNN.com"

6. Install Webolodeon – If you use Firefox browser, you can install the Webolodeon greasemonkey script.  It is a surf timer that by default lets you surf for 5 minutes and then it will nag you and prevent you from surfing unless you give a good reason for doing so.  This is pretty cool, because it snaps you out of the mindless surf mode.  You can also configure it with your own timer and nag settings

7. Use surfing as a reward – Make a bargain with yourself that if you work for 1 hour straight you can surf for 10 minutes or a similar deal. 

Combining two or more of these ideas can add to the benefits.  For instance, you can combine unplugging the network cable with keeping a list of surf destinations so you won’t be distracted.  You can reward yourself by surfing your list for 10 minutes and then unplug the network cable.

Technorati Tags: productivity, gtd, task management, time management, work

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February 17, 2006 at 9:11 pm

Hi, I’m Michelle, and I’m addicted to web-surfing.

Good suggestions. I’ll look into the Greasemonkey script you mentioned (I hope there’s an Opera version).

Good luck, and wish my luck with my own addiction.

March 8, 2006 at 12:30 am

Brad! Hello. My name is Troy and I am a surfaholic. But I won’t repent tonight, because that is precisely how I found your fantastic blog (via Tech Ronin). Keep up the good work!

March 8, 2006 at 9:02 am

Welcome Troy! And thanks for the compliment. Glad you are here.

Better than you May 29, 2008 at 4:38 am

rofl… losers… holy shit

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