5 Ways to Stop Wasting Time Surfing the Web

Stop Surfing

There is no such thing as a quick web search.

It starts innocently enough, when you need to look up just one thing.

Before you know it, you are 37 sites deep, and 45 minutes have been wasted on what was supposed to be a 30 second exercise.

How much of your day is spent endlessly surfing the web?

Surfing the Day Away

Technology is supposed to make life easier. It is supposed to save us time.

Yet, between email, web-surfing, and games, we fritter away much of our time.

A recent survey showed that Americans spend an average of 23 hours a week online.

What could you accomplish if you could reclaim even a portion of that time each week?

Probably quite a bit.

How to Reduce Your Web Time

We used to spend our spare time wasting away in front of the TV.

These days it is in front of the computer. Or on our phones or tablets.

An old adage stated, “No one ever became successful sitting on the couch watching TV.”

The same is true of the Internet. And endlessly surfing the web isn’t going to get your goals done. Nor is it going to magically make you successful. So, reduce your endless surfing and get more done.

Here are 5 Ways to Stop Wasting Time Surfing the Web:

  1. Unplug from the Internet – When you really need to get work done without interruptions… turn off the Internet. Literally unplug. Use “airplane mode” on your phone. Whatever it takes. If you need a more elegant solution, there are software apps that will let you block specific websites for a specified amount of time. (For example, it block news, Facebook, Twitter… yet still lets you do your work, research, etc.)
  2. Resist the Urge to Look It Up – These days, information is only a click or web search away. But, do you really need to know the answer to every bit of trivia that pops up in the course of your day. Resist the urge to immediately look everything up on Wikipedia. That one search could end up costing you hours of time.
  3. Set a Timer – If you must search the Internet, set a time limit on your web adventure. Better yet, set an actual timer. This puts a boundary on your surfing. Or at a minimum it will snap you out of your web-induced daze when it starts chiming.
  4. Delegate Where Appropriate – In corporate environments, the web makes it easy for you to do other people’s work. Are you looking up solutions to problems that others should be solving? Let the appropriate person research the problem and find an answer. I have witnessed executives waste days of times Googling answers to issues for which entire teams exist to work on.
  5. Save Articles for Later – When you are surfing the web it can be tempting to keep reading each related and linked article. A great technique to stop this is to save “other” articles for reading later. Use an app like Pocket to save those articles. This allows you to save important information while preventing you from endlessly reading now. Interestingly, you will often find that when go through your saved queue, that you clear out many articles without reading. In other words, upon later reflection they weren’t worth the time in the first place.

Stop the Endless Surfing

The Internet is a powerful tool. It allows us to instantly find information and solutions to many problems.

However, it can also be a big time waster.

One web search can lead down a path of hours of wasted time.

So, put down the mouse, smartphone, or tablet… and get some work done instead.

Question: How do you prevent yourself from endlessly surfing the web? You can leave a comment by clicking here.

No time for time management? Check out my online course designed to jump start your productivity! Take it online on your time and pace. As well, get direct access to me for advice and questions. Get details or enroll now by clicking here!

Please note: I reserve the right to delete comments that are offensive or off-topic.

  • http://www.highperformancelifestyle.net/ Kosio Angelov

    Very useful tips, especially on Monday morning when most people don’t fee like getting back to work.

    What I’ve found to help tremendously is to have a blank home page when I open my browser. This forces me to think what I need to do and why did I open this browser. Those couple of seconds of concentration help me to just do what I came there to do and nothing more.

    I used to have my email as my home page and that was a big no no….

    • http://www.timemanagementninja.com/ Craig Jarrow

      I like the blank home page idea. Definitely better than your inbox. :)

  • http://blog.teamspir.it/ Casandra Campbell

    I use a Chrome extension to block certain websites. It’s amazing how mindless web surfing can be. I often don’t realise I’m doing it until that alert pops up telling me the site I’m trying to visit is blocked. At that point I snap out of it and can make a decision about whether it not I actually want to visit the site!

    • http://www.highperformancelifestyle.net/ Kosio Angelov

      Sounds like a “browsing blackout” condition :)

    • http://www.timemanagementninja.com Craig Jarrow

      Love this technique. What Chrome extension are you using?

  • Robert Bell

    Thanks for the tips! I also find it useful to separate between “search-mode” and “research-mode”.
    In search-mode, I quickly skip through as many sites/articles as possible only taking a quick glance to filter the relevant ones, which I then bookmark and close (as you suggested in point #5 above).
    In research-mode, I only read bookmarked articles and resist the urge to search for new ones.

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  • http://www.leadingedgeadvocate.com/ Lea

    If I’m doing something on the computer that doesn’t involve the internet I don’t open IE. My homepage has news and slides on it. Eventually something would pop up that would spark my interest.

    And if I do have to use it, I try to stay focused on the the pages I have to view and nothing else.

    ~Lea

  • Agnes

    Knowing surf the net is just like addicted to drug, it is a habit that you build up without you realise.

    To quit this habit will take time and effort. Since you checking this site already means that you want quit, at least you realise it is a problem for you.

    As soon as you awake in bed, never surf the net, make an effort to get up, start your day by exercise, any form of exercise.

    After exercise, clean up yourself, while you enjoying your breakfast, surf the net (no more then the time you use for eating), then your normal day start.

    Either work or study, never surf the net for killing time as this will drag you down in life, you might think you have a lot of knowledge through the net, but you actually become those desperate housewife, catching up gossip, the different is those gossip is happened far away not in your neighbourhood.

  • Agnes

    Cont-
    Using the Internet as a tool to help you, making your life easier, cutting time for problem solving, learning etc.,

    If you surf the net for entertaining, make sure you allow fix time not just hour after hour, this unhealthy “new age couch potato” will destroy your life without you know.

    Unless you are a retiree got no actual friend, then by all mean surf the net as much as you can for killing time, bear in mind you can surf the net day and night when time for you to move to nursing home.

    I hope our young generation can do actual thing in their life, such as visiting your friends, mom, dad, grandparent….., learn and practise some cooking skill for future use.

    Please don’t let the smart phone, I Pad, Computer ruin your life, use them to help you, these tools should be your slave, hope you can release yourself being their slave.

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  • Ellie

    Nice dude! I just need my family to be my timer though. They’re the worst alarm clocks, cutting off my skimpy play time to like..don’t ask.

    Only that I do realize that I am no innocent, since I know I’ll open too many sites. What I do is having a bad internet connection. I kind of realize the time when the infamous internet loads more than three seconds long. I can at times be my own clock.

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