I find it particularly challenging to manage my time on the Internet. I plan to “work” for an hour and next thing I know, I’ve spent two hours just surfing around. (There are a variety of reasons — individual, social, technological — and there is even a technical term for it [PIU, Problematic Internet Use] but maybe I’ll leave that for another blog entry!)
Ironically, there are computer software which help you limit your problematic internet use. Some of these are free and work with your browser. I use Firefox and have tried several time management add-ons which you might find helpful. Some of them are cross platform (i.e will work with different browsers and different operating systems), but some are not. If you use something other than Windows and Firefox, you may have to do some research to find similar software for your system.
The Add-ons fall into two groups. First, there are timers, which work on the idea that self-awareness will lead to change of habit. These programs record and display when you surf, for how long, and where. Try one of these and you may be shocked at how much cumulative time you’ve spent doing what you didn’t intend to do. Of course, a good ol’stop watch or alarm clock and a pad of paper will serve similar purposes but these are automated and start up every time you use your browser.
- Time Tracker
- Rescue Time
- Simple Timer
The second, smaller, group of add-ons is more proactive. Sometimes, awareness alone may not be enough. You may need some help getting off the web, a “time out.” These tools allow you to set designated times for surfing (and blacklists and whitelists of website) and will actually disable your browser at times other than your designated periods. Of course, you can always re-enabling the browser again but you’d have to consciously work at it.
- Stealthkiwi (a script which requires the Grease Monkey add-on)
Look these up on the web (ironic, isn’t it?) and give them a try. If you know of similar tools and if you have thoughts or comments about them, let me know.