General Question

kyanblue's avatar

How can you concentrate while working on a computer & not be distracted by the internet?

Asked by kyanblue (1182 points ) August 20th, 2009

I always have problems when I have work that needs to be done on a computer (typing long notes, since my hand cramps up writing it, or doing essays and research topics). My self-control went down the drain years ago, so I always find myself checking my email, my Twitter, my RSS subscriptions, forums I visit regularly (and Fluther looks to be a serious contender, too).

I need methods that will help me, either psychologically or actual technical solutions (like blocking my favourite sites for certain times of the day).

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21 Answers

sandystrachan's avatar

Don’t connect to the internets .

dynamicduo's avatar

Admitting your self control is low is good. Now we go straight to technology solutions. I haven’t tried this, but here is a free software that blocks entire applications, so if you need to write, do it in Word and block the internet. You can also find some answers in this Ask Metafilter thread.

erichw1504's avatar

Like @sandystrachan said, disable your internet connection for periods of work time.

Noel_S_Leitmotiv's avatar

Get a job involving the internet.

kyanblue's avatar

Oh yeah, can I also add I’m on a Mac? The Temptation Blocker program is a .exe & I’m guessing it won’t work for me.

Also, um, my lack of a college degree may preclude me from most jobs.

I will have to look into disconnecting from the internet…probably I’d have to go turn my router off, because connecting/disconnecting from the internet takes about 5 seconds on my computer.

jrpowell's avatar

Apple Menu—> System Preferences—> Parental Controls

All of this can be done in there.

casheroo's avatar

I can’t. I get distracted so easily.

But, I work through it. Things have to get done, the internet can wait.

basp's avatar

kyanblue
I don’t have the technological knowledge to disable the Internet so I have had to work on self discipline for the same problem.
I set a limit if time…. If I do my computer work for half an hour then I allow myself a ten minute Internet break. Or, depending on what you are working on, you may want to break it up by task. When task one is fnished, allow yourself an Internet break then go on to task two.
I hope this helps you.

drdoombot's avatar

There are several software options.

Programs like Ghoster, Clutter Cloak, ScreenMask and Zorro dim areas on your screen around the main program you are using to do your work. If you can’t see other programs, blinking taskbar items and shiny buttons, you won’t be distracted.

If websites are your problem, there is a Firefox extension named Leechblock, which allows you to block certain websites on a timer so that you simply can’t go to them while you’re working.

LuckyGuy's avatar

I turn my pc off if I’m doing other work or close my browser if I’m doing something in Word or Excel.
I get distracted too easily. I also get distracted by windows with a view, high heels, and stomach growling. I wish there was an app for that.

LucG's avatar

Hard, very hard. At least try to concentre all your stuff in a few places, then the checking takes less time. I use Bloglines for my RSS feeds, for instance.

But it’s very difficult to control the E-mail checking. Best is to stay offline if you don’t need to be online for your work.

bennihan's avatar

Get involved in social media and digital marketing. Then you can just be on the internet while working at the same time.

@drdoombot Great add on with the FF extension. Never heard of it before. Personally I use chrome but that sounds like a great tool.

dee1313's avatar

Buy a super old computer that you can only use Word or whatever you need on, and turn yours off.

Or you can go somewhere there isn’t an internet connection. Like my parent’s house.

kyanblue's avatar

I investigated a few technological solutions & thought about ways to get away from the internet, so here’s what I’ll be doing:

1. Testing out the Firefox addon LeechBlock, and the Invisibility Cloak Greasemonkey script (which is another Firefox addon) to see which one works best for me. I mostly have an problems visiting websites I shouldn’t, not playing-Minesweeper-to-distract-myself.

2. For normal essaywriting and stuff, I’m probably going to dig out an extremely old Dell laptop that has scads of adware on it and is therefore unsuitable for internet browsing, but should work just fine for writing. I will barricade myself in an emo closet and write in there.

3. I will find a job that makes e-procrastination a virtue.

Thank you for the help, everyone! I have quite a bit of work to do in the next few weeks, so blocking the temptation of the interwebs will help.

rooeytoo's avatar

I think you have to train yourself to stick to the task at hand. I wouldn’t look for easy external solutions when the best solution is within myself by learning to practice self control.

I honestly am not trying to sound preachy, but it is sort of like meditating, when you first start, you can only go for a few seconds at a time but with practice you can learn how to quiet your head for longer periods. The same is true in this scenario. When you are tempted to wander, bring yourself back as soon as you become aware of what is happening. It is good to be able to control myself all by myself!

suzyq2463's avatar

If you use a Mac there’s a great program called Concentrate that you can set up to block web sites, programs, and whatever else distracts you for a set amount of time. It will even load the programs you do want to use. I’ve set it up so I can’t get on Fluther, Facebook, Flickr and Amazon. I also block email and chat. You can have it pop up encouraging messages while you work if you want and it shows a countdown timer for the time you want to concentrate. It is magic for people with no self control. And when the time is up you can access all your distractions again. I love it.

PandoraBoxx's avatar

I have to agree. Why get programs, when just disconnect from the e-mail, internet, etc. when you need to concentrate, and turn it back on when you need to check things, take a short break, etc. One of the fallacies of modern life is buying into the idea that you have to be accessible to all people 24/7.

I’m on a Mac too, and if you don’t open Safari or Firefox, and close Mail, all you’re left with is your office suite software.

tiffyandthewall's avatar

ohh i have the same problem. 90% of the time i’m on fluther, i am supposed to be typing up something for school, or doing research for something relevant to school. yeah, not happenin’.

kyanblue's avatar

@rooeytoo—it’s something I have to work on, definitely. I like external solutions because it is, in a sense, putting temptation out of reach. It’s easy to open up Firefox again, but to open up Firefox, go change the settings in my antidistractor program, save, retry—the extra obstacles slow me down and start me thinking, “Wait, I don’t really want to do this.”

I’m going to try a few different methods the next week and see what I can manage. I’m young, surely I can learn a few new habits. ^^

Haleth's avatar

What works for me is to move to another location. When I’m at home with my laptop I can’t concentrate and waste all kinds of time doing… stuff like this. (and reading fanfiction). I go to the library when I really need to get some homework done. The studious environment helps me buckle down and work. When I need to do something creative, like a photoshop project, I go to a coffehouse. A change of scene could really help your mental state.

edit: Certain times of the day are more conductive to getting work done. I work the best in the morning and early afternoon, and goof off mostly at night.

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