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Computerworld Hong Kong -

Computerworld Hong Kong -

BACKPAGE m i k e e l g a

BACKPAGE m i k e e l g a nHow to overcome Internet distraction disorderThe digital revolution has created an unexpected challenge:How do you get work done when a world ofamusements is always just a click away?I’ll tell you how later. But first, let’s understand the problem.Our primary work tools—PCs, laptops, cell phones and tablets,plus the software and websites that we access throughthose devices—are the same tools that can instantly conjure updistracting, fun and entertaining content.Hmm. which to choose? Finish those TPS reports, or checkyour Facebook page? Get started on next week’s presentation,or watch a few videos on YouTube?People can easily waste an entire afternoon struggling withonline distractions. Here’s why:• The human mind is hardwired to pursue curiosity, play andsocial interaction. Fighting online distractions is a battleagainst human nature.• When we mix professional activities with online distractions,it’s easy to believe that we’re combining a lot of work witha little play, when in fact we’re really engaging in a littlework and a lot of play. People tend to evaluate their ownperformance by asking themselves: “How much work did Ido today?” That’s the wrong question. Ask yourself: “Whatdid I accomplish?”• Distractions are constantly evolving, and we aren’t. In allspheres of online entertainment—games, blogs, social networking—creatorsare inventing new ways to make theircontent more addictive. Sites like Facebook are taking overthe Internet because they’re better at compelling people toengage.The more we work, the more our minds rebel and gravitateto the amusements. It’s a self-reinforcing phenomenon thatresults in not really enjoying fun, and not getting our workdone.Both at work and at home, we’re never fully working andnever fully enjoying our time off.How to overcome Internet distraction disorderThe problem is that we use the same tools for work andamusement. The solution is to use separate tools.You have a desktop PC or a laptop as your main “work” de-vice. What you need is a separate “play” machine like an iPador a second laptop.Set up separate Work and Play e-mail accounts, RSS feeds,Twitter accounts, and so on. Uninstall the games and other funstuff from your work machine.Never use Facebook or other fun sites on your work machine.Never check work e-mail or do anything productive on your playdevice. Never use both at the same time. Multitasking is a myth.Multitasking is a mythGo ahead and bring your play gadget to work. When youneed a break, switch to that system. The important thing is tobe very clear in your mind about when you’re really working,and when you’re really not. By doing that, you’ll achieve undisrupted“flow” in your work, and you’ll enjoy guilt-free funwhen you choose to take a break.You can automate the task of keeping yourself focused bytaking advantage of tools like these:InstapaperIf you haven’t tried Instapaper, I highly recommend it. It’sthe single most powerful productivity and educational tool Iknow of.Here’s how Instapaper works: You signup for an account, and whenever you’re onthe job and you run across an interesting butnon-work-related article, blog post or othercontent, just click “Read Later” or forward itto your Instapaper e-mail address. Instapaperwill save it all for when you’re in play mode.Bottom line: The cure for Internet distractiondisorder is to never play on your workmachine and never work on your play machine.You’ll accomplish a lot more in less time.And you’ll enjoy your leisure more. 3Mike Elganwrites regularlyabout technologyandtech culturefor CW(US).Contact himat Elgan.com38 Computerworld Hong Kong April 2011

China IT MarketYou can’t afford to lose商 戰從 來 都 是 殘 酷EI ChinaEnterprise IT User GuideIn simplified Chinese 以 簡 體 中 文 出 版For more information please contact:Simon YeungPublisherDirect line: (852) 2589 1370Email: YipAccount DirectorDirect line: (852) 2589 1373Email: cyip@questexasia.comJessie ChoiAccount ManagerDirect line: (852) 2589 1301Email: jchoi@questexasia.comApril 2011 Computerworld Hong Kong 39

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