As part of a new series of articles dealing with ways we waste time instead of making money. Part 1 was about how we procrastinate work away.
Another of the dangerous ways we waste time working from home is quite sinister. The Internet is the lifeblood of most work at home offices. Without it work either takes much longer or it cannot occur at all. The danger of this always on fire hose of information is how much of the information is really irrelevant to work.
When working from home the Internet has become our connection with the outside world. Our jobs often revolve around 24/7 connectivity to the Internet and thus it has become such an important part of work that most offices have a connection from every single computer. This amazing power enables us to accomplish our jobs better than ever before and for many small businesses it has created business opportunities that never existed before the Internet.
Because we use the Internet as a portion of our day to day work it can be rather difficult to distinguish between working on the Internet and playing or wasting time on the Internet. Sometimes I can even find myself wasting time on the Internet as a portion of the work I am actually trying to do. This can be because I am over researching a new item or I am spending time looking into new and interesting ways I can do my job. The very difficult part of this example is that what I am doing is also legitimate work, yet when taken too far it is harming your productivity just as badly as not doing any work at all.
Some ways to combat the dangerous use of the Internet can include turning off the Internet when you do not actually require it. Depending upon your line of work this could be impossible but even so turning off the Internet can sometimes boost your personal productivity for short periods of time. I find that when doing bookkeeping and filing the Internet is a distraction, so even when your job may require full time Internet there are times that turning off your connection can be a productivity boost.
The other effective way of curbing your Internet wasting is to setup an Internet filter. These filters are typically setup to protect your children from harmful sites. Even so the filters can be put to effective use by time blocking certain websites. Depending upon what type of work you do blocking access to MSN, Facebook, Twitter, and other social networking can certainly boost your productivity. If you find yourself regularly visiting a website with little to no work benefit you can simply add it to the filter list and boom you gain some productivity.
The Internet is our most powerful and dangerous tool. When used unwisely it can be your undoing. Yet, when used wisely and sometimes with a few safeguards it becomes a tool of such power that none can compete.
Image Credit: Vermin Inc