So much of what we do today can be done online. We can research, talk to family and friends, play games, catch up on news, meet new people, and even shop.
It is quite convenient to be able to do all of these things in one place, but the Internet is also a place of a lot of distractions and can be an unproductive solution to boredom. It is also not healthy to sit for such long periods of time in front of a computer.
Here are some tips to help you manage your time online.
Limit your use of social networking sites.
How many of the popular social networking sites are you a member of? There are a number of them out there, but you don’t have to join all of them. Choose one or two that you like the most and where most of the people that you want to the interact with are on. It doesn’t make so much sense to join another social networking site just because one friend is on it. You can use a different way to communicate with that person.
Being on fewer networking sites will cut down on the amount of time you spend surfing these websites.
Manage your email better.
How many email accounts do you have? Just like social networking sites, one or two is enough. An account for personal messages and another on for more formal correspondences seems enough. If you have two, you can have mail forwarded from your secondary one to the one that you check more often.
How many times a day do you check your email? There’s probably nothing new or urgent most of those times you check. We have a tendency to want to see and read things as soon as they come in, and we can barely wait an hour. If it makes sense to reduce the number of times you check, do so.
Another good rule of thumb is to not check email unless you actually have time to respond. There is little point in reading all of your non-urgent emails if you cannot respond them right away.
Set a time limit for chatting.
When we chat online with friends, time easily slips away. When you go online to chat, set a time limit of whatever seems reasonable to you, maybe 30 minutes or an hour.
If none of your friends are online, do not sit there waiting for someone to show up. Go offline and do something else. Also, when a friend happens to pop in when your timed session has almost run out, don’t extend your allotted time and stick to your schedule. People will always be coming and going. Chances are they will let you know if there is something really important to talk about, in which case you can decide to stay longer.
Have a plan before you go online.
We sometimes go online out of compulsion or because there is nothing else to do, but we do not really have a purpose for going online. We end up surfing the web until we find something that catches our attention.
Before you go online again, know and decide what you are going to do. It doesn’t matter if it is to reply to emails, to play a game with a friend, or to update your blog. Just know why you are there so you don’t spend time looking for something that you are not really interested in. Sometimes, you might also find yourself changing your mind about going online.
The Internet has a lot to offer, but it can also consume a lot of time. We need to be aware of how we’re spending time online so we can manage our time both online and offline better.