Whether one is working from home, working from a home office, or working on the go, effective time management can be a challenge. And with the internet readily available everywhere from the office to the coffee shop, the temptation to spend large amounts of time web surfing and checking email – even if those internet activities are related to the project at hand – can be overwhelming.

Below are some helpful tips for effectively managing time with regards to the internet. These hints can help workers stay focused on essential tasks while not feeling internet-deprived.

Schedule Internet Time

People tend to schedule everything, especially with regards to work. So why not schedule internet time as well? Scheduling two hours a day (one near lunch and one at the end of the day) to research on project-relevant websites and check email or text messages – and sticking to that schedule – can help avoid wasted hours bogged down with incoming email or web searching.

A more fast-paced work environment may require that one check email more frequently. If so, schedule in an additional hour – after lunch – to ensure that any urgent emails are being addressed in a timely manner.

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Work Offline

Even with scheduled two or three one-hour blocks to check messages and do internet research, the danger of losing time to endless emails or off-task web surfing still exists. Avoiding internet temptation, however, is as simple as doing one thing that most often people forget they have the ability to do – unplug.

That computer has an internet cable or a wifi signal. Disconnect them. That phone has an “off” button (or a way to disable messages). Use it. Taking the time to disable internet and messages at the end of a scheduled “internet hour” means having to spend at least a few minutes reconnecting before the next “internet hour.” The time involved, however brief, in reconnecting a signal or waiting for a cell phone to reconnect can lessen the temptation to extend web surfing into the second hour.

Get Some Time Management Help

If others are having problems managing their workload and internet usage, suggest that the office brings in a time management expert for a brief workshop. If a workshop isn’t an option due to time and/or cost, a web seminar may be an option, as often webinars are archived and can be made available to other employees at another time that better suits their schedules. Those who work from home or on the go may especially benefit from a time management workshop as their schedules are so unstructured by nature.

The internet doesn’t have to be a time-killer at work or at home. Scheduling internet time and unplugging in order to avoid internet temptation can help people stay focused on work tasks for the majority of the day.