Recently I have been doing a lot of traveling for my Engineer Your Own Success (EYOS) book tour and it has helped me to realize how much the internet can really hamper your productivity. On a recent flight from the east to west coast, I was able to spend a solid 4 hours on my laptop and get so much accomplished. The main reason for this productivity was because there was no access to Facebook, LinkedIn, Twitter, or e-mail to pull me away from what I was doing.
I certainly may not be telling you something here that you weren’t already aware of as I know most of you have at one time or another experienced time loss due to participating in social media postings etc. I realized a while ago that while the Internet is an amazing source of information, it can really take your focus off of your main tasks for the day. I’ve known this for a long time myself, but I still struggle with refraining from being active on the Internet when I know with jut one click of my mouse I’m in. However, on the airplane, I knew I couldn’t get online, so my focus remained laser sharp on the tasks I was tackling and what a difference it made in the level of my work performance for that time period. I easily did in 4 hours what I normally would have accomplished in a full day at the office.
This begs the question of how much does the Internet really cut into our time management and work-family balance. If I came into work each day and worked for 4 straight hours with no Internet, then went online at certain regimented times, would I get home earlier each evening? Many companies block certain websites such as Facebook and Twitter during work hours, which I think is a good idea. Do yourself a favor and give yourself some Internet down time during the workweek and see how much it impacts your productivity and overall work-life balance.
Please share any strategies that you have used to maintain focus while at work and not get pulled into the internet black hole.
Also, feel free to listen to any of my past radio shows for advice from experts on engineering career topics similar to these.
To your success,
Anthony Fasano, PE, LEED AP
Engineering Management Institute
Author of Engineer Your Own Success