A Productivity Experiment: Limiting My Online Hours

Daniel Scocco

I don’t know about you, but every time my access to the Internet is limited, I become more productive. For example, currently I need to write 50 pages of content for a small project, and I had been procrastinating on it for over a week. Then yesterday my Internet connection died virtually the whole day, and as a consequence I managed to write around 10 pages. How come? There was nothing else to do!

And the curious thing is that I consider myself to be quite disciplined. Yet when I have free access to the web I tend to disperse my attention.

That is why I decided to run a small experiment for the month of August. I will limit my online time to two hours per day. The rest of the time I will physically unplug my ethernet cable.

On those two hours I will clean my email inbox, publish the daily post, and carry out any other task that requires access to the web. The rest of my work time I will spend writing content and working on business related matters.

By the end of August I will let you guys know how the experiment turned out.



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54 Responses to “A Productivity Experiment: Limiting My Online Hours”

  • Jason

    Great post Daniel. You hit the nail right on the head. This post hit me so hard I had to write about it on my Health and Wealth for Life blog as it directly affects so many of us when trying to reach our goals, irrelevant of what they may be.

    Well done and thanks. Hope you don’t mind me “putting you out there” on our blog man! lol

  • Jamaipanese

    looking forward to the results. Good luck!

  • Daniel Scocco

    @InternetHowBlog, I guess so, but it is easier to control yourself from plugging the cable than from clicking on a link to Twitter or some other website where you will waste time.

  • Daniel Scocco

    @Chanda, I believe that unplugging the thing will be far more effective than that.

  • Linda Walker

    It’s difficult to eliminate the Internet from our lives, as it has become an incredible source of information. It can save a lot of time but you need to stay focused on what your intent was.

    A trick I use to stay away from getting lost on the Web, is to write on sticky note what I’m going on the Web to do… ex. looking for directions, looking for information on spindle bindles, etc.

    And I use a timer to ring after 30 minutes or whatever amount of time I wanted to devote… it keeps me from going astray.

  • Alka_s

    ah can’t wait to see the results.. 😛 i have the same problem, once I start browsing, I totally forget what i had opened the computer at the first place. I end up at some site where they are talking about the biggest dog or the smallest cat.. The internet does have too much information.. NO wonder we get so distracted.. I might try the same thing soon Daniel.. i might need whole lot of patience for that.. WISH U LUCK.!!

  • Aidil Sharizaq

    Guess what? It did happen to me yesterday and I become more productive! It surprised me as well…

    maybe because i spend a lot of time on the internet,looking for information,the time i needed to produce content is limited.

    We never realized this because after doing hours of work online(doesnt matter what it is) we thought that we are progressing.but only on the learning part.we forgot that producing content is the main reason our blog existed!

    And also,too many distractions on the internet (for me its Facebook!)

    good post.this opens up my eyes.

  • wo@soho

    it’s so great experiment that complete all process in two hours.
    Usually i just publish one post in two hours and need more time to do other thing.
    after thinking over seriously, it’s true that we waste time in useless thing.

  • Ulla Hennig

    My experience is that being online seduces me to have a look here, and then there, and then doing all kinds of things which I didn’t plan to do. I am now using http://www.nowdothis.com which makes me focus on one thing, and having done that, on the next.

  • PLR Videosc

    Well, I believe your theory is very true. In fact, how many of us truly devote quality and productive time online? Many of us will be held guilty because the internet affords all avenues for leisure, fun, and other stuff entirely unrelated to business or our productive working time. Perhaps, I should try this too. 🙂

  • Stefan | StudySuccessful.com

    Pretty cool experiment when you own a blog with 25k+ subscribers!
    You need some courage to do that.

    Good luck with it, I am looking forward to the outcome!

  • Stephanie

    Interesting. I’ll look forward to hearing the results of your “experiment.” It certainly is easy to get distracted by the Internet.

  • Oscar – freestyle mind

    That’s an interesting experiment. Can’t wait to see the results/

  • Chester

    I agree. I tend to be more productive when there’s no internet connection. When there is, a lot of time spent searching for networking sites, watching videos and other non related work.

  • Kelly

    I couldn’t do it! I’m too addicted, I’m sorry to say.

  • Denny Sugar

    Will need to try that, although I have recently cut out most of my twitter and facebook time and decided to get back to reading blogs again. Way more productive and useful info.

  • InternethowBlog

    Wouldn’t you get tempted to plug the ethernet cable back or extending the hours?

  • Jason

    Interesting experiment. Let us know how it goes.
    It sure does sound like something I would not be able to do. Maybe a few days at a time, or a couple of days a week but not for a month. Need access to email.

  • Ellen

    Fantastic experiment and I look forward to seeing how it goes for you. Or maybe we should start a club, the 2-hour a day club for bloggers, and compare notes at the end.

  • Scott Thomason

    I would shrivel up and die if I was limited to two hours of internet access per day. It is certainly a brave experiment.

  • Mike CJ

    Seems a bit drastic to me. Maybe invoke some self discipline rather than disconnecting? The danger of the two hour limit is that you may not have time to promote through social media, research other blogs, stay up to date with news, and do all the other things that aren’t directly productive, but that are necessary.

  • Chanda @ BizDharma.com

    Hey Daniel

    I have a cool tip to help you more. If like me you too are a firefox fan you can get plugins such as the Time Tracker plugin. It simply keeps on tracking the time you are surfing the web. And it remembers the time and calculates the whole day net consumption.

    This has helped me a lot in saving as the ticker keeps ticking at the status bar.

    Regards
    Chanda Himanshu

  • Ronnie Holm

    I can only agree.

    Several times, I’ve set forward a similar goal of only using the Internet for some period of time every day. In the end, I never reached my goal. Mostly because my work required me to lookup stuff on the Internet — or so I convinced myself.

    Instead, I’ve adopted an approach using two computers:

    http://www.bugfree.dk/blog/2009/07/27/becoming-aware-of-and-minimizing-distractions/

    I’m on week two of my experiment. Good luck on yours ;o)

  • Steve

    That quite an interesting experiment. I have always read that checking your email and your rss reader on a regular basis wastes a good amount of time.

  • Leanne Boyd

    Great posting and I sooo agree. However, when your work is all online, it becomes difficult to stick to an ‘absolute’ number of hours per day, for anything. But, I too, have ‘jailed’ my inbox, for instance, and applied filters so that for many items such as newsletters… I will get to it when I can! The management issues increase daily, don’t you think? As we go forward, ‘life’ and work on the Net are very different from yesteryear’s freelance or home business. I’ve worked solo since the 1970s. It’s amazing and even alarming, all the changes we’ve gone through. Thanks for your insightful comments, and I will keep tabs on your results.

  • Jim Kukral

    GREAT idea. I might have to try the unplug thing as well.

  • Jeremy McKay

    I am looking forward to your results and I am inspired to do the same thing. Research will be tricky , but I think you are right. A lot of internet activity is such a time suck. Good luck with your experiment.

  • Andy in Germany

    I thought it was only me. I tend to work on an ancient, non-internet connected laptop when I write, and it does make a difference. I just figured I was a lazy oaf, so it’s good to know I’m not. I can show my wife it isn’t just me, now.

  • Sohail

    hmmm i can relate to that sometimes i sit on PC for hours and do nothing while sometimes i write 2/3 articles in an hours. It all depends how u manage time

  • Nicholas Z. Cardot

    Interesting experiment. I feel like I waste too much time on the internet as well. I’m looking forward to seeing how this turns out for you.

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