Computers have drastically altered the country.
From business to education, just about all facets of human existence have felt the influence of computers. A few websites estimate that 76 % of American adults own computers. 39% of American adults reportedly own laptops. Supposedly half of all Americans own smartphones.
Unfortunately, I haven’t been able to find any data showing how much people actually get done on their digital devices.
I am an expert at pretending to be busy on my iTouch while really playing a grueling game of chess (one of these days I’ll take the computer off of the easy setting). Students frequently go to the library to work on homework but end up on Facebook instead (or Twitter, YouTube, MySpace, DiggIt, StumbleUpon . . .). Here are 5 ideas to help you stay on task while online:
Close Skype: Some people claim they can multitask: for some people this is true; for others, it is not. Even if it is true, chatting online usually causes either your homework or your conversation to suffer.
Browser Extensions: Many browsers have add-ons or extensions that limit the amount of time you can spend on sites like Facebook and Twitter. Like Gandalf the Grey, these add-ons have many different names. On Firefox it’s called LeechBlock. On Chrome it’s known as StayFocused. I couldn’t find versions for Safari or Internet Explorer (all the more reason to move over!).
Set rules: Set times when you will use social media or other time-wasting sites. For example, you can limit yourself to using these sites from 4:00 to 5:00 each day. Agree not to spend more than 15 minutes at a time on such websites.
Set goals: Similar to setting rules, you can use the internet as a quasi-merit-based system. Don’t log on until your biology essay is finished. Put off playing Minesweeper until your U.S. history reading is finished. Use 15 minutes of Facebook to reward 150 minutes of homework.
Turn it off: Homework can often be done without your computer. If that is an option, take advantage of it. During class, try taking notes on (don’t faint!) notebook paper. Look facts up in books in the library instead of Googling them.
No matter what you do, it will take a little willpower, but your computer won’t run away anytime soon. You can do it!
Derek Gurr works as an intern for MyCollegesAndCareers.com. My Colleges and Careers is an excellent online resource which helps connect students to an online school that will help them to meet their career goals.