How to Waste Less Time Online (and Get More Writing Done)

Today I want to share some tips to help you waste less time online.

So, you’ve sat down to write. Or maybe you’re planning to do some writing related marketing. You have a goal. You’re all set to go. But then, you somehow find you’ve wasted the morning scrolling through tweets, randomly online shopping or mindlessly reading the news. Sound familiar?

This was a problem one of my clients brought up recently, and I could totally relate. Websites and mobile phones are often designed to keep us hooked. But the problem is, when we waste time online, we come away feeling really crappy. So how can we stop ourselves from being drawn in?  

I shared some mindfulness strategies with my client recently, and I thought you might find them useful too.  

Firstly, if your goal is to write, but you keep flicking onto the internet instead, use a website blocker like Freedom or Leechblock, which will actually stop you accessing certain sites for a period of time. Or try turning your device onto Flight Mode. This little bit of friction gives you the few seconds required to stop and ask yourself, do I need to do this right now? Usually that’s just long enough to prompt you to get back to your writing.

If, however, you need to use the internet for something writing related like research or marketing, try approaching it mindfully. That way you’re less likely to stumble down a rabbit hole.

Image by Sammy-Williams

5 Strategies for Using the Internet Mindfully

  1. Schedule your session, giving yourself a specific time frame

2. Write down what you want to achieve from the session. This will help you keep your goal in mind.

3. Set a timer. For example, if you’re going on Linkedin to do some networking, you might want to have a timer go off every 10-15 minutes. The little buzzer going off at frequent intervals will bring your attention back to the task at hand, in case you have drifted off. If you’re on Twitter, however, you might want that timer to go off every 5 minutes. 

4. When the timer goes off, check what you’re doing. Stop and ask yourself: 

Is this useful? (If not, stop)

Is it relevant?

Is it urgent? (If not, make a note, and come back to this another time)

5. If you find you frequently get distracted on Twitter, consider deleting contacts who don’t share useful content. Be brutal! That way, you’ll see more of what you want to see, and waste less time reading totally random stuff!

I hope that helps. Do let me know how you get on!

By the way, if there’s something in your writing that you’re struggling with, get in touch as I might be able to answer it in a future post. You can also reply just to say hi – or give me some feedback or share a tip – I’d love to hear from you. 

Thanks so much for reading! If you’re new to my list, I’m Katy Segrove – animation writer, children’s author, writing coach and mum to cheeky 2-year old Otto.

Finally, if you find my posts helpful, you can sign up for my weekly newsletter where I share tips on all aspects of writing, productivity, habits and different ways of marketing yourself and your work.

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