1105359  © Gaye Wilson 2013

 Do you browse the internet for hours at a time?

I have been known to do so.

And at the end of the day, I’m tired and annoyed with myself. Typically, I don’t have much to show for the day, except more stuff on my hard drive that I’ll probably never look at.

I’m trying something new today. It’s a log of what I do, as I do it.

I’ve opened a new Word document (a text document would do, or a spreadsheet – I used to use a spreadsheet for work) with the title ‘What I did today’ and the date. And under the heading, I have typed everything I have done, each item on a separate line.

For example:

  • I paid a membership.
  • I took photos for some items I want to sell on ebay.
  • Contacted Canon for help with a printer problem.
  • Filed some receipts.
  • Did some online surveys.
  • Coached a client.
  • Sent out some overdue emails (listed on separate lines).
  • Etc.

I have found this to be a really exhilarating exercise. It shows how I have spent my time. It has kept me focused on important tasks rather than mindless surfing. It has motivated me to do more and cross items off my to-do list. It makes me feel good. I have actually accomplished a lot of little tasks today that have been hanging around undone for ages.

If I was honest with myself, and did this on a day that I was surfing for hours, I would paste the urls, so that I could look back on the day and see if any of the surfing was actually useful. I tend to lose track of where I’ve surfed, even when I’m doing useful surfing.

The other important thing is that this process has forced me to pay attention to what I am actually doing, and I am conscious of my actions to the point where I don’t want to be mindless. In order to make today’s tally look as if I have had a productive day, I am tending to look at websites for specific information, deal with it, close the tab and move on to the next item on my list, rather than spending many more minutes browsing the site just for interest.

It’s self-regulating. I know I will be self-reporting my actions, so I do actions that are worth reporting!

I know there are programs out there that will record what sites you visit (such as Surfwatcher:  http://surferwatcher.software.informer.com/ ) or time trackers (such as True Time Tracker: http://true-time-tracker.software.informer.com/) [neither of which I have used, by the way, and there are many more out there], but for today I have found that manually recording my actions has had a regulating effect on me. I am conscious of what I am doing, I am consistently looking for the next action to take rather than drifting through the day, and I am in the moment.


I’m so much more productive today.

What strategies do you use to keep yourself on track and off the internet?