How to increase your productivity when surfing the web

If I could show you how one small tweak change improve your future earnings, health, and happiness, would you be interested? Who wouldn’t, right? It’s to do with active and passive surfing. The way you surf online affects your long-term objectives. For example, if I read one article from Harvard Business Review every day, and do this every day over the course of the year, I’m probably going to learn at least one thing that will drive my business forward.

Passive v Active Surfing

It all comes down to active – you define the rules – and passive surfing, where you follow one link to the next to the next. Now, we all need a break, but you need to draw the line somewhere. You also need to define what EXACTLY you gain from visiting these sites.

Define your goals

Let’s start with goals.
  • What do you want to learn from the sites you visit?
  • How will this site bring you closer to your goals?
  • Can you use what they’re discussing to develop your business? For example, some sites, though wonderful, don’t apply to my business.
  • Would I recommend this site to my friends?

How much time do you spend online every day?

If you’ve ever went on a diet, you’ve probably made a list of all the things you eat during the day. Seeing this can be quite humbling, and shocking. I eat all that! In the same way, keep a list and note how much time you spend online. For example:
  • During breakfast
  • On the train to work
  • Before you start work
  • At eleven
  • At twelve thirty…
And so on. Add it up. How many hours? Now, is this a good investment of your time? Is there something you could be doing instead, something that might bring you better long term results? For example?
  • Journaling.
  • Reading a business book on the way to work
  • Listening to a podcast.
  • Writing a daily blog
  • Meditating
In other words,
  1. identify how much time you spend on this activity
  2. identify your long term goals
  3. create small incremental plans that get you there

Make a shortlist

Identify the fifteen sites that align with your goals. Add these to Create folders for different subject areas, for example, Finance, Time Management, Family, and News. Add five to each folder, no more. Then, if you find a terrific new site that you want to add, remove one site from the current list. This protects you from information overload. It also ensures you read, not skim, the articles. Review these sites every month. Delete the sites you rarely read. They’re just clutter.

Use a timer to track time spent online

Would you sit down and watch TV all night? Maybe on a Friday or if you deserve a Netflix binge but most nights, probably no, I’d guess. Well, on the web, it should be the same. Instead of surfing open-ended, give yourself a time limit. For example, fifteen minutes before you start work. 15 minutes at lunchtime, and 30 when you get home. That’s an hour. I don’t trust myself to go offline after an hour. So, I use a Pomodoro tool that pops up every fifteen minutes reminding me to get offline. It’s a bit like nagging yourself to brush your teeth and it works. Thanh Pham explains that, ‘The main idea behind the Pomodoro technique is something called “time-boxing” and it is a really simple time management technique. The basic premise is to firewall your attention for a small amount of time and mentally recharge after each interval of work. By completing small chunks of work you will build momentum so that you will feel more productive which in itself leads to getting more work done. This productivity tip works great for people who have to work at a desk, but you can also use it in different settings.’ You can also try:

Visit social media sites last

If you know you’re going to get pulled into Facebook, and can’t resist, then visit this last. This indirectly controls how much time you spend on these sites and ensures you spend time on ‘high-value’ sites, i.e. sites that align with your long-term goals.


Time is the only resource you can’t get back. It’s too easy to ‘go with the flow’ online. There’s always a funny cat video out there. But what’s the price? Of course, you need to have a break sometimes. It’s important to chill out and have a laugh. But it’s equally important that you value your time. Lil Bub doesn’t. Think long–term. Visit sites that bring you closer to your goals, that provide practical advice that you can apply to your business, and filter out the distractions. Very soon you’ll see the benefits.