3 productivity problems with the browser and how to overcome them
Work or watch videos? Study or reply to messages? Think or check notifications?
These are choices many of us have to make every day, dozens of times. The problem is that for many of us, the latter option in those scenarios wins too often.
Let's take a look at why.
The browser wasn't made for focused work
1. Many tasks, many tabs, no focus
You don't have 1 tab to fully immerse yourself in a website, explore it and see how it might help you. No, you have many tabs, leading you to quickly scan through and fracture your attention between 5, 15, or 50 different websites. That's hardly a recipe for focus.
2. Bored? Distracted? Just open a new tab
How many people would stick to a healthy diet if next to every healthy meal there was a donut, a can of coke, and a piece of chocolate next to it? Not many.
That's exactly what the new tab button is - an ever-present temptation.
Bored for 5 seconds? New tab.
Thinking about lunch? New tab, let's browse menus.
Not feeling like working? Let's check email, Twitter, YouTube. Oh look, a new post from...
Opening a new tab is an instant escape from any kind of stress, including the kind that would actually help you.
3. Infinite buffet
The vast majority of websites aren't about creation, but consumption. You look at them, you browse, you watch. But you don't create, think, or decide anything.
Obviously, there are exceptions. Platforms like Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, or YouTube allow you to create. But what's the ratio of consumption to production? More people watch 3 hours of video than create 3 hours of it.
Consumption is the dominant paradigm for most of us, most of the time. Passive use, not active use.
The browser is a kind of distraction trap by default. It captures you in a swirl of consumption and doesn't help you think through the next steps towards your goals or the decision about your next job.
How to re-make your browsers into a productive environment
If you're a creative professional of any sort, chances are you spend a lot of time in the browser. Modern tools of all kinds are now available directly in the browser, so more people spend their time there - at peril of the traps outlined above.
So here's how to use the browser more productively.
1. Don't use the browser
When you don't need to use the browser, don't. It's a simple way to avoid all its traps. In fact, often you can go without using any high-tech tools at all. Pen and paper sometimes serve much better than touchscreens and keyboards.
2. When you use the browser, block distracting sites
Our extension removes the temptation to escape effort and browse away.
You add the sites you want blocked to your Blocked list and then when you turn on a timer, you can't check Twitter, YouTube, or other distracting sites. By removing the option to go to certain a certain website, your mind can fully focus on the endeavor at hand. No temptation and no distraction until you've made progress.
3. Go full screen
The last trick that can help you focus is using the fullscreen mode. If you're going to be working in one tab for a while, hiding the search bar and all the tabs removes a big part of the temptation to check some other site.
So there you have it. If you don't use the browser when you don't need to, block distracting sites or go full screen when creating in the browser, you will become much more productive and creative.