If you’ve haven’t noticed it already, don’t worry, you will. Increasing the amount of hours you spend in front of your computer every day doesn’t necessarily mean you’re also increasing productivity. In fact, in some cases, you may be doing more harm than good. There are times when you need to dig in because you’re up against a deadline but there are other times when limiting your online hours is a better plan Let’s take a look at how you can tell the difference.
First, be aware that we’re talking about a slippery slope here. There will be times when you need to spend an inordinate amount of time online to achieve some goal. And if you blanket your entire business under the “Fewer Hours = Higher Productivity” idea you’ll be making a big mistake. There are very few carved-in-stone rules when you’re running your own business. You need to learn to be flexible.
Now, how does limiting your online hours improve your productivity? I learned this lesson early in my blogging career.
Every day when I sat down at my computer I told myself I was going to work until I got everything done. I didn’t worry about what time that my be because I had no other commitments, so I was free to sit at my computer 24 hours a day if I wanted to.
So I would sit down at my computer, and one day I’d work from 8 in the morning until midnight that night. The next day I’d start even earlier, at 6 a.m. and still work until midnight. The next day I’d be tired so I’d spend an hour or two reading or watching TV before I started but I’d still put in a solid 10 or 12 hours. And this is how my days went for almost a year.
Until it finally hit me – By the end of the week I wasn’t getting much accomplished, no matter how long I sat in front of my computer and my productivity was never consistent. I wasn’t working until I got everything done, most of the time I was sitting at my computer until I could no longer bear to sit up.
Now, I run my blog just like a business. I sit down to my computer at the same time every day and I end my day at the same time every day, too. And in between I have a specific list of tasks I need to accomplish every day. Because I have a set number of hours in which to accomplish these tasks, I avoid all distractions and get my work done, because I know I’ll be able to reward myself with plenty of free time when I get up from my desk.
When you’re working online time can get away from you. You’re not physically drained at the end of the day and it’s not always easy to feel that mental drain, but it’s there all the same. You’re also already working at home. People who work “real” jobs work their 40 or 50 hours and then go home and spend time with their families and friends so there’s a visible line between work and down-time. You need to find that line, too. Start limiting your online hours and get away from your computer and you’ll notice an increase in your productivity, too.