Minimizing Computer Distractions
Many children, adolescents, and adults get distracted easily when using a computer for homework or work related tasks. For some, it’s very tempting to open a webpage and check sports scores, news, or play computer games. For others, checking email or other tasks distract them. Thus, here are a few practical strategies to improve productivity when using a computer:
1) Setup a separate user profile for homework/work than the one you use for fun things such as personal email, games, and other items. This in of itself will help keep you in the mindset that you need to be working when using this user profile. If needed, use the privacy or administrator controls to block sites or programs that you frequently use for fun that you are likely to use instead of getting work done.
2) If using the internet for homework/work, only keep web pages open that you are using for these purposes. If you wish to keep other pages open, keep them open in a separate browser so you don’t see them except when you open that group of pages. Only do this if you have the willpower to not look at them except when taking breaks.
3) Disable popup notifications for email, sports scores, etc.
4) If you need multiple windows open at the same time and find it distracting to switch between pages, consider using a second monitor so you can view two pages at once and reduce temptations to open other pages or programs when switching between ones that you are actually using.
5) If your cell phone email alerts distract you, turn your phone on silent. Alternatively, if you need to check certain email accounts but not others and lose time checking these accounts on the computer, consider using your phone to help. Specifically, keep the alert on or use vibrate for the account you need to check. Turn off any alerts for accounts you don’t need to check such as an email account that gets mostly junk mail or your personal email account if the emails received won’t require an immediate response.
Computers are great tools, but also provide a variety of distractions. Thus, if you find yourself getting distracted on the computer when trying to get tasks completed, try these strategies as well as ones that you develop yourself to improve your efficiency when completing tasks on the computer.
Copyright 2014 Carey A Heller, Psy.D.
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*Disclaimer: The previous information is intended as general guidance based on my professional opinion, does not constitute an established professional relationship, and should not replace the recommendations of a psychologist or other licensed professional with whom you initiate or maintain a professional relationship*