If I had to calculate how much time I’ve wasted online, I’d be pretty embarrassed. Sometimes, it’s easy to feel like you’re working when you’re sitting at your computer — and doing nothing of value. Five minutes spent here and there replying to non-work email, sending instant messages, posting messages on Facebook or even surfing the web can really add up. Even as I type this, I’ve got two instant messaging conversations going on in the background. Granted, it’s not exactly the middle of my workday, but it’s still slowing me down.
However, I’m not sure this is much different than work before these things were invented. I’ve always had things to distract me…newspapers, phone calls, unrelated errands and the like. More than once, I’ve gone to a coffee shop with the intent of working and instead found myself lost in a magazine someone’s left lying there.
Since I’m the kind of person who tends to work a lot, these productivity killers probably aren’t killing my productivity. These distractions instead provide a much needed break in the day. Sometimes, a little human contact and a break from work are all I need to get going again. Perhaps it’s better to sacrifice five minutes on idle behaviour than to lose a few days from a stress-induced flu.
Do you fritter away your time? Is it such a bad thing?