Wednesday, January 6, 2010

The Great Time-Waster

Of all the things in my home that I count as a blessing, a benefit, and a wonderful aid to productivity, only one is also a potentially HUGE robber of my minutes... hours... days... You guessed it: the internet.

I find that the world-wide-web is much like the last ten minutes of a football game. The clock says one thing, but the world fades away and pretty soon you've wasted hours of your life on...what exactly?

I'm not critizing computers in general. They've allowed me to make friends, organize my life, save money, minister to those in need all the way on the other side of the world...in just a few short minutes. But, I'm also prone to getting my feet stuck in the sticky mud of hulu-tainment, whiling away my precious hours on Facebook Farmville, or some other inane, time-wasting activity.

The internet can be a blessing, but it can be a curse for those who lack maxiumum self-control.

The Word of God makes it very clear how we are to live our lives. Ephesians 5:15-16 says, "Look carefully then how you walk, not as unwise but as wise, making the best use of the time, because the days are evil."

Am I able to allow myself to hop on the computer without letting my usage of time become unwise? Often, I wasn't. Did I need to cut off the hand that was sinning? I did. But I needed my computer sometimes, and for noble, time-wise purpose. What to do?


Amazingly, my journey to wisdom took about four minutes. Because that's how long it took to install a couple of free, incredibly simple to install, browser add-ons. Ironically, the computer tooketh away, and now the computer giveth. For these Firefox add-ons have put me back on the path to wisdom and productivity.

LeechBlock

LeechBlock is "a simple productivity tool designed to block those time-wasting sites that can suck the life out of your working day. All you need to do is specify which sites to block and when to block them." Because my time online was spent on only a few different websites, this was a perfect add-on. I tell it which sites I tend to waste time on, and I tell it when I want to be blocked out. For me, that's weekdays when I should be choring, schooling, or spending undistracted time with my children.Alternately, you can tell the computer you only want to spend a set amount of time in each site, and it will block you out after that time is up. The specifics are up to you.
I didn't include my gmail account because that is how my husband communicates me during the day.
Does that mean I need to run to the computer every few minutes to check for an new email? Not anymore, because of a second simple add-on.

Gmail Notifier

With Gmail Notifier, your gmail account will automatically log-on when you open Firefox. Add a simple .wav file and you computer will alert you when "you've got mail" from the other room.


Time-Tracker

What about the time spent online in general? Are you prone to thinking "I wasn't on that long..."? Install a Time-Tracker add-on and watching the little clock on your tool-bar tick away will motivate you to move quickly through your web-tasks.

Pageaddict

Another helpful add-on is Pageaddict, which displays a summary of the time you've wasted on each web site for today, and a graph of your web surfing habits from the past.

Obviously, these add-ons are Firefox specific. I'm a huge fan of Firefox because it is so user-modifiable. You can make it a perfect browser for YOU, with thousands of fun and productive add-ons to choose from. If you'd like to make the switch, download Firefox for free here.


So, how much of your precious day have you wasted on the computer so far? Are you ready to "cut off the hand" that's wasting time and keeping you from making your home everything it should be?

Why not take charge of your computer time today, and every day. Starting NOW.

Get to work!


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1 comment:

lanabag said...

good post Heidi.. I need to add foxfire to my laptop... off to talk to dh about it.