Cyberslacking: When Procrastination Goes Digital

Procrastination is always been a problem, but in the digital age the procrastination beast has changed.

Cyberslacking: v Procrastinating or putting off an important task or activity by using technology.

Here are the most popular forms of cyberslacking:

-Cruising Facebook

-Playing Online Games

-Web surfing

-Playing phone games

-Texting or IMing friends to check-in

-Watching YouTube videos

First, cyberslacking is far too easy to do. Because we have so many devices, cyberslacking activities beckon to us from every corner…a buzzing phone in our pocket, a pinging computer on our desk, a beeping iPad from our bag. Often times when I would procrastinate on homework, sheer boredom would bring me back to my work. In all seriousness, I do not think I have been bored in four years—since the advent of Facebook and proliferation of IM and texting. Because I am never bored, it is hard to feel the natural inclination to go back to work, I find more and more that I have to force myself away.

Cyberslacking is also hard to avoid because we now work where we play. Teenagers write their essay on the same computer that they chat with friends. A pinging IM icon is far too tempting when working on a report for work. In addition, my personal and work emails mix so I, along with many others find it hard to say no to a funny YouTube video from a friend when I am supposed to be sending pitch emails.

How can we prevent cyberslacking in our own lives? Here’s how:

1) Make Two Different Users

Make two different users for yourself on your computer—one personal one, and one ‘work’ one. On the work one you can uninstall or remove from the dock any chat or IM programs. On your Internet browser you can get rid of any personal or fun bookmarks. If you are really extreme you can even install parental controls on the work user to block social sites and games.

2) Have a Far-Away Phone Charge Station

A buzzing phone is almost impossible to ignore. If you set-up a charging station by the front door or in the kitchen you can plug it in while working, writing or paying bills. This way you are not inclined to check it or play games.

3) Get Two Email Accounts

Separating out personal and business email is becoming more and more important. Especially when Facebook sends you messages and updates to your email. I highly recommend separating your email accounts to not get distracted.

4) Work in Chunks

Chunking is a great way to work without getting distracted or procrastinate. This is when you use a phone or egg timer to work in chunks—30 minutes on, 5 minutes off. You work very efficiently during your 30 minutes to get to your 5 minute break where you can check Facebook, texts or watch a quick video.

Cyberslacking can creep up on you and sap away your productivity. I highly recommend keeping a log of how much you are working (or not) during a typical day. Avoiding cyberslacking is also how we teach ourselves how to be attentive in life, which is a skill that is slowly disappearing in the digital age.

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