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What’s an Internet-Addicted Person to Do?

surfing_at_work_400Sometimes it’s okay to waste time surfing the Internet, like when you’re unwinding at home after a long day at the office. However, wasting time with mindless Internet browsing can become a problem when it cuts into your work day and makes you less productive.

The temptation to put off work and look at “just one more website” is faced by workers in every position. Even business owners aren’t exempt from the productivity traps of the World Wide Web. If you harbor a degree of guilt for not getting around to an important project because you wasted too much time on social media, then you know exactly what we’re talking about.

The reason why the Internet is so darn distracting actually boils down to human biology. In the history of human beings, the Internet is an extremely new tool. Our brains are still adapting to this newfangled invention that overloads our senses with a tidal wave of interesting (but not always relevant) information. Every notification and every cool website visited actually releases the addictive dopamine chemical in our brain. This is the same reward chemical responsible for getting people hooked on drugs, albeit funny cat memes releases a much smaller amount of dopamine than hard drugs.

A classic example of a website that will eat up a lot of your time is “The Art of Manliness.” They recently touched on this issue and likened Internet addiction to our brain’s survival instinct that rewards itself with dopamine after encountering new information about our physical surroundings:

And what is the Internet besides a collection of millions of bits of information–hit after dopamine-releasing hit. The Internet is really like a giant information slot machine. Every time you surf to a new page, you pull that lever, and wait to see what pops up. Pull the lever. Pull the lever. Pull the lever. Ding-ding-ding-ding. It’s easy to get entranced and lose track of time.

Weening yourself off the Internet so that you can get more work done can be a difficult task. You can try the cold turkey approach and cut the cord entirely, but you’ve probably set your life up in such a way that you need the Internet to do day-to-day tasks, communicate with others, and, oh yeah, run your business. Instead of cutting the cord, you may be able to identify which websites are the worst distractions and use sheer willpower to stay away from them. Yeah, good luck with that.

It’s difficult enough to keep your own Internet usage in check, but it’s more difficult when you have to manage your staff and prevent them from wasting company time online. You can implement Internet usage policies for your business, and you can give every employee you catch messing around on Facebook the ol’ stink eye, but efforts like these are ultimately time-consuming because they require a manager to enforce them.

Why not use technology to help you control your use of technology? With a Unified Threat Management (UTM) networking solution from TMS, you can take advantage of content filtering to remove the web’s worst distractions from the office. It’s as easy as creating a list of problem websites like Facebook, YouTube, Reddit, Pinterest, and entering them into the UTM’s content filter. This will effectively block these sites from your office, ensuring that employees can stay focused on the task you’re paying them to work on. You can even adjust the UTM settings on a per-user basis, meaning that your company’s social media director can access Twitter while other staff members cannot.

In many cases, businesses that have employed content filtering with UTM have seen productivity increase by as much as 25%! Take the first step in freeing yourself from the web’s web by giving TMS a call at 1 (626) 737-2960.