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That wastes time. Huge time.
I also tried setting up mail notifications so that I don't have to keep on refreshing tabs, but in this case I get dragged to keep a parallel eye on the Gmail as if my life depended on it. This happens in all important as well as non important cases.

I can't concentrate on the task I am doing because of this problem. :(

Any helps?

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8 Answers

up vote 15 down vote accepted

Here is my solution of similar problem:

Preparation steps:

  1. Decide to use "that" internet site(s) actively 2-3 hours max by day. Programs like StayFocusd really helps.

  2. Use timer (pomodoro or ordinary one with ticking sound) to track time of your activities, work time and time you spent on internet. I use WaterShip Planner

  3. Decide that this day will not be like others: I will work actively for 6 hours in total.

  4. Open http://youtu.be/7DNJ6o2xQGU . It lasts 15 minutes, so it's better to download to hard drive and loop in music player.

Active steps:

  1. Adjust StayFocusd to not open any disturbing internet site in next 2 hours.

  2. Turn on fireplace sound, start timer (with ticking) and decide to work 30 minutes concentrated.

  3. 10 minutes break. Turn off sounds, and open some Chopin piece on youtube, close eyes and relax. Be sure to overcome desire to open site or email for "a just few minutes".

  4. Repeat steps 2. and 3. three times.

  5. Reward yourself with 30 minutes surfing disturbing site(s) or whatever.

  6. Repeat steps 1. - 5. Now you have 3 active concentrated hours of work which is good deal.

  7. Reward yourself with something for next 2-3 hours.

  8. Repeat steps 1. - 5. two more times.

  9. Reward yourself.

  10. Make sure to get enough sleep (in my case on average 6:45 hours a day).

  11. After first day, and 6 hours of great work, try to not break the chain. Usually at the end of a day (but often a few times during a day) I open "charts" in "Watership planner" and enjoy looking of total concentrated times I worked in chain which motivates me for tomorrow.

That's my solution to problem and it works. Hope to help.

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Thanks, fireplace sound sounds cool. I'll checkout watership plnner too. –  TheIndependentAquarius Dec 27 '11 at 0:33
    
Warship planner is for windows, I work on Linux. :( –  TheIndependentAquarius Jan 4 '12 at 11:59
    
"StayFocusd" helped. Thanks –  TheIndependentAquarius Jan 6 '12 at 15:03
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Almost everyone of us has faced these problem whether it is checking out our Social Games or Forums or Feeds. I have also spent a lot of my time doing all this.

One of the primary reasons behind all addictions whether it is forum addiction or otherwise is a lack of a major purpose in life.

Whenever there is a major emergency in life or a pressing deadline we separate out the chaff and focus on getting the bottleneck removed. But these are knee jerk responses.

Real peace comes from determining the major purpose and living it every moment. When we give the important things our focus and attention, a lot of problems just melt away.

I would recommend you to take a few courses in meditation. It really clears the mind, helps in discovering our purpose and keeps us focused on it. :)

This is just my personal opinion, but meditation has worked for me. It has improved my willpower and I can stay focused for longer periods. My productivity has improved a lot.

All the best to you.

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Thanks, I realize the importance of words. The problem is that I really don't have a major purpose in my life. I am living because I am alive. Do you know any particular courses in meditation? –  TheIndependentAquarius Dec 27 '11 at 0:27
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I did a few Vipassana courses and continuously practice it. It has helped a lot. You can check out the link.There are no charges for the courses. Courses are given in numerous Meditation Centers around the world. –  santu Dec 30 '11 at 18:25
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For myself, a large part of even starting to get a handle on that was realizing that basically what's going on is that you think, albeit subconsciously, that there is a much higher than actual probability of you completing a dopamine feedback loop by smashing F5.

IIRC, our brains release dopamine disproportionately when they think that there's about an even chance of a "reward", for lack of a better term at the moment.

To help counter that, I've started breaking down tasks and using an organizational system that provides quick feedback. For me, this is org-mode on emacs and org-mobile for android and a Dropbox account. I wouldn't say it's solved the issue for me, but making sure I can get fast feedback (positive and negative) about what I've scheduled, and what I need to get done, and see what amounts to a green bar increase, no matter where I'm at, helps immensely.

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good question (unfortunately) - I'm also often feeling the urge to constantly check if there are some news anywhere...

What helps me to avoid those distractions, is a program with 5 levels (levels 1 and 2 are the basis, 3 to 5 are not always necessary):

  1. by using RSS feeds for the interesting forums (e. g. the responses feed in my stack exchange accounts) I can be quite sure not to miss a comment or answer to one of my contributions.
  2. making myself clear that it's not the end of the world if I do not reply to a comment to my answers or questions within 20 minutes ;-)))
  3. working with a timer method like the Pomodoro technique which reminds you that any distraction is forbidden until the working time slice is finished and which also restricts the time for distraction (break) between 2 working time slices
  4. closing the browser completely (at least this increases the hurdle to have a "quick look" into the WWW)
  5. shutting the internet connection off (pull out ethernet connector or switch router off) - but I used this drastic method only once or twice up to now
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I check out what is RSS, thanks. I addiction towards forums etc. is like cocaine, I can control for some time, but then again I am back to square one. :( –  TheIndependentAquarius Dec 27 '11 at 0:30
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I use my calendar to schedule time for "input" activities -- RSS feeds, forum reading, and email. Practice the discipline of only doing that reading during scheduled time. Site blocking tools may help develop the discipline.

It helps to minimize the number of in boxes you use. Whenever possible, I'll use an RSS feed from a forum, so I don't actually go to the forum site, but read in my RSS reader. Your solution of subscribing to email notices can help, but you have to include scheduling email in your daily habits. Turn off any "you have mail" notices, and only look at email when your calendar says it is time.

My co-workers and I agree there is no such thing as an urgent email, if something needs an immediate response we use IM or the telephone (or walking over) instead. That lets scheduled email reading work for us.

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I exit the browser.

Turn it off. Close it. This has worked me the best. When I need the documentation I just start it again, it loads my last session anyway. Then I exit it again.

Also, spend the first 15 minutes of your day with the honest work. You can exit everything else till you do that. I've read it somewhere and it's great, can change your day, can change your life!

In the rest of the day, if there is anything personally important I put the old unsupported native gtalk client. Alternatively a tray notifier. I set it to disable all notifications. Since I keep my inbox clean (starring everything to 'read it later') this still shows me if you got mail, and is blinking if someone is chatting at me. I block everyone who is 'not important' if I need to.

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If I feel in trouble, I exit all IMs and email clients, too. Despite our office policy to the contrary. –  naxa May 22 '13 at 13:56
    
This works well along with Pomodoro or similar tools. In Pomodoro you do not follow any notification (exceptions granted in life threatening emergencies :-) and only check on your next break. –  Rory Alsop May 22 '13 at 14:53
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This probably isn't the answer to your whole problem, but in my experience the issue of "I get dragged to keep a parallel eye on the Gmail as if my life depended on it" is easily solved by turning on some kind of email notification sound (only works if you don't actually get a lot of email).

I know, that goes against a lot of productivity theories! But if you can't solve the underlying problem of really caring about answers to forum questions, at least you can do it efficiently by making the notifications get your attention when answers do show up and spending the rest of your day un-distracted until that happens, rather than being distracted all day by looking at the forum or your email every five minutes just to check if they show up.

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I use a program for the mac called Cuckou by Toasty Code. It's basically a chime that you can set to go off at intervals of 10 or 5 minutes. If ToastyCode was a watch maker I would sell their watches. :)

I use the chime to remind myself that I should be on task. I find that I'm prone to follow threads of thought that can be extremely fun, but irrelevant to whatever I'm supposed to be doing.

When the chime goes off, I look at my todo list. Or simply switch back to the window where I was working before I got caught in wikipedialand or youtubeland or sometimes stackoverflowland :)

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