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Breaking the Facebook habit: tough love…

Breaking the Facebook habit: tough love…

Whether you’re doing business in a large workspace with lots of employees or operating as a sole trader sitting in your office built for one, you’re likely to be distracted several times a day from your actual money-earning work. Employees have the constant motivation of a boss looming over their shoulders to spur on their productivity. When you’re your own boss, however, there ain’t no one else around to stymie the temptation to give in to distractions.

Calls from your friends, mother, children, partner or ‘customer service operators’ in India all adds up to wasted time. And what about online distractions? There are not many people I know who don’t have a page on Facebook (FB) and even fewer people I know who don’t update their status at least once a day.
Why finish off that final customer request before midday when you can make one more Scrabulous move on FB and take down your friend on the other side of the world? And don’t forget about saving the planet one lil’ green patch at a time.
Seriously, there has to be a point when you guiltily realise that your cyber life is threatening to take over your livelihood. But how do you stop your fingers from involuntarily flicking your attention to an online time-waster?

The majority of people who work from home have only one computer for both business and personal use. Therefore, you can’t really put a child lock on your Internet access in the hope this will force you into greater productivity. This is a situation where discipline is key. If the thought of not accessing any of your favourite web haunts throughout the working day causes your bottom lip to quiver and glassy tears to well up in the corner of your eyes, then maybe a rewards/bribe system will work.

When I was studying for high school exams, I got a lot of procrastination miles out of drawing up a detailed study timetable. Each subject was shaded in a different colour and I always gave myself set times for morning and afternoon tea as well as regular 15-minute breaks. Then at night, I could watch whatever show I wanted on TV as my reward. While it didn’t really pan out for me (I usually read ‘Flowers in the Attic’ by Virginia Andrews under my desk, one of only a few books my mum ever banned me from reading), in theory, it was a damn good idea.

Assuming that maturity levels grow with age and you have a seriously vested interest in growing your business, this is quite a nifty system. So give yourself little pockets of (limited) time that you can check your social status or accept weird friend requests in a guilt-free manner. Soon, distractions such as Facebook will transform from a necessity to a luxury. The same cannot be said for the call centre operators in India.

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