Ever click on an interesting article and the next thing you know you have wasted 30 minutes falling down the internet rabbit hole?  Of course you have, we all have.  Staying focused at work can sometimes be hard when there is so much information only a click away.

I am lucky enough to work for an employer that does not block where we are allowed to surf on the internet.  With that privilege, it is important to be respectful and stay focused on why I am on the computer in the first place…to do work!  Studies have proven that taking small breaks throughout the day can help bolster an employee’s productivity and their overall happiness in the workplace.

Here are some quick tips for staying focused in the information age.

Only take a break after completing a task.   Stopping mid email to check out those shoes you saw in the store last night or to check a social media notification that popped up on your phone makes your work take longer and also feel more tedious.  The longer a tasks takes you, the more tiresome it can feel.  Stay focused until your project is complete and then reward yourself with a quick 5 minute break to see what your old college roommate instagrammed for lunch.

Create a routine.   Have a long project to work on?  Take your breaks at regulated intervals.  For example, work for two hours and then take a ten minute break, but keep an eye on the clock while you are cruising the web so you don’t let time get away from you.

Don’t keep excessive tabs open.   If you always have a tab open with your twitter feed or your favorite news site, it is easy to constantly click back and forth and see what is happening in the outside world just for a second.  Those seconds add up! Best keep the tabs closed and the temptation gone while you are working.

Disable pop up notifications.   Another big distraction at work is your smart phone.  If you are constantly getting notifications from your all your applications, it is distracting not only to you but to your co-workers (in the era of open office spaces chances are your neighbor can hear every time your phone buzzes).  Check out your phone’s settings and disable the applications that can be easily checked manually.  No need to lose your train of thought because your village was attacked in Clash of Clans!

Lastly, remind yourself that anything you don’t get done at the office during the day is probably just going to have be done that night from home!