By Jennifer Outcelt
You’ve seen those click bait quizzes online while scrolling through Facebook, right? You know, the ones that will tell you what breed of dog you are based on your zodiac sign and what you ate for breakfast, or tell you what color underwear you are wearing based on your street name and favorite popsicle flavor. You’re aware that these are all BS (by the way, I’m a collie and the color is blue), yet you still waste your time giving the stupid side of the internet more attention than it deserves. So what does it mean when you are spending too much time on the web during work hours? I’d take a look at your motivation.
Now, I’m not going to tell you that there’s never a time or place for meandering through the news or scrolling retail sites looking for the perfect “Add to My Bag” item. I will tell you, however, that the time and place is NOT from 9 to 5 Monday through Friday at your work desk. I certainly enjoy the occasional yodeling cat video a coworker sends over, but when it comes to work motivation, the time I spend online indirectly correlates with my level of motivation. The more motivation, the less useless surfing. Makes sense, right? If you feel that your job has purpose, that you make a difference in your company’s efficiency, that you respect the time you are being paid to work and in turn are respected for that time given, then I would say you are likely a motivated employee… and likely don’t compose snarky tweets to burn @realDonaldTrump during work.
You might be thinking, “But, Jennifer, I really need that 15 minute break from the emails just to zone out. And it’s so much easier to book my doctor’s appointment online from my work computer!” If you are taking a short 15 minute internet break once or twice a day, I’m not too worried about you (especially since many jobs are required to give workers two 15 minute breaks). I’m focused on the people who are spending an extra 1 or more hours a day on non-work related web use. That adds up to a net of 5 or more hours a week… Over half a day of work, gone! Vamoose! Out the window! If you are spending that amount of time online during the workday, you might want to look closely at why you are losing your motivation.
Here are some common questions I would ask, and my response to your hypothetical “yes”. Are you bored or disengaged from your work? Then talk to a supervisor about how you can work on projects that are more meaningful. Worst-case scenario, this is just not the job for your talents. Are you completing your work so fast that you’ve run out of things to do? False… there is always something to do! It’s great you are so quick, now be a team player and find a way to help someone else. Or start a project to help the whole company. Or just clean! Clean spaces make for clear minds. Do you think your time is worth more than they are paying you? It could be… but most likely it is not. Regardless of what your time is worth, every minute you spend not working is essentially stealing. People who steal think they deserve the things they take; they don’t. It’s dishonest. Stop. Do you think that the things you are doing online are more important or time sensitive? Simple… They’re not.
I might come off as an internet Nazi, but my real goal is to avoid the TRUE internet Nazi’s from taking over. Every day companies implement technology to track how their employees are spending their time. What sites do they visit? Nope! Can’t go there! How long are you online? That’s too Long! Shut it down! How often are you typing? Not often enough! Must not be working! And who can blame these companies when there are people out there that are stealing productive time from them. All I’m saying is that if you want to maintain your internet liberty (and your coworker’s respect), you have to be cognizant of how your motivation might be affecting your work life/internet life balance.