How The Internet Can Kill Your Productivity (And Give You A Disorder)

Productivity is always hard to maintain, but especially when you have a plethora of distractions around you. If you’re an adult, then you probably have television, games, movies, and a social life to distract from work-related tasks. But, one of the most problematic addictions in recent years has been the internet. We all use the internet virtually every day, and many people would likely be lost without it. It can be a resource for both work and play, which makes it difficult to get away from. But, did you know that internet addiction might be classified as an actual disorder?

A Growing Trend

One study in 2014 illustrated that 53% of adults would have a “very hard” time giving up the internet. In 2006, that number was a mere 38%. The growth and the accessibility of the internet have made it very difficult to ignore. But the amount of content that can be found on the web is truly gargantuan. Whether you are looking for games, music, movies, news, TV, sports, or virtually anything else under the sun, you can find it on the internet. Some estimates have suggested that the amount of digital media has increased nine-fold in the last six years. That should tell you something about our ever-growing need to consume media.

In addition to all of this, more and more people are becoming reliant on their smartphones to surf the internet. You can literally be anywhere and still be in contact with the internet. It’s very hard to ignore the fact that you have a tiny machine that connects you to friends, resources, and information better and faster than anything else. This has led many to speculate that the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM-5) could soon ass “Internet Use Addiction” as a legitimate disorder.  Indeed, excessive internet use has frequently been associated with other mental disorders like depression or anxiety.

Modes of Addiction

One of the major causes of internet addiction is online gaming. It’s not uncommon for people to spend hours upon hours playing online games while simultaneously neglecting their real-life responsibilities (whether they be to work or to family).

In some cases, even websites like Wikipedia can be a deterrent for your productivity. Wikipedia addiction is not as uncommon as you might think and it may fall under the umbrella of general internet use addiction. Wikipedia is so enticing because it has millions of articles and a veritable infinity of information to sift through. But, most of the information that keeps us searching through Wikipedia isn’t valuable or related to work at all.

Of course, another reason for internet addiction is social media. It can become an obsession to check your social media accounts like Facebook or Twitter to see if your status was liked or your tweet favorited.

If you want to boost your productivity, then it’s probably a good idea to shut down the computer, and take a walk without your smartphone in tow. Getting the juices flowing will get your head clearer and it will at least get you away from the computer for a moment. Even if the work you need to accomplish is on the computer, getting outside and moving your muscles is a great way to improve your productivity.

Richie Reitz is an American author and publisher of numerous self-help books related to addictions to technology. He is a sought after speaker on the topic of Internet addiction and gives frequent lectures on the topic for universities and companies throughout the United States and Canada.