Contributed by Dave Buesing, Catalogs.com Top 10 Guru
Opening up a new web browser can often have the same effect as unwittingly unleashing an extra-dimensional portal.
You’re sucked in with surprising velocity, and you lose all track of time and space before you even know it. Four hours later you finally finish looking into the personal life of your ex from high school and can’t believe you spent that much time without doing anything… productive.
This vast time loss doesn’t have to exist. There are positive ways to use the internet that will help you feel less stressed about all the demands and tasks in your life.
These are the top 10 productive things to do online:
10. Pay your bills
Just about every billing service is offering a paperless option these days, and while saving the trees is great, you still have to remember to pay these bills. Take the few minutes of free time you may have to pay off your credit card bill for the month or set up a direct deposit for your electricity bill online.
9. Manage your investments
In addition to paying off your immediate financial concerns, you can prepare for the future by investing some of your money now. Or, look into your banking accounts or 401k to make sure all your finances are in order.
8. Update professional resume
Even if you’re incredibly satisfied with your current job, it doesn’t hurt to make sure your resume is up to date. In particular, you can add relevant professional accomplishments to a LinkedIn profile to boost that online reputation.
7. Add to personal sites
If you write a blog or have your own personal website, you’ll already understand that time for posting new material can be hard to come by. Be productive online by finally posting that blog post you’ve had in mind for weeks, or by adding some new photos to the portfolio on your website.
Rather than reading up on the latest Kardashian gossip, you can be productive by reading quality articles related to your profession, listening to podcasts, or looking into new jobs. There are tons of possibilities here depending on your interests, but whatever you choose, the online sphere offers a huge variety of sources to help you gain knowledge.
5. Contact people/network
One of the immense advantages of the increasingly social web is that it’s easier than ever to stay in touch with distant friends or family. That said, it still requires an effort on your part to actually send an e-mail to Aunt Becky. Even more effort to smile politely as you crunch on her homemade meatloaf, but that’s another story.
Online shopping is almost too easy. Lower the stress level in your life by buying birthday or Christmas presents for loved ones now. Taking the time to buy them in advance will take a ton of pressure off for later. You can shop retail stores online, auction sites or artisan craft websites. A fun way to shop online is to browse a collection of page-flipping digital catalogs, like those offered at Catalogs.com’s Dynalogs.
3. Organize email/files on your computer
When you spend a lot of time on a computer, it’s inevitable that your e-mail and hard-drive are going to get crammed full of outdated material. Run through a bunch of the e-mails you’ve been meaning to respond to and knock them off your list once and for all.
2. Plan a trip
If you’ve got a vacation in mind at some point, you can use the variety of online travel resources to take care of the hard planning now. You’ll feel incredibly productive when you’ve already got plane tickets purchased and an itinerary figured out. You’ll also feel like an outcast when your friends figure out you casually use the term “itinerary,” but don’t let the naysayers bring you down.
1. Give your mind a massage
Sometimes the most productive thing you can do is to enjoy your life a little. If you’re busy at work all week on a computer, the last thing you want to do is anything that feels like work. Pick an activity that ties right into your personal interests and don’t even think about working until much, much later.