Don’t Even Think About Fooling Around On The Internet

“Those who make the worst use of their time are the first to complain of its brevity.” – La Bruyere (Characters, 1688)

MN just told me that “38% of employee time on the Internet is personal.” That completely freaks me out. At one business I consult with, that would translate into about $700,000 a year in wasted compensation. That equates to about $4 million worth of productivity.

Where do people find the time to fool around at work? And what, exactly, are they doing?

I don’t know about you, but I don’t want to be distracted when I sit down to work. I force myself to get up and stretch or do a little exercise every so often, but I can’t imagine surfing the Web (for what?) in the middle of the workday. It would be like turning on the television.

When I am working, I want to work. I don’t like to get or make personal calls — and I feel the same way about personal e-mails. Actually, I don’t mind short personal e-mails as much because they can be read very quickly and ignored or responded to in a matter of seconds. A phone call almost always takes minutes.

I don’t do personal stuff at work, because I don’t feel I can afford to. There are so many things I’ve already decided to do in life, so many specific objectives I’ve set for myself. How can I neglect them by goofing off?

It’s just crazy. Thirty-eight percent of computer time spent on the Internet. I wonder what that amounts to? Fifteen minutes a day? A half-hour? More? In a month’s time, you could waste a full day’s work that way. Who can afford that?

If you are doing personal business at work, something is wrong. You don’t have the commitment you need. If you are doing personal stuff at work, you need to stop it right away and get serious. You won’t do great things and you certainly won’t do your best if you are spending a lot of time fooling around.

Your personal life is important. But take care of it at home. Examine your conscience now. If you are guilty, straighten up or accept the fact that your life is going to be a miserable, mediocre failure.

[Ed. Note.  Mark Morgan Ford was the creator of Early To Rise. In 2011, Mark retired from ETR and now writes the Palm Beach Letter. His advice, in our opinion, continues to get better and better with every essay, particularly in the controversial ones we have shared today. We encourage you to read everything you can that has been written by Mark.]