The dangers of cyberloafing
Time to own up. When you're sitting at your computer, do you work solidly all day? Or do you allow yourself to become distracted now and again… to open a few extra tabs, check social media, read a spot of news, browse the latest fashion trends, maybe catch up on some celebrity gossip, and look at some…
Stop! You're 'cyberloafing'. The unwieldy word is a combination of 'cyber', which means 'related to computers', and 'loafing', which means 'relaxing in a lazy way'. We do it, and we do it a lot. A study from the University of Texas suggests we are guilty of this form of procrastination for 14% of our working day. On a Friday afternoon, I expect it's more than that.
I'll admit to indulging in the odd bout of cyberloafing myself. In fact I've already done it in the course of writing this story. OK, more than once.
But it's a slippery slope. It can damage your productivity and even your career. Because according to the Univeristy of Texas research, each time a worker gets sidetracked by the internet it takes an average of 23 minutes to get back to work.
More than that, cyberloafing has a dark side, according to a report published in The Journal of Psychosocial Research on Cyberspace. It argues that cyberloafing is connected to several negative personality traits. People who cyberloaf are more likely to be manipulative, self-interested and narcissistic. Furthermore, people with these traits are less likely to feel remorse about avoiding work, and less concerned about getting caught.
Why do we do it? For some, it's undoubtedly an escape from the drudgery of what they're supposed to be doing. Or a way of avoiding tackling that ever growing in-tray. Some might get a feeling of satisfaction, get a buzz from finding a great deal online. But overall, it's something that takes you away from what you're actually being paid to do, or paying to do: if you're a student.
When you have the whole world of the internet at your fingertips, it's hard to resist.
How do we nip it in the bud? If you can truly ask yourself why you are cyberloafing, then that can help identify the base problem. And if that sounds like too much hard work, you could just switch off the internet for a couple of hours!
So in the meantime, let me just close those extra tabs…
now and again
get a buzz
at your fingertips
to nip (something) in the bud